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21 Crazy Critter Goofs

A dog can be man's best friend but it can also be man's most unnerving companion. The same goes for cats, too, not to mention critters of the wild.

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The tar ‘pits’Family Handyman

The tar ‘pits’

Last winter, my roof developed some leaks. As soon as the snow melted, I went up to pinpoint the problem. The section of roof in question had damaged roll roofing, so I decided to get a bucket of roofing tar and fix it. The cool, 50-degree day was great for working but the tar seemed a bit too stiff to spread thinly. I worked the tar in along the edge of the roof over the leak. All was fine until we got our first day of 80-degree heat. My dog came into the house with tar all over his feet. I went out to investigate and saw melted tar dripping all over the siding and windows. — William Fronckiewicz

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CatastropheFamily Handyman

Catastrophe

While I was rolling the fridge in and out to clean behind it, the copper tubing to the ice maker got crunched. I decided to replace it with plastic tubing. I removed the old copper, pushed the new tubing through the floor and into the old saddle valve, and then gave it a try. Wow! Everything worked just fine (and on the first try). Suddenly I heard our cat dashing across the floor. I rushed into the kitchen and saw water spraying everywhere. After shutting off the water, I examined the tubing and saw that it was covered with tiny cat tooth marks. I immediately decided that I like copper better! — Bob Dobs

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This side up

This side up

When we moved into our new house, one of the first things on the list was to install a cat door between rooms so our cat could do its business. I removed the door, set it on sawhorses and marked the opening with the cat-door template. After I made a remarkable splinter-free cut, something didn't look right. On further inspection, I realized that I'd cut the opening at the top of the door. The cat’s name is Magic, but ... — Stephen M. Gray

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Between hornets and a hard place

Between hornets and a hard place

Hornets had built a good-size nest in our porch light, so I rounded up a can of insecticide and a large cloth and waited until dark, when the pests would be in their hive. That night I quickly wrapped the cloth around the light fixture to keep all the angry, buzzing hornets inside. But when I tried to grab the can of spray at my feet, I realized I couldn’t reach down that far without letting go of the cloth—the only thing between me and an irate colony of stingers. Was I stuck! Fortunately, it was summer and the windows were open. After I gave a few desperate yells, my wife came and rescued me from my potentially painful pickle. — Albert F. Reed

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Pencil pickpocket

Pencil pickpocket

I constantly misplace pencils. So before starting my last carpentry project, I gathered up several sharpened ones and stuffed them into my back pocket. But within a few minutes, I reached back for a pencil and—with some patting around—realized they were all gone! Surely I was going insane. Then I noticed our dog happily gnawing away and saw a pile of chewed pencil pieces around her. She had been sneaking up behind me while I was bent over and stealing them right out of my pants pocket. She’s a good dog, but not a handyman’s best friend. —Ken Loftus

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Canine capersFamily Handyman

Canine capers

My friend was having trouble with squirrels invading his attic. The fact that his dog loved to chase squirrels gave him an idea. The next time he heard a squirrel in the attic, he caught his small dog, climbed the ladder, opened the access hole and released the dog. Since his dog doesn’t obey very well, he had attached a long rope to his collar so that he could just reel him in once the intruder had been run off. But as the dog took off after the squirrel, the rope got wrapped around the trusses until the dog was hopelessly tangled. When my friend climbed up into the attic to rescue the dog, he stepped between the trusses, broke through the drywall and landed in the living room. So much for canine pest control. — Kevin Boekhoff

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Fastest way to unload lumberFamily Handyman

Fastest way to unload lumber

I was at the home center, buying yet another load of materials to finish my basement. I strapped the lumber and copper pipe to my truck rack, then hit the highway. All was well and good until I was almost home and a small dog darted into the street right in front of me, forcing me to slam on my brakes. My truck stopped, but my load didn’t. The lumber and piping went flying off the rack, landing on the street. Luckily, there wasn’t a car in front of me or it would have had an unexpected delivery through its back window. The dog ran away unscathed, but I swear he was laughing at me. — Carl Erickson

