Thursday, 26 December 2013 20:25

Dunrobin Days

This picture of Brian and Ch Benbaron's Energizer V Rocket was taken around 1984. The setting was our home at Dunrobin, outside of Ottawa, Ontario. We had a lovely 2 acre lot of mature maples and oaks. The kennel came off the end of the house and ran out into those woods. At that time we kept an average of about six mature dogs and a couple of promising puppies (Yondo included). We had built a new house and one of its nicest features was that we could look out the large living room windows to those green woods and see the dogs playing beneath us.

Energizer, however, repeatedly confounded us. Time and again we would come home to find him lying around happily on the front lawn with a smirk on his face. Had someone let him out? No, the locks were secure. Had he dug a hole? Not on that solid granite mound with no sign of digging. Was there a hole in the fence? Absolutely not and none of the other dogs ever got out with him. Had he climbed over somehow? The fencing was six feet high and there was no sign of hairs on the top. Energizer was a solid, massive dog but we had never even seen him with his front feet up on the fence, much less climbing. For a year, it remained a mystery.

Then one lucky day, we were looking out the living room windows and caught him in the act!

There was one low spot along the side of the kennel where there was a space of about four inches high and a foot long between the ground and the bottom of the chain link fencing. Energizer stuck his nose into that wee space, sideways. Then he twisted his head back and forth until the ten foot fence panel lifted enough to get his entire head under it. Next he lifted the whole panel up until he could get his shoulders and front legs under. And for the final bit, he would stand up at which point more than 20 feet of fencing was off the ground for a second or two. For the finale, he would pop out completely to freedom; the fencing would all fall back neatly into place; and no one would be any wiser. Cheeky bugger!

If we hadn't actually seen it, we would never have believed it.

Energizer had another funny quirk: he refused to attend to his studly duties if anybody was around him. No breeding rack for him, thank you very much. At first we weren't sure what to make of it. We tried all the usual tricks to no avail. He was healthy and the bitch was keen but if we came within ten feet of them, he ran away. Finally, in frustration, we tied the female's lead to a tree in the front yard one dark evening and hid on the porch. Energizer wandered out from the woods, took a look around and seeing no one, kissed the female gently, and within a minute, settled down easily for a 40-minute tie. Once tied, we re-appeared to pass out the smokes.

During the 80s our children were teenagers and life was full and busy. We bought our first motorhome which we used for both business and dog show travel. One winter morning, our son, Robin, who was just sixteen at the time, begged off school with the flu. When I came home after work, I noticed something odd about the motorhome. It was in the same place but the little door where the electrical cord came out to plug into the house was detached and hanging by a wire in the breeze. What the hell???

A quick visit to Robin's room solved that mystery. It turned out that by about noon, Robin had been feeling better and getting a bit bored. So he had the brilliant idea to fire up the 33-foot brand new motorhome and drive it two miles down snowy roads to the country store so he could rent a movie. Only he forgot to unplug it from the house before setting off!

The dangling door spoiled his perfect crime.

We sold the Dunrobin house when we moved the business, the dogs, and ourselves to British Columbia at the beginning of the 90s. We look back fondly on that period that included dogs like Energizer and Yondo and our kids coming of age (although there was some doubt in my mind that Robin would live past that day of the rental!).


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