|Pompey, on the kitchen step at Darlington House, tethered to Reggie
Not long ago I woke up early one balmy, sunny morning and came downstairs with Pompey. After attending to his needs, I opened the kitchen door to let in the morning's air and let him stroll outside where he plopped down to take a sun bath, something he enjoys doing. I then sat at the kitchen table, opened my laptop, and started working on RD. Before I knew it, fifteen or so minutes had gone by without my looking up to monitor what my darling little pug was up to. At that point Boy appeared and asked me where Pompey was. I gestured outside, with a wave of my hand, absorbed in working on my post.
"What, are you mad?" Boy asked. "He's probably gone off somewhere!"
|Sitting for a moment, while tethered to a hitching post
And, much to my consternation, indeed he had. Despite our calling out his name and shouting bribes of treats and biscuits should he return (which usually produce satisfactory results), my dear little pug was nowhere to be found. As we fruitlessly searched Darlington and the neighboring properties for him, my anxiety gave way to terror as the minutes passed, and I vowed (not for the first time, I might add) that I would never, ever let him out of the house again unsupervised, if only, dear God, I would find him soon, safe and sound.
|Boredom sets in
Fifteen bootless minutes later, as I careened into the depths of despair at the prospect of never seeing my little fellow again, at least alive and in one piece, I was relieved and then overjoyed to learn that Boy had found him, blithely wandering through the back yard of one of our neighbors, oblivious to the hysteria his absence had produced.
|Pompey, knotted with twine to a horse weight
After living through that harrowing experience, which I have no interest in repeating, I decided that I would only allow Pompey outside with me again when he was on a leash, or at least closely supervised, where I would be assured of keeping him in my sights at all times.
|What's over there?
Over Columbus Day weekend we decided that we would explore various options available to us to benignly restrain Pompey's wandering impulse when we let him outside the house, unsupervised. We long ago gave up putting him in a pen in our yard, since it resulted in an indignant, barking mess of a pug that bore little resemblance to our usually sunny-dispositioned little darling.
|Off I go!
We decided the best thing to do would be to tether him to something that allowed him sufficient mobility that he could comfortably walk around, from sun into shade, and on and off our lawns.
|Going . . .
Our first option was an acorn-topped hitching post that we bought several years ago at an antiques fair and that we had not yet anchored outside for when friends drop by on horseback, which happens from time to time.
|. . . going . . .
As can be seen in earlier photographs in this post, that wasn't exactly a success, in part because we attached Pompey's lead to the tether, which didn't give him much room to maneuver, and we feared he could topple the post should he pull against it, even though he only weighs fifteen pounds. For Pompey, like many pugs, is powerfully built, living up to the breed's molto in parvo (a lot in a little) motto.
|. . . gone!
Our next option was a cast iron horse weight (at least that's what the tag said), that we bought at a large antiques group shop in a neighboring town several months ago, mostly because we liked its honest good looks. We set it up on our terrace and tied some twine to it of sufficient length that Pompey had free reign to wander about, at least mostly.
But that wasn't a success, either, since in short order Pompey was straining at the end of the twine, indignantly barking.
|Not a happy pug
I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a happy pug on my hands than an indignant one, so I threw in the towel, so to speak, as it was clear to me that our tethering experiment was not a success.
|Evidence of not-happy pug, straining at the outer limits . . .
And so I picked up Pompey and carried him onto our screened porch (first stopping inside the house for a "good boy" treat), where I lay down on the porch's wicker sofa with him on my stomach, confident that he couldn't wander too far off, considering he was lying on top of me and the porch's boundaries are secure.
|A once-again happy Pug, lying on Reggie's stomach
I can attest to the fact that my little Pompey is much better company when he's contentedly snuggled up with me, purring like a cat, than when he's angrily straining at the end of a tether, barking furiously at the indignity of his captivity.
He really does rule the roost here at Darlington House.
All photos by Boy Fenwick