Phoenix has been elevated to “big dog” status and moved outdoors to the kennel with Jamie today. This was no small undertaking. I’d wanted to put him with Jamie in the outdoor run while I was at work for a long time, but the kennel needed mal-proofing first. It’s a 6 x 12 outdoor chain-link run w/cement floor and steel roof and it opens into another 6 x 12 run inside the machine shed, again with cement floor and a big wooden dog box. The inside section did not have a top on it and quite frankly, I do not trust Phoenix. He can jump a 4-foot fence from a standstill and if he put his mind to it, I had no doubt he could scale 6 feet if he saw something he wanted on the other side.
Our farm cats occasionally wander around in that particular building and it is frequently home to a raccoon as well. Both fall under the category of “Things Phoenix Wants.” I don’t know WHY the raccoon lives there but he does and I see him frequently when I leave for work early in the morning. He’ll be running around in the rafters and scares the bejabbers out of me. Phoenix has seen him, too, and is quite enchanted with him in that malinois obsessive-compulsive sort of way.
I’d been bugging the Farmer for quite some time to A) put a roof on the inside part of the kennel and B) get rid of the raccoon. To his credit, he has been trapping raccoons (they are like mice in this part of the country) but the one in the machine shed is apparently smarter than it looks. Or maybe it’s a different one every time I see it. Who knows. I suggested firearms might be more effective but the Farmer is reluctant to go blasting away inside a building. So the ‘coon is probably staying.
When Connor died, the Farmer was very concerned that now Phoenix would be alone all day in the house while I was at work. Crated, obviously, but alone. Connor probably wasn’t that great of company but the two of them were crated side-by-side in the bedroom so at least there was a little companionship. Conn had to be crated during the day because he didn’t see anything wrong with pooping wherever he pleased and Phoenix had to be crated because, well, I wanted the house to still be standing when I got home from work.
But now Connor was gone and with Jamie outside in the kennel during the day, Phoenix was alone and the Farmer did not think that was right. Bless him. So he engineered a way to raise the walls on the inside part and there you go, Phoenix has graduated to going outside with Jamie while I am at work. I imagine ‘Nix will be exhausted tonight after putting in a full day of running, bouncing, barking and chasing phantom raccoons. Jamie will probably be exhausted from putting up with him.
I think the Farmer understands that the dogs’ well being, both mental and physical, is directly linked to MY well-being. If the dogs aren’t happy and well, neither am I. So he knows it’s in his best interests to take care of ALL of us.