New trick? This old dog wouldn’t hear of it

By Ted Blankenship | December 1, 2022

It wouldn’t have happened if not for our cats, Cat One and Cat Two. 

In a round-about way, they were responsible for our acquisition of a Brittany Spaniel that we hadn’t planned on acquiring. 

We had taken the cats to the veterinarian, and as we were leaving, the vet mentioned that he had something we might be interested in.

I couldn’t imagine anything we would be interested in except maybe his adoption of one or both of the cats. 

Before we could get out the door, he brought in a mournful-looking hound with a gray beard. 

“He’s an orphan,” said the vet, and he needs a good home.”

“How old is he?” I asked. 

The vet thought about it for quite a while then said, “Probably about seven.” 

“We can’t adopt that dog,” said my wife. 

“That’s age discrimination,” I said. 

The dog rubbed his head against my leg and let out a mournful howl as only an old dog can. 

I was smitten. 

We took him home, and now we had Cat One, Cat Two and Zip.

Zip was a nice dog except for his fear of thunder and a tendency to get foxtail grass burrs between his toes. 

I soon discovered, too, that Brittany Spaniels like to run and they do it in wide circles, often getting so far away that you can’t find them. When Zip encountered quail or other interesting birds, he would stand perfectly still and point. 

I thought he should be taught to come to me when I called him, so I found a long piece of rope and took him to the pasture and let him do his wide circle. I called his name and jerked on the rope. He simply expanded his circle and ran a little faster. 

Next, I bought a dog whistle, fastened the long rope to his collar and let him go. When he got quite a distance from me, I blew the whistle and jerked on the rope. Zip paid no attention to me. 

I blew a little harder, and still there was no response. 

The vet apparently had forgotten to mention that Zip was deaf. 

But when it came to storms, Zip had a kind of doggie ESP. He could feel it in his canine bones, and when he sensed a big one coming, he’d hightail it for Rose Hill, about a quarter of a mile south. 

When it was over, he’d find a street corner, sit down and wait for the Rose Hill police. 

When they saw him, they’d load him into the back of the squad car and bring him back to us. And we were always glad to see him. 

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