Dog News

A Current Affair: Dogs on Lockdown


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As much as we love company, should you come knocking at the garden gate, you may find yourself locked out. Don’t take it personally.

We love our life in the country. Add a house full of dogs and it’s paradise. With outdoor exploits of some sort available year-round, we’re rarely bored: nature beckons with frequency, and there are few things better than a day spent frolicking in the mountains that surround our home with our pack of fun loving dogs in tow.

Speaking of nature, those of you who have been with us some time are aware that we live on the Huntington River in northern Vermont. As far as rivers go, it’s very short and steep, quite shallow, and by now many of you are likely tired of seeing so darned many pictures of it. Because of it’s limited capacity, the influence of heavy rains or a quick spring melt can be extraordinary. And terrifying.

garden gate

This normally shallow, languid river is transformed, depth increasing by many feet in seemingly no time, a quiet babble rising to a roar as the waters churn. Our road winds along it, and where there are no guardrails it can feel a tad dicey when a curve brings you close to the water and you realize the current is outrunning your car.

So we keep the dogs on lockdown when the river rises. While they are always fenced in, all it would take is a visit from a careless stranger and we could easily lose one or more of them were the gate left ajar. When you consider that two of our three dogs are water-addicted Labs it makes sense that we play it safe.

Fortunately this week has not brought us too much in the way of rain, and we’ll likely be enjoying a dip as you read this. Last week was another story. While we didn’t see a six foot rise, substantial rains left the water elevated enough to be too fast for the dogs, and as you will see, too fast for humans.

Just south of us lies an infamous landmark: The Huntington Gorge. This beautiful, deadly series of water falls and pools has claimed more than twenty lives. The most common mistake made by swimmers? Jumping in when the river has risen. Currents are too strong for the average person to navigate, but many have taken the plunge without regard for what awaits. Debris trapped in the falls makes ensnarement a concern as well.

In other words, it’s best appreciated from a safe distance. Yours truly certainly won’t be doing any cliff jumps in this lifetime, but fearless youth frequent the falls each summer, and last week, mother nature provided two of them with an education.

Hearing sirens and seeing heavy rescue vehicles on our dirt road is a sure sign that another swimmer has pushed their luck, and reminds us to keep the dogs close until the river subsides.

If you’re ever in the area, we’d be happy to show you around: the photo-ops are limitless. That said, if it’s early spring, or if skies darkened by rain have had their way with us for more than a day, leave your dogs and your bathing suit at home, stay away from the gorge, and be prepared to knock at the gate.[divider]

This week, we’ve joined forces with pet bloggers in an initiative to celebrate the joys of sharing a life with multiple pets and promote responsible pet ownership. For more information, please visit Pets Add Life on Facebook. Pets Add Life (PAL) is a national, non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting the positive role pets play in the health and well being of people, families and communities.