the counting game

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lest you think everything at the earthdog compound is like moonlight and roses i thought i would fill you in on a grievance i have living with these 16 yahoos, although this one is really out of their control (but they’ve got plenty which would be under their control if they had any). when we first looked at this house, which could also be appropriately referred to as our current house but when i wrote that it sounded like there would be more to come and i assure you there will be no further houses in our future…ahem, four years ago one of the main drawbacks was it was fully fenced and on a busy road. “how can fully fenced possibly be a drawback” i’m sure you’re saying to yourself but in this case fully fenced means fully fenced – we have a gate across our driveway. a gate across our driveway that leads into a busy road…a gate across our driveway that leads into a busy road that, were it left open, would lead our dogs into a busy road. get my drift?

when we decided to buy the house and the gated driveway we knew we were going to have to be overly cautious about the dogs (all the dogs) being inside when the gate was being opened. if one of us is leaving the house, if both of us are leaving the house, if one of us is coming home, if both of us are coming home, if guests are coming over, if guests are leaving and/or if delivery people need to get in or out all dogs must be accounted for or the gate cannot be opened.

in a normal household making sure all dogs are accounted for would mean counting a couple of dogs and moving on with your life. not so here. here the magic number is 16 and they’ve all got to be counted and, people, these are moving targets and some number of them are generally following us, who are also moving. watching this go down is akin to watching the keystone cops. your only chance for success is to start at one end of the house and try to move quickly, but not so quickly you start a riot, and to try to make a mental note of who you’re counting cause when you come up 2 short it’s best to have a good idea of who you’ve already counted. and you always come up at least 2 short…always. the policy is that a dog cannot be counted without seeing the whites of their eyes so when you come up short you’re either starting from scratch or figuring out exactly who’s missing and finding them outside or somewhere hiding in the house. i cannot tell you the elation i feel when i start counting in the bedroom and before i’ve left the room i’m already to 12 and the supreme sadness that comes over me when i get to the other end of the house and i’m only to 14 or 15 – it’s a crushing blow. i’m here to tell you that i adore every single one of my dogs, am constantly astounded by the amount of times we are asked if they all have names and can tell you which dog is barking without seeing them but when you’ve counted 12 dogs it is very, very hard to figure out who’s missing. i want to come up with some system, maybe a dry erase board with everyone’s name permanently marked that we can just cross off as we’re going through the house but dave insists he doesn’t need it. apparently our system of counting and recounting and fumfering along is the system for now. the system is there is no system.

p.s.  ideas for a system are welcome

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