We, and the police, feel that the burglar was someone familiar with our house who knew that the dogs are kept crated when we are not there.
After investigating the incident the State Policeman's parting comment was "if I were you I'd leave a dog loose in the house from now on".
Right Officer, great idea!!!!! Seems like the inteligent thing to do. However, it occurred to me that there had to have been a good reason for crating them in the first place, but as aging apparently dims the mind, the reason escaped me. I decided this had to be a simple task - one of the eight had to be trustworthy, right?
Sparky, 10 1/2 years old, takes protection very seriously and has been known to bite first and then ask questions. Obviously the perfect choice! I left her loose in the house and went off to work at the kennel - bear in mind it had been a long time since I'd left a Vizsla loose in the house.
A couple of hours later I wandered back to the house to see how things were going. There was Sparky, a picture of innocence, reclining on the couch. I breathed a sigh of relief, dropped some Christmas bread and cookies (gifts from clients) on the counter and went back to the kennel. I failed to see the large "S" flashing on Sparky's face.
On my next visit I discovered that Madam had apparently gotten bored and decided to read the mail, it was in confetti sized pieces all over the carpet along with the contents of two wastebaskets. Apparently all this activity had made her hungry. She had eaten two loaves of nut bread plus two pounds of cookies along with the foil wrapping. She also took a fancy to some shortbread, however, the lid would not come off the tin but she turned it into a collander in the attempt! Needless to say Sparky was fired without notice.
Next day I tried Michael, 10 years old, He decided to point out to the then absent Tinker how very important he was, so he was banished by lunch time!
Next came Jenny, 6, and Corri 3. I thought perhaps "two's company" might be a good philosophy, but I also left the monitor on. Frantic barking had me racing the three hundred yards from the kennel, at speeds worthy of an Olympian, two or three times, only to discover that they were apparently lonely! Off went the monitor - they were on their own.
A mid afternoon check discovered the contents of the wastebaskets all over the living room so I put Corri away and left the more 'mature' Jenny in charge. Dinnertime brought forth more trash, some of it very unmentionable, all over the house so Jenny got canned.
Next morning I tried Tinker, 5, the dominant male on the A team. He apparently felt called upon to point out to Michael, the only male on the B team, that he was in fact handsomer, braver and definately more important. The end result was somewhat reminicent of practice time at the sprinkler factory. Tinker departed to the crate room!!
The remaining choices were not promising. Galen, 3,wants to be an interior decorator when he grows up and definately disappoves of my taste as he spends most of his time rearranging everything in the house, even when I'm around. Sheer terror at what he might do when I wasn't there made me not even try him. Toffee and Fudge, 14mths, are juvenile delinquents and I could just imagine what they'd do left to their own devices.
Next day, having exausted the supply of candidates, I decided to try Corri - a major chicken - alone this time. At lunch time I returned to the house expecting the worst but Corri and the house were as I left them. It was the same story at mid-afternoon and again at dinnertime. The next day brought more of the same. I began to relax - maybe I had found my guard dog. Apart from periodic bouts of hysterical barking, all was going well.
Ron got up one morning about three days later and announced that Corri had thrown up something disgusting on the couch overnight. He was not amused! He took the blankets off the couch and put them into the washer. That night I was getting ready for bed and put on a clean night shirt only to discover that it now had one long sleeve and one short one! I was amazed that I had washed and folded the shirt without noticing the short sleeve. I had no idea when it happened but assumed Sparky was responsible - she's big on sorting dirty washing.
Next morning I was folding the blankets Ron had thrown in the washer and discovered the sleeve from the night shirt so neatly severed that I could have sewn it back on. (Seems I'd found out what the disgusting deposit was on the couch). I had forgotten that Corri was into eating knee highs. She ate so many knee highs as a puppy that she thought peroxide was a regular part of her diet!
Apart from this one indiscretion, Corri has been a paragon of virtue. So she got the job as guard dog. I am now trained to close doors and dog proof the house. I do feel that if we are broken into again, Corri will probably have a cardiac arrest, but perhaps the hysterical barking will deter most would - be burglars!
[Update: The dog population at our house has changed. Corri, Toffee and Fudge are all in fabulous new homes and very sadly Tinker died two years ago. We are back to no guard dog as the new choices aren't event to be considered remotely trustworthy.]