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Moles 1, Homeowner 0Family Handyman

Moles 1, Homeowner 0

Each year the moles arrive and wreck my perfect lawn with their earthworm mining tunnels. I’ve tried all sorts of traps and solutions over the years, and last year I decided to try a different approach. One evening, I stamped down the mole trails and waited with a pitchfork. As soon as I saw a little quiver in the stamped-down trail, I knew a mole was moving and I attacked, plunging the sharp tines into the soil over and over to spear the varmint. I figured I must have speared the critter, but who knows? The next morning I noticed something odd about my lawn irrigation system. The ground was rising and bulging and occasionally sending up an errant spray of water where no sprinkler head was located. Upon closer investigation, I found that even if I hadn’t speared any varmints, I’d done a nice job of perforating the underground water lines. — Kent Stever

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Holy intruder!Family Handyman

Holy intruder!

I built a permanent roof over my patio a couple of years ago. Recently I noticed water stains on the inside wall directly below the step flashing that sealed the new roof to the house siding. So I climbed up there to track down the leak. I looked for holes, checked for flashing that had slipped out of place and even flooded the area with a hose. No dice. Then I climbed a ladder and held my head close to the wall behind a rafter to see if any light was shining through to reveal a hole. Inches away and staring right back at me was a bat. And directly below him were his urine stains. — Ed Lejchar

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Doggone bad measuring!Family Handyman

Doggone bad measuring!

I was installing a new ice maker water line. First I measured from the outside wall of the kitchen to the location of the tubing at the back of the refrigerator. Then I went downstairs to the basement and measured from the outside wall to the same spot. I drilled the hole through the floor and went upstairs to admire my handiwork. But the hole wasn’t where I thought it should be. I suddenly remembered that the house floor cantilevered over the foundation, and I had drilled the hole 18 in. in front of the refrigerator. After a bit of a hunt, I finally found the hole in the hardwood floor—directly under the dog’s dish! Without skipping a beat, I cut a piece of 3/8-in. dowel, plugged the hole and slid the dog’s dish over it. I figure no one will be the wiser (as long as we have a dog, anyway). — Laurence Simon

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Doggone helper!Family Handyman

Doggone helper!

Because of a recent insurance inspection, I was forced to finish building our back porch and steps quickly. It was raining at the time, so I did all the cutting under the cover of the front porch and hauled the pieces into the backyard to install. In the meantime, our dachshund, Beavis, was very interested in the excavation part of the project. He spent the day digging inside the area where I was building. When the final board was screwed into place, my “helper” was nowhere to be found. Then I heard whining under the steps and realized what I had done. While I was working on the front porch, Beavis’s exploring had led him under the porch for a snooze. Of course, removing one board wasn’t enough to get him out. I had to remove several and crawl in there to fetch him! Next time I’ll screen my helpers more carefully! — Gerald (Gary) Price

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Doggone itFamily Handyman

Doggone it

I was building a doghouse for my son-in-law’s dog in my compact 8 x 12-ft. workshop. Everything went fine until it was time to take it outside and paint it. I tried to get it out the door front-to-back, then side-to-side, then flipped it top-to-bottom, but it was still a couple of inches too wide. After all this work, I wasn’t about to dismantle this fabulous project. Two hours later, I finally got it outside—after removing the trim, the door and the door frame! — Carlos Quintero

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Chirp, chirpFamily Handyman

Chirp, chirp

One evening last summer, just after going to bed, my wife and I heard a chirping sound coming from the hallway In the morning I promptly changed the battery in the smoke alarm, thinking that would fix it. The next night we heard it again. The next morning I changed the batteries in the remaining smoke alarms. That night we heard it again. I assumed that the smoke alarms must be faulty, as they were several years old. I went to the home center the next day and bought three new alarms and installed them. Eager for a good night's rest, we went to bed. That night the periodic chirping continued. I called the home center and asked what the problem might be. After an extensive search, we found it — a lonely cricket. I coaxed it into a jar and put it outside. Now I'm sleeping better than ever. No crickets, and all that peace of mind from the new smoke alarms. — Ellis J. Biderson

