Recently, Jigs (my German Jagd Terrier) discovered a fresh, hot passion.
In my new home, I have a small, antique woodstove that once was used on a train caboose. The stove body is tall and slender, standing several inches off the ground on four graceful legs.
Jigs took to the stove like Pooh to a honey hive. At first, he was reasonable and reclined on the rug just a few feet away. Over time though, Jigs inched closer and closer until finally he designated the hottest spot in the house – between the stove and the wall – as his and only his.
When the stove is roaring, Jigs refuses to budge from his oven-like corner. He remains sprawled out on the scorching ceramic tile, panting hard like he’d just sprinted several miles in the dead of summer. His watery, red eyes bug out of his head, his pulsing pink tongue hangs to the floor.
Jigs is purely miserable sitting that close to the fire, yet he snubs my pleas to come to the cool kitchen or go out into the snow and play.
Unfortunately, the woodstove isn’t my terrier’s first addiction.
Last year while I was visiting my family in Denver for the Holidays, my sister-in-law made the horrible mistake of pulling the vacuum cleaner from the closet and turning it on.
I was down in the basement when I heard the roar of the sweeper engine fire up overhead. “No! Wait!” I yelled in vain over the commotion. I charged up the steps, hoping to get to her Electrolux before Jigs did.
I am not sure if Jigs loves or hates vacuum cleaners; with a terrier, the line between these emotions can be paper thin.
Jigs landed on her upright and sunk his teeth into the bag like it was a wild boar. Thankfully, I was able to grab and pry him off the machine just in the nick of time. He continued to snarl and growl at the monster (now silenced by the “off” switch) as I carried him, wildly squirming in my arms, out the door.
I have owned two Hoovers that were not so lucky.
Jigs loves or hates blenders, food processors, electric can openers, computer printers, all power tools, chain saws, lawnmowers, weed whackers.
I quickly learned to never blend cookie dough with my electric mixer when Jigs is in the house. The one time I attempted to do so, he hurdled his 23-lb. body up on to the counter and snagged the appliance by the cord. He barely avoided losing his nose between the two spinning beaters.
Jigs does not limit himself to loving/hating only gizmos which produce loud noises; flashlights, brooms, dust pans, shovels, and rakes are all equally exciting pursuits.
On another occasion when Jigs spotted my neighbor shoveling snow, my feisty terrier-terrorist immediately charged, landed on the blade, and snagged the handle from the poor, unsuspecting man’s grip. With his teeth clenched to the steel scoop, Jigs lugged that beastly shovel off into the middle of the yard, obviously planning to finish the revolting implement off once and for all.
I seized my dog and my neighbor snatched his shovel; we played tug of war until the two finally pulled apart.
“That little guy is hilarious,” my neighbor said.
“Try living with him,” I answered.
Like all of Jig’s other mental issues regarding household appliances and tools, I knew it was time to intervene with the woodstove when things became dangerous. Jigs is so passionate about his woodstove that he growls at my two other dogs, Chloe and Borage, every time they stroll anywhere near his fiery nook.
“The little devil must feel at home resting among the flames,” a friend joked.
My poor little guy has been on a “Down-Stay” away from his beloved stove for weeks now. Every single time I say “Free Dog” and give him the run of the house again, I eventually end up dragging him back out of his corner and putting him into “Time Out.”
“You could just forget the woodstove and use your propane furnace,” a friend suggested.
“I refuse to let my dog dictate how I heat my home,” I answered.
But, honestly, that’s not a bad idea…