Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pompey: Fit To Be Tied

Pompey requires monitoring when he goes outside.  That's because he is a wanderer.  Not always, but most of the time, when given the chance.  He is a curious and sociable little fellow, and he enjoys snooping around, seeing what's what.  And sometimes that means that, if one is not careful, one can find that Pompey has wandered off, nowhere to be found.  That's okay when we're in the house, since he can't get outside, but it can be nerve-racking when we are outside the house, since we live on a busy road.

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


  1. You've gotta love Him, especially tied to the hitching post- the indignities they suffer for our folly. pgt

  2. I always adore a Pompey post! I am truly sorry the tethering did not work out, because I have the same issues with a 70 pound Golden Retriever. And, just this past weekend found a fantastic hitching post with a horse head. But using it to tether my dog had not occured to me. Guess there is no real need to buy it now. I thought RD had given me the perfect excuse! Although after seeing your acorn topped post, I think I need to keep searching, unless of course RD wants to sell?

  3. Have you thought about trying one of those invisible electronic fences? (My neighbors in the country swear by them.)

  4. He is certainly adorable. My parents, who live in the country, have a similar weight with twine that they tether their dog to (a yorkie). They found if left to his own devices he would tear after every rabbit or squirrel into the woods and it would take hours till they could find him!

  5. Well,
    I can attest to that, having a Border terrier among us. Little hunters and such perseverance they have!
    Love the teathering ideas, espescially the horse weight one.

    Pugs are so adorable and you cannot resist their faces. My friend has a couple, they are wonderful in pairs as well.

    I can so relate to the running, hunting and taking forever to find them!


  6. Oh, that second photo of Pompey tied to the hitching post made me giggle like a fool.

  7. I too have a dog that rules the house and firmly believes he should do as he pleases when he pleases. Sabastian is an 12 year old Basset Hound who has lived a life of privilege. We too tried the pen and Sabastian was not himself for a full two days. We finally gave up and threw in the tether. Now said hound happily reclines in the sun while I sit and watch him. Ahh to be a dog! Jane

  8. Dear Reggie,

    I don’t know much about electric fences, but I too have seen them work for a lot of dog owners. Eventually the dogs just stay in the area. I don’t think it takes too many shocks for this to happen.

    I am not an animal lover like you, Reggie, but I do want to treat my daughter’s cat with love and respect. We didn’t let the cat outside at all the first two years we had her, but we could tell that is where she wants to be. My daughter was away this summer, and I just had to let the cat out to explore. She loves the freedom. She attends all night cat conferences and I imagine her to be the boss at these functions. They must be quite fun because she returns the next morning exhausted and happy to return to our little house with its many cozy cat spots including my closet with wool sweaters and my daughter’s doll baby cradle which is kept in the basement.

    Removing cats’ front claws is painful to them, so I won’t do this though she has been destructive. I also feel like keeping her penned up in the house isn’t fair to her either, so I let her roam though one day maybe she won’t come back.

    Next year my daughter will move on and I will be stuck with the cat. She loves me and I tolerate her. But again, in all fairness to the cat, I can’t just require her to find a new family.

    If you are wondering "what's your point?" I don't have one!

  9. I am wildly in love with Pompey! He is the cutest, most endearing pup I've ever seen. Well, with the exception of my late companions.

    Reggie, Pompey's face says it all, and this was the cutest story. Thank you. It just made my day. I will be smiling from here on out.

  10. Ah, this made me smile.
    But remember...
    "not all those who wander are lost"!

  11. When my previous Boston Terrier was around the same age as Pompey, she would often need a quick trip outside in the early morning hours. One Sunday at about 3 AM in late August, I let her out the back door into my fenced, tiny, urban back yard to attend to her needs. I stayed in the kitchen. About 10 minutes later, I realized she seemed to be taking an unusually long time. I walked out the door to find the landscaping service had left the gate open and my little friend was nowhere to be found. A two hour search of every property in a gradually expanding grid was undertaken - calling her name and searching by flashlight. (Fortunately, most of the neighbors were at the Cape.) Shortly before dawn, I found her sitting on the sidewalk, on a corner about half a block from the house, aparently trying to decide which way to trun and whether she should cross the street by herself. As the sun rose, we both settled in for a long nap in a favorite wicker chair. This was ever after referred to as her "excellent adventure".

