Sweet Peaches

After Bertha passed away in April of 2008, my house was terribly lonely (as was I) so when I was offered another dog by Bertha's breeder, I couldn't pass up the chance.
had spent the first six months of her life in a kennel and proved to be one of the more challenging dogs I had raised. Still, despite the challenges, I think Peaches was more attached to me than any other dog I had owned (or been owned by!)

The Hawthorn Incident

The Hawthorn Incident occurred shortly after Peaches came to live with me in thee spring of 2008. I have a 4 foot stock-wire fence that I built  when I got Bertha. It was built with 2 electric strands, one just above the stock-wire and another 8” above that but I never energized the electric strands with Bertha because Bertha knew what they were and wouldn’t go near them!

One day my neighbours emailed me at work saying Peaches got loose and came to their place across the road, a place she had been to with me many times but never ALONE! They had put her in my back porch and closed the doggy door so she couldn’t go outside into the run. Fearing she had breeched the fence somewhere and I had repair work to do, I went right home where I found Peaches loose in the yard again! She had jimmied the doggy door open enough to get out, got into the fenced yard again, and escaped again! I was puzzled since I had found no damage at all to the fence and couldn’t figure out how she got out.

The next day, with the mystery still unsolved, Peaches went out to relieve herself as I watched from the window hoping to see her method of escape but she didn’t escape. However, when she tried to take a dump, she cried out in pain so I rushed out to see what was wrong. I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary so I rushed her off to the emergency animal hospital - after hours of course! The vet took X-rays under sedation and examined her rectum with his finger while the X-rays were developing and he pulled out some small red balls about 1/4” in diameter with a pointy end that neither of us could identify. The X-ray showed a large number of the strange items in her digestive tract so he gave her an enema to clean her out, a kindness she repaid by spraying her faeces all over the waiting room on the way out!

When we got home and Peaches was safely in her run, I went searching the area for the small round balls with pointy ends and discovered they were hawthorn berries from a bush in my yard! They were very hard and woody, totally tasteless, and why she ate them I will never know but she had eaten quite a few, probably two cups full! I found no problems with the fence and could only conclude she had climbed it so I energized the electric strands (with the smallest fencer I could buy). Within an hour of coming back into the house, I heard the most god-awful yelping from the yard and Peaches ran into the house and hid under my desk - she had discovered the electric wire! Peaches, being the stubborn character that she was, “tested” the fence twice more over the following weeks before she accepted the fact that it is ALWAYS energized! In her last 3 years she never touched it again.

House Training

Peaches came to me with no concept of what was proper, not a hint of house-training and she was a challenge! All of the “old standards” failed - she simply did NOT grasp the concept. She would come into the living room, right in front of me, and squat to pee! NOTHING seemed to get through to her and I was about at my wit’s end.

One night in the late fall while we were both snug in bed, Peaches got up and headed down the stairs. “Awe ####” I thought “She has to go to the bathroom and I had better go with her or she might go in the house.” so I trotted of down the stairs and ushered her out through the doggy door while I watched through the back door waiting to praise her if she did her business, but she didn’t - she was just having a good sniff around the run and seemed to forget WHY she had gone there. Now I sleep “the way God made me” and the cold night air on bare skin leads to certain irrepressible urges, not unlike what had brought Peaches down stairs in the night, but while I am trying to suppress the need my dog is having a fine ol’ time poking around the yard.

Since I live in the country with no close neighbours and even less traffic on the road, I slipped out the back door (in the altogether) to hurry Peaches along. “Oh boy! Mom has come out to play!” she must have thought because “doing her business” was even farther from her mind. Now fully exposed to the cold air my own “need” is becoming urgent so finally I just squatted where I stood in the grass and did what needed to be done. When I stood up and moved away, Peaches came over and sniffed the puddle I had left. Then she took a stept to the side and left her own puddle (for which she got praised) That was it! Peaches was house-trained! She UNDERSTOOD and never had an accident or messed in the house again.

Had I only known it was so easy!!!! LOL!

Brilliant and DUMB!

In my back porch there is a row of pegs on which hangs an assortment of hats, from cheap straw hats to nearly-new premium cowboy hate, hats ranging from $10 to $150. Of course the back porch is also “dog country” so the row of pegs is nearly 8 feet above the floor, FAR beyond the reach of a Bloodhound (or so I thought!)

One day I came home from work and saw flecks of something black in the dog run, or so I thought, but I couldn’t think of anything black that Peaches had access to ..... until I came into the back porch! A chair that had stood against the far wall of the porch had been pushed across the porch to the opposite wall with the hats and my newest and best cowboy hat was GONE! She had stood up fully extended on the seat of the chair, in front of a window (!) to reach the hats. I spent the next half hour picking up bits of black felt from the yard - I would NOT give her the satisfaction of chewing on them!

Now this was a dog who can be so DENSE sometimes as to walk into a wall because she isn’t watching where she is going but pushing a chair across the room to stand on it to reach a forbidden object is absolutely brilliant! I though “the use of tools” was supposed to be remarkably rare in the animal kingdom but Peaches figured it out!

The Climber

After The Hawthorn Incident and the stolen cowboy hat, I knew Peaches was a climber but I never realized how much until I was working on the outside wall of my house on an extension ladder. The ladder is an aluminium ladder with round rungs and I was working at the eves of the house, some 14 feet above the ground when I became aware that the ladder was jiggling. I looked down to find Peaches half way up the ladder! I hollered at her “You stupid dog! If you can’t get down, we are BOTH stuck!” Peaches sheepishly climbed back down. Thank god I hadn’t left the ladder fully extended or I would have found my ##### hound on the ROOF!

Peaches passed away 21 January 2012 at the age of barely 4 years. Despite the best medical efforts she succumbed to Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, a condition where the body's immune system turns agains its own blood cells.
Peaches was the most loving and gentle dog I have ever known and will be missed as long as I live.

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