January 28, 2007

Little Dogs and Garden Ponds

We had an interesting experience last week that could have turned out badly, and I thought it may be a good idea to share with other dog owners (especially those with very small dogs). We've always wanted a small fountain at the end of our patio so, finally getting a spell of really nice weather, we went ahead and installed one. We used one of those black pre-made plastic pond forms that you bury in the ground and then fill (like you see in the garden centers of most hardware stores), and the one we selected is only a couple of feet wide and maybe a foot deep. It seemed harmless enough, but the morning after we had it filled, our littlest Mini Pinscher fell into it.

We're not even sure why she went near it, since she has no great fondness for water, but nevertheless she did. I scooped her out immediately, and there was no harm done, but it occurred to me then how dangerous even the smallest ponds could be. Though the water isn't even high enough to reach my knees, it's well over her little head. Even worse, most pond forms are very smooth inside (which doesn't allow for traction) and the sides are almost vertical. There would have been no way she would have been ok if she had been outside without supervision. We immediately put a very stout decorative fence around said pond, even though the dogs don't go out alone!

Now I'm sure a some of you are out there reading this and saying "duh!", but when you have a dog that dislikes water and a pond that's just about as shallow as they get, it's easy to feel safe. I post this as a warning to others who have tiny dogs or puppies though... be careful of with your water decorations. Even some of the kiddie swimming pools that are on the market today are deeper that a little dog could handle, and they can apparently pick the oddest times to get curious!

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