By Jill J Easton
Having an unneutered dog can be a problem. It complicates hunting, makes your vet and friends talk seriously about your ‘responsibility,’ and sometimes leads to ugly puppies that need homes. Everybody should have their dog fixed, especially people with female dogs within two miles of our house.
In my experience of living with an uncut male dog for more than 13 years, if a problem develops it’s really the girl’s fault. Not saying that the little and big hussies living down the road were totally to blame, but neither were they innocent bystanders who were Harvey Weinsteined.
For years, Hotshot went crazy and staged disappearing acts for days at a time when that irresistible aroma came wafting up our valley. But usually, the girls came to him.
It all started with a little gray dog we called Bonniethedog, because she was owned by a nice lady named Bonnie who couldn’t seem to keep her contained. Every time Bonniethedog came into heat, Hotshot found slick ways to elude us and sneak the two miles down the road to spend time with her.
When we were on walks, he would make a big loop into the woods pretending to be hunting for squirrels. Then he’d run off, and he and Bonniethedog would hide out in a barn or other hard to find place for a few days. Hotshot would wander home exhausted, usually in the rain for some odd reason. He’d eat prodigiously, sleep for a few hours and watch for a chance to break out again.
Evidently, those stolen moments weren’t enough for Bonniethedog. She started showing up at the house, no doubt dressed in canine lingerie, looking for some more friendly moments. She arrived once right before a dinner party, and the two dogs had a conjugal visit on the front porch for what seemed like hours.
Our visitors had to be routed through the mudroom while the dogs did their thing. They also once did the deed in our neighbor’s living room after he invited the nice little gray dog in while Hotshot was visiting. There were numerous other inappropriate occasions. This went on until Bonniethedog got run over partway through her pregnancy.
Then there was Dixie. She was 70 pounds plus of what is generically called “bulldog” in these parts. She was a sweet boxer-type who lived in Henry’s yard. Henry thought that a 16-pound-terrier and Dixie might make interesting puppies, and he tried to help with the unlikely romance. He attempted to encourage Hotshot onto a big chunk of firewood so he could reach Dixie, who was certainly agreeable. Shot was not keen on the unstable footing, though, and refused Henry’s help. Our little dog spent several days of stolen hours down the road in total frustration before giving up on Dixie as a love better left to others.
And then there was Lucy. She was a slow-moving flat-faced pug rescued from a puppy farm – probably one of the worst choices as a potential mate for a handsome terrier-like Hotshot. But sister-in-law Anita was dogsitting for us, and she learned too late that closed doors and a dog crate proved to be no problem for dogs in the mood.
It happened while Anita was at work; she came home to find the deed being done. The terrier-pug cross produced two long-legged, semi-flat faced dogs that grew up to be fast, yappy pups that are good only for lap-sitting. They turned out to be Hotshot’s only known progeny. A sad legacy indeed for a squirrel hunting, bear chasing, coon killing superdog.
One of Hotshot’s last chances of passing along his DNA was via the nymphomaniac beagle who lived down the road. Every time she came into heat, NB went on the prowl, looking for any still-endowed dogs in the neighborhood. There were only two: Sparky, a mixed breed who lived a mile down the road, and of course, Hotshot. NB would stop off at Sparky’s house, and after having her way with him, would continue down the road to repeat the process with Hotshot.
“Arrrhowhooooooo,” she would sing on the deck at 2 a.m. The Arrrhowhoooooo-ing went on for hours. Jim or I would run her off, but within minutes of the porch light flicking off, she would be back singing her beagle song of frustration. We didn’t let Hotshot out late because of the bears and coyotes that share our woods.
Finally, she got over her obsession and things returned to what passes for normal in the big woods. But about three months later, NB showed up at our house followed by a cute puppy that looked exactly like Sparky. NB left the puppy on our front porch and headed resolutely back to her house, dusting off her paws, no doubt thinking to herself, Now, where can I dump the other six? I beat her back to the puppies’ dog house and returned the unwanted youngster to its brothers and sisters. I knocked on the door and told NB’s family about their beagle’s giveaway.
“Every spring we go through this,” explained her owner. “She travels the area looking for fun, but when the puppies get about five weeks old, she starts dumping them with her baby-daddies. She doesn’t want to have anything else to do with those puppies. Since the puppies are good rabbit dogs it is usually a win-win situation for the people who get her presents.”
There were a few other ne’er-do-well females that crossed Hotshot’s path, but none that produced puppies. Unfortunately, we never found a good match that would produce the squirrel dogs we were hoping for. Finally Hotshot outlived all the female yard dogs in the neighborhood and the problem solved itself. Now he’s gone and I would have given almost anything to have needy female dogs howling on the porch and Hotshot snoring away in his bed.