  12. The story is priceless and so is the second to last photo as I can see the weight slightly lifted from the ground as Pompey pulls with all his might. I'm sure the whole adventure, subsequent tethering and then the ultimate freeing from his confinement reminded him how much he is loved and wanted

  13. As Julieta has told you, I am sure, Westies are of the same mind! We could never leave ours outside alone: much too lonely for her and she would bark incessantly. Electric fence? I don't think so...she would run right through it! No, they just want to be those they love.

  14. He does look rather put out with y'all! I can personally attest to the security of the Invisible Fence. Our collie learned to avoid the high-pitched beep, and, as a result, never suffered a shock.

  15. I too love a Pompey post! He is truly adorable. We have a fabulous 15 lb. Havanese who keeps us laughing everyday. The only problem we have with our electric fence is that Parker is such a velcro pup that he will not stay outside without us! He will come to the screen door barking in to the house, demanding we come out and have a romp with him. There is nothing comparable to the love you receive from them.

    My husband loves to tell the joke:

    "Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of the car. Come back an hour later and see who's happy to see you!"

  16. An electric fence is an investment, no doubt about it, but my much beloved yellow lab (now in the Happy Hunting Grounds, alas) took to hers very well. One puggy advantage is that they are (unlike labrador retrievers) easy to pick up and carry ACROSS the invisible fence, sans collar, when you want to take them beyond the edge of their world. (Otherwise, they get confused. More than once, I held the collar in my hand while enticing my reluctant dog to cross the line, reassuring her that all was well, no one would get shocked, etc. Duh.)

    Anyway the collars are unsightly, but you can clip them on only when you let the beast roam free...

  17. I have had the good fortune meet Pompey, and I can say to those of you who haven't been so lucky, that Reggie does a lovely job of bringing the fellow's charms to life.

  18. try the invisible fence. my sister is a vet and she highly recommends them.
    I wish they would make them for boyfriends as well..... :)


  20. Reggie! You know I adore you and rarely criticize but I am distraught that you have ever even thought of allowing Pompey outside unfenced and unsupervized. Dogs will be dogs, no matter how comfort loving.


  21. Merely a suggested post title:
    Reggie and Boy: Fit to be Untied written by

  22. Good Morning! I love this wonderful story -- and such delightful photos! The first photo is my favorite -- such a handsome fellow with a cheeky, sweet smile! He certainly knows that he is adored and that life at Darlington House circles around him!

    Many thanks for such a lovely way to add enjoyment to the mid-morning tea and pumpkin bread break!

  23. As Pompey knows, Pugs are the ultimate Companion Animal; thus it behooves a pug's companions to give up the idea that a pug will ever be satisfied being alone. Bow to the inevitable, and pay attention to his demands!


  24. Pugs are the best. We have two --Lulu & Ellie.....two jealous girls who fight each other for our attention. If Ellie is in my lap, the very jealous Lulu will circle around the coffee table giving her the doggy evil eye until Ellie gets so intimidated she hops off of me. It gets so dang silly. In the infamous words of Rodney King..."Can't we all just get along?"....


  25. Just yesterday, I was out gathering some golden leaves to add to a box that I was shipping down south. I felt something cunning and foxy and there low and behold was a "fox" - I think I scared that red fox with a scream and my dog was fast asleep on his bed...but I shall think twice about tethering my dog knowing that there Mr.Foxy loxy is on the prowl. I can just hear the Fox by you saying "Would you like some "Grey poupon to go with that Pompey?"

    Pompay deserves some sort of fenced in paddock or balcony to whilst away the hours til the comfort of a warm lap is demanded with that face.

  26. Oh gave it your best shot didn't you?! I love the second "going" image with Pompey's little curly puggy tail...and of course the last one, where he's perfectly content and happy (and unbelievabely cute). The horse weight was an impressive choice for a try...somebody thought otherwise obviously.'s to many happy hours of snuggly tummy time!
    xo J~

  27. as a Mom I did not have a bean up my child's nose story to share with fellow young mothers. I could have told them I swallowed a balloon as a child. The top part cut off from the bottom part .One blows to pass air into the "mounth Piece" to make amusing noises for a child's taste. As I inhaled for a deep breath to play an extended movement my concert abruptly ended. However, dog wandering off stories due to a distracted owner ...perhaps if pictures of lost pets were placed on milk cartons to cause alarm and consternation; pet owners would exercise due diligence when their precious friends are outside.


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