Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FIRE HYDRANTS, by Guest Blogger Mel

Piper asked me if I would write about fire hydrants.  I am happy to do this because the topic is one I am deeply interested in.  Piper thought it would be better for a boy dog to write about hydrants, and I agree.  Girl dogs like to sniff hydrants sometimes, but not in the fervent way that boy dogs do.  And the reason we like to sniff hydrants so much is so we can read the p-mail there.  Then when we have read it, we can leave our own message.  Girl dogs can't lift their legs high enough to leave a good p-mail message on a fire hydrant, the way a boy dog can.  But you probably knew that already, and I apologize if I have insulted your intelligence!

There are lots of fire hydrants in our neighborhood, which makes it a very good neighborhood for a dog to live in.  Here is a picture of the fire hydrant that lives next door to us.
It is a very fine hydrant and a good one to pee on without having to go too far from the house.  You will never believe this, but our neighbor who lives where this fire hydrant is is actually a fire fighter.  Most fire fighters are men, but our neighbor is a woman fire fighter.  Her job is mostly to drive the fire trucks, which are big and red and make a lot of noise, especially when they have their sirens on.  Anyway, I think our neighbor probably bought this particular house because it had a fire hydrant in front of it.

Fire hydrants have a long history.  This is what I learned from Wikipedia and other reputable sources on the internet.  Sometimes you hear a fire hydrant called a "fire plug."  Well, here's how it got that name.  Back in the 1600s, which was a really, really long time ago, there was an underground water system in London, and the pipes were made out of hollow logs.  So when there was a fire, the fire fighters dug down in the street to the wooden pipe, and then they drilled a hole in it.  This way the water ran out of the pipe and made a big pool of water in the hole they had dug.  Then people could dip water up with buckets and throw it on the fire.

After the fire was out, the hole in the pipe was plugged up.  Then the spot was marked so if there was another fire in that area, the fire fighters could find the "fire plug" and use it again.  And that's why fire hydrants are sometimes still called fire plugs, even though they don't really "plug" anything up.

Most of the fire hydrants where we live are red or orange, and they have black tops that look sort of like stocking caps, except made of metal.  But sometimes you will see a different color hydrant.  I think this happens when somebody has some extra paint that they don't know what to do with, so they decide to put it on the fire hydrant.  Here's a picture of one that has a green top.  In this photo, you can see Gabe checking out all the interesting smells, and Piper is doing that, too.

Sometimes you find a fire hydrant that needs to be repainted, like this one.  The old, cracked paint makes kind of an interesting texture, though, and pee smells stay around longer if they can hide in the cracks.  So in that sense, maybe it would be a mistake to repaint the hydrant.

Here's a picture of Barry and me reading p-mail.  This hydrant had a lot of interesting messages.  Also you can see that it has a little bit different shaped top than most of the other hydrants do.  I can't explain why this is so, and really it doesn't matter as long as the hydrant is suitable for peeing on.

Sometimes somebody gets really creative when they are painting a fire hydrant.  Here's a photo of my favorite hydrant of all, which has been painted to look like a brick wall.  Before it was painted like bricks, it was pink and blue.  Mom told me that a long time ago, back in 1976, she remembers when people painted all the fire hydrants to look like Revolutionary soldiers because it was the Bicentennial of the United States.  That was way before my time, though, so I just have to take her word for it.

There's one other hydrant that we like a lot, too.  It's just down the street from us.  Mom says she walked by it for many years before she noticed that there was a design of a dog scratched in the side of it.  Of course, I saw this design right away, but Mom can be a little slow sometimes.

Well, that is all that I can think of to tell you about fire hydrants.  I hope I haven't bored you.  I know this subject is more interesting to me than it may be to others.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go post some p-mail.

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