Opinion

Everything Bremerton: Really in the dog house this time

Nick Smidt and Baer. - Colleen Smidt
Nick Smidt and Baer.
— image credit: Colleen Smidt

I have been a pet owner most of my life. Growing up, we lived in a rural, small farm type environment. We had all types of animals at various times which included everything from chickens and ducks to the larger variety such as horses and cows.

The Christmas before I turned 6, Santa brought me a pony on Christmas Eve. Yes, one of my Dad’s fellow firefighter friends dressed up in the full Santa regalia and brought my gift -- a small Shetland pony named Dolly — up the front driveway of my house on the night before Christmas.

In real life, I actually got to live out the number one dream of every little girl in America. Many would say I was spoiled and I guess I was in a way. I did not come from a family with money. There were years where things were very tight, but I was rich in the way of life we lived. It allowed opportunities like having a pony as a little girl.

Now days, the number of animals in my world have been significantly reduced down to two fish who are Cosmo and Wanda and a dog named Baer.

About four years ago, we rescued Baer from a situation where his real owner had to leave him with friends and they simply did not have the space or time for him.

We made space and Baer became a part of our family.

Baer is a chewer when he gets board. So that means at night he has a 4-foot by 6-foot chain-link kennel in the basement that he has to sleep in so that I don’t wake up to a world of shredded socks, blankets and chewed up pieces of furniture every morning.

He also loves to work very hard until he slips off the nice nylon collars I purchase for him and chews them up. The chewing does not stop at the nylon and moves on to the plastic clips and whatever ID tag attached until it is all unrecognizable.

This past week, Baer decided to launch an escape attempt from his downstairs kennel. He managed to work some of the links apart and create a hole to worm is way through. As he wormed, the temporary metal chain collar we had on him wrapped itself around the pedal of Nick’s bike that was parked next to the kennel.

When the bike tipped over, it scared him and he twisted and drug it partially across the basement.

Hearing all this noise I went down to investigate. It was around 10 p.m. and all I had on my agenda was heading for bed after a very long day.

The chain had twisted enough that, in order to keep it from very quickly choking Baer, both my son, Nick, and I had to hold the bike in an odd elevated position.

My husband, Jason, raided most of the tools in his shop but none of the cutters we had were strong enough to cut through that thickness of chain.  Compounding the situation was the fact that Nick and I could not put the bike down on the ground so that enough leverage could be gained for the use of wrenches or sockets to dismantle the pedal on the bike and slip free the chain.

I even drenched Baer’s head in olive oil hoping that I could slide the chain over his head. That did not work either.

Finally, after half an hour of exhausting all of our options as well as dealing with a nearly hysterical 12-year-old boy who was scared for his dog, I broke down and called for the Bremerton Fire Department to be dispatched.

Having also grown up in that firefighter family, I knew that they would have the bolt cutters we needed to snap that chain.

Two very nice firefighter's rolled up to the house less than 10 minutes later.

It took three of us to hold the bike, keep Baer’s ears and hair out of the way so that the fourth person could slip the bolt cutter in and make the cut. The dog was freed and he was sheepishly OK.

Pets certainly do make life interesting -- sometimes in ways that you don’t expect and really hope will never happen again.

Thanks again to the Bremerton Fire Department for helping us out. A 12-year-old boy is very grateful that you saved his dog.

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