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Getting a handle on the crate addiction!

November 4, 2009 2 comments
exercisepen4

36" folding fabric expen (mine is camouflage)

If admitting the problem is the first step, then let’s go:

My name is Pat, and I’m addicted to crates.

Two weekends ago I moved my Sun Spot vintage trailer to its winter home in my rented garage. I packed some other things to winter over in the garage – my two larger coolers, a lounge chair from my patio, and crates. Four crates. I have so many crates I no longer need them on a daily or even weekly basis.

Five years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, I did take stock and gave away many of my ‘extra’ dog things. As my dance with cancer has had its ups and downs, I’ve gotten a good feeling from seeing my former stuff in active use at shows and trials and in the SOTC training building. I had this green Sharpie that truly did have indelible ink – the fading but still readable STEER printed on my former crates always surprises me when I see it in someone else’s setup.

But it’s been five years since I scaled down my dog equipment, and slowly, my crate addiction has resurfaced. Once again I find myself harboring (or maybe it’s hoarding?) extras. I have two english cocker spaniels (easy keepers in 200-size crates) and a pretty large orange tiger cat who fits in a 100-size crate but is much happier in a 200. My oldest functional but damaged crates are the house crates – at this moment that includes a 25-year-old 400 side-door wire, a 10-year-old 200 Deluxe VariKennel (Casey and M.’s houses, respectively), a 200 plastic PetMate (Churro’s ‘cat house’), and a 100 Varikennel and smaller than 100 cat crate which are cat-transports to the vet or kennel. That’s actually a sort of controlled chaos – it’s the car that reminds me, daily, that I may be taking ‘Be Prepared’ a step too far.

Two plastic 200 Varikennels are secured in the car all the time. Stored around them are a medium Guardian Gear soft crate (big enough to hold a gordon setter, it’s now my hotel crate that holds both Casey and M.), a 200-size Noz2Noz soft crate with a strong aluminum framework (for venues where I need crates that stack), three 200-size off-label Petmate soft crates, and my brand new folding 36″ soft ex-pen. That gives me one crate for the car, one crate for the show site and one crate for the hotel for each of the three in my current entourage – and an extra in case space is a problem.

The fabric ex-pen is an upgrade/replacement for my 25+ year-old folding metal 36″ covered ex-pen – how could I *not* want to reduce my weight and load from 25 pounds to 4? You heard me – a 4-pound ex-pen. I love it! Although the website recommends the 36″ size for ‘Shelties and Mini-Schnauzers,’ it’s just fine for larger breeds who respect a soft crate – and the solid bottom and zip-off screened top make it more escape-proof than the average wire ex-pen.

But I have to admit, today was a one-day-at-a-time crate day. The email came in the digest of the SOTC mail-list: MidWest Metal is clearancing its 30″ black-expoxy-coated wire expens for $37 and change with free shipping. I caught my breath, I clicked the link – and then I closed the ad. In the car-port, waiting for their own trip to the garage, are a 300 Deluxe Varikennel, a 300 folding wire, two 200 folding wire crates, and two uniquely sized tall and narrow wire crates that often fit into tight spaces and are no longer manufactured. I need to move them to enclosed storage before winter really hits.

If you’ve been keeping count, I own 20 crates for two medium-sized dogs and a cat. Full disclosure: Casey will turn 15 in a couple weeks – his crating requirements are much lower than when he was actively traveling, showing and going to classes two or three times every week. But once a crate comes into my home, it always stays years after the dog who first lived in it has passed on.

I’ve rented crates to students, and never bothered to get them back. I gave away the partner to my metal expen, and I’ve given away at least as many crates as I currently own.

Okay, my name is Pat, and I’m addicted to crates. But at least I’m always prepared. 😉

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