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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Doggie Doors

Marianne Arkins, my fellow dog lover and frugal friend is going to start running "Tightwad Tips" on her blog. Go over there and read today's post.

I will probably start my Cheap Tips as a regular series in January. It should be fun. Maybe we can start a trend!

Marianne also mentioned her dog, Dakota, and how they have to put him out to go potty. I thought I would make our doggie door experience the topic of today's post.

Many years ago, we had a terrible house fire. Two of our five dogs died in that fire. We were devastated, but it galvanized us so that we never faced such a tragedy again.

Our house was well sealed. Being winter, we kept most of the dogs (and kitty) in, but left two of the Samoyeds outside. Sammies are nothing but big white fur coats. The cold is their element. But we left the short coated dogs inside that night.

We only went out for a quick bite, but when we came back we were surprised to find the outside light off and when we looked inside the only window with the blinds open, it was strangely dark--too dark.

It was hard to find our keys in the dark and a horrible feeling came over me. I yelled at Greg to hurry. We bolted inside and I was just about to enter the kitchen where we kept the dogs that night. Greg grabbed me and threw me away from the door. "Wait!" he yelled. He felt the door and pushed me back. "It's hot."

At this point I was panicking. "What difference does that make? We have to get them out!" He pushed me away again and warned me that if smoke billows out to stay low. He opened the door making sure we were both out of direct exposure. As soon as we opened the door the fresh air reignited the fire.

We fell to the floor and started feeling for the dogs and cat. One by one we dragged them out. Kitty revived almost as soon as we got him out, but the three dogs were unconscious. We gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to them, while the neighbors called the fire department. Those wonderful men were there almost immediately. The paramedics took me and the one dog that was still breathing to the vet. The other two never regained consciousness.

It's been more than 20 years and this story still bothers me.

Anyway, the point of the story is that it forced us to make some changes in how we design a house. Greg gutted that kitchen and put fire resistant sheetrock. All the wiring was put inside conduit. And we also put in a doggie door.

Today, our present house is even more insulated and tighter than any other home we've had. It had a very expensive doggie door, but it was too small for the Tankster. So we had to put in a mongo-size one for the mongo-size dog.

One of Greg's friends saw pictures of the door and asked him: "Aren't you afraid of someone crawling into the house through that?" To which he replied: "Uhh…you've met Tank haven't you?" Big doggie doors mean BIG dogs. I don't know too many people that would be willing to take a chance with a Rottweiler. And God forbid should you ever meet his mama. I'm meaner than the dog.
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Our current doggie door is the best quality we could find. It's a double flap door, which gives it double insulation. The dog goes through a little tunnel to get out and never lets cold air in. We had to order it online since no one local carried it, but it's the best door I've ever seen. It's called Security Boss.





From the outside






From the inside. The doggie door is located in my studio. You can see Tank halfway through the door. A small dog would probably fit in the tunnel. Tank...just his head. LOL!


I don't know if you can see this. When Greg built the base on where the doggie door was going to sit, he signed Tank's name and paw print. Should anyone years down the road decide to remove the door, they'll know who used it. :o)

10 comments:

Dru said...

I came over from Marianne's blog and I loved your post from yesterday and I like the idea of Cheap Tips.

Have a good Sunday.

Maria Zannini said...

Thank you, Dru. And welcome!

Occasionally, I get lucky. lol.

dawtheminstrel said...

The story of the fire is heartbreaking. But your current doggie door is great. I've never seen one like that.

We inherited our last dog from a friend who died and we weren't sure of what she knew how to do. On one of the first days we had her, she nosed the yard gate open and crossed the street to greet the neighbors in their own backyard. They laughed and went inside to start calling around to see who was missing a dog, leaving her in the yard.

They thought.

But she found their dog door and let herself in to be friends. :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, my gosh! How cheeky. LOL!

I used to have a rottie who was very friendly with the neighbors. Whenever she was out with us, she'd wander over to their house and knock on the door.

They always let her in and she'd jump on the couch and sit with the old people.

When my neighbor came down with Alzheimer's, about the only thing she remembered was Isis and how she used to visit them.

Marianne Arkins said...

I'm so sorry about your babies -- I can imagine how that haunts you.

I worry about my critters in a fire all the time ... my neighbors have all been told to feel free to let themselves in by any means if it seems there is a fire (once, a neighbor was driving by and saw huge flames -- he came to the storm door, knocked and no one answered ((DH was in the basement, I wasn't home)). My DH had a bad habit of lighting candles and then tossing the used match into the jar... well, they caught fire. The neighbor took the candles and chucked them into the snow outside, bless his heart, and all we ended up with were scorch marks up the wall ... anyway...)

Here's the problem with a doggy door: we don't have a fenced in yard. We live on five acres and abutt conservation land. Dakota has zero respect for an eCollar (I had it set all the way up once, and she flinched and yelped and still ignored me and it) so an invisible fence is out of the question. When we take her out, it's on leash. Always.

My last dog was always out off leash, but she was also, yanno, obedient. I have hopes that Dakota will learn someday. But, sadly that day is not TODAY.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: When we take her out, it's on leash. Always.

Poor Marianne. What did you do in your last life to warrant Dakota? That dog sounds like she's going to test you the rest of your days.

I do know what you mean. Our last set of dogs have been pretty good. They rarely strayed further than we could see them. But the first set---those Sammies! They tested their limits every chance they got.

So I understand completely. After Bailey, I imagine Dakota is a handful.

Good for you that you watch her. I see people all the time let their dogs wander. That's not a responsible owner.

Fortunately, this house came with a very large dog run. We don't yet have fencing on our acreage either. With any luck that will be a project for the spring.

And Lord, woman. Thank God you had a watchful neighbor. What a close call!

PS I'm so glad you've decided to do money saving tips on your blog. I'll be following faithfully.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm so sorry about your pets. I imagine that must have been heartbreaking. LOL that is one stylish dog door. :-)

I'm with the others about the tips. It's a great idea. I'll be back ;)

Maria Zannini said...

The doggie door was pretty pricey, but I can see why. It's really well constructed--important when you have mongo dogs. *g*

mel said...

I'm so sorry to hear about losing your pets in that fire. That is truly heartbreaking! You and your husband are heroes for saving the two that you did. (((HUGS)))

I just had to comment as I have this exact dog door in our house for our 95 pound German Shepherd dog and I LOVE it! It is the best door. I too found it online at Moore Pet Supplies.

Maria Zannini said...

Welcome Mel! I do love that door. It's the best one we've ever had.

PS Love your dog blog. I'm putting it on my reader.