If you visit my neighborhood just about any time of day, there’s a good chance you’ll see them. Walking up one side of the street, and then down the other, taking the dog for a stroll. I’ve waved to them before, but I couldn’t tell you their names. They seem like nice folks. All I know is that they are awfully fond of what must be the world’s smallest terrier.
Their pup can’t be more than 5 inches long. No, that’s an exaggeration. He may be 7 inches. But it’s astonishing how much water this dog can hold. I’ve watched him as he promenades up and down the street, stopping to use the powder room at every mailbox. Every single one. He doesn’t skip any of them. He may not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
I have no idea how something that small can hold that much water. It’s entirely possible that his owners carry a baby bottle and reload him after every pit stop. Either that, or instead of a bladder, this dog has a fuel tank from a clown car — as soon as you think it’s empty, another wave comes out. Whatever his secret, Fido has marked a lot of territory.
Yet now I hear that certain dogs have graduated from causing leaks to sniffing them out.
Last year, over the course of several months, I noticed a spike in my water bill. So I called the water company. By the way, since this is the South, I fully expected the lady at the water company to answer with a chipper “Hi hon, what can I do for you?” The surly no-nonsense voice I spoke to did not call me “hon.” Somehow, I doubt she calls anyone “hon.” In fact, I would be surprised if she called her own grandson “hon.” Even if his name was Attila.
But I digress. I asked why my bill had gone up. I hadn’t increased my water usage at all. In fact, it had decreased since I sold the elephant I used to hose down in the back yard. Anyway, the lady at the water company said she would send someone to check. Then she hung up.
A few days later she called to say that I had a water leak. She didn’t know where. She didn’t know how big. She didn’t know for how long. But something was leaking. She told me to call the plumber, strongly implying that I should not bother her anymore.
When the plumber came, he pulled out some sort of gauge, and as soon as the needle pointed in a certain direction, he promptly dug a 4-foot hole in my front yard. Eventually he struck mud, which led him to the source of the leak. A mere $300 later, the problem was no more. And the plumber was flush with cash.
As it turns out, instead of using a gauge, he could have brought a dog. Some canines are trained to detect leaks. Though they are used primarily to sniff out oil and gas leaks — which surely can’t be good for the sniffer — I am told that dogs can also detect dripping water.
By whom was I told this? Well, my mother said that my dad’s cousin said that her plumber said that he had heard that dogs could detect water leaks. And if you want to question this chain of authority, you go right ahead, hon.
I confirmed all this on YouTube, where I watched a video about a Canadian labrador named Rider who was trained to smell gas leaks by chasing tennis balls dipped in propane. Whenever Rider catches the scent, he starts digging furiously. He is seldom invited back to outdoor barbecues. The video didn’t mention how he does with water.
So let me sum all this up. Dogs have now come full circle. While they are responsible for a considerable amount of the world’s water and gas emissions, now it seems some are doing their part to make things right. And that is how the world progresses: one small step for man, one giant leak for canines.