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Puppy artFamily Handyman

Puppy art

While painting our side door, I spilled a few drops of paint. As I was getting a rag to clean it up, my son came home from school. He opened the storm door and just missed stepping in the can of paint. Unfortunately, our dog, which I had carefully shut outside, came trailing in right behind him. A big, hairy paw stepped right into the can of black, oil-based paint. To make matters worse, the dog got scared and ran as I yelled and chased him, hoping to keep him off the carpet. His paint-soaked paw made a disaster across the house. When I was between cleaning the floors and the black-pawed dog, my wife came home. Calling it "puppy art" didn't improve the situation. — Carl Bernardi

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Painting faux paw

Painting faux paw

When my mother decided it was time to paint her living room, I told her I'd help. We took all the usual precautions like placing drop cloths and masking the trim to keep cleanup to a minimum. The painting was going fine until the cat decided to pay us a visit and proceeded to jump into the half-full roller pan. The cat freaked and ran a circle around the room and then dashed up the staircase. It wasn’t hard to “track her down” and scrub the paint from her paws, but the rest of the cleanup job took several hours. We now keep the curious cat in another room while we paint. — Robert Toms

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Doggone

Doggone

One day last summer, I was working on our faulty electric garage door opener and my wife was outside training our new puppy. After a while, she decided to pick some weeds and slipped the dog's leash over the closest, most convenient spot, the garage door handle. Unaware of this, I finished the repairs and hit the opener button on the wall. When the door got about halfway up, I could hear the dog yelping and my wife screaming as the dog was hoisted up by the neck. Fortunately, the dog survived without injury and we've agreed to remove the outside door handle. — Walt Peterson

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In the doghouseFamily Handyman

In the doghouse

Proud of my well-constructed doghouse complete with shingles and nameplate, I was ready for my German shepherd to move in. I had even attached an eyebolt to the doghouse to fasten the dog's leash to, since he's a bit rambunctious. On the trial morning of this new setup, I let the dog out, hooked up the leash and went back inside. A few minutes later, I went out to check on him. The dog and the house were gone! I looked in every direction and then across the street. There I saw him enjoying his new yard. The doghouse is now anchored to a concrete slab. — Michael DiPardo

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Cat’ll callFamily Handyman

Cat’ll call

After living in our old house for years, we decided to go all out and remodel the bathroom. Our dream was to install a Jacuzzi tub with a beautiful tile surround. After all the backbreaking work, we finally got to the fun part — setting the tile. We did a flawless job! Later that evening, we realized our cat was missing. After looking everywhere, we heard a distinct meow coming from the bathroom. Realizing that the sound was corning from the new tub surround, we carefully cut through the tile and cement board and found our cat alive and well. We made the best of a bad situation— our rescue hole became a maintenance access panel that we probably should have installed in the first place. — Matthew Robichaud

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Jungle print floor

Jungle print floor

My husband and I put a smooth, flawless coat of epoxy on our garage floor. Then we lowered the overhead door, leaving it high enough that it wouldn’t touch the wet floor but low enough that the cat couldn’t squeeze in under it. The next morning I peeked into the garage and my eyes grew to the size of silver dollars! We didn’t keep the cat out of the garage. We kept her in—all night! (She must have been hiding up in the rafters.) It’s a goof we’re unlikely to forget; hundreds of little paw prints across the floor’s mirror finish remind us every day. — Lisa Marie Raby

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Bee careful with that hammerFamily Handyman

Bee careful with that hammer

I was tearing down an old shed that wasn’t much more than weathered lumber over a dirt floor. A fair number of bees were flying around, but I kept going until the shed was down and stacked into neat piles. There was one last piece of plywood lying on the ground. With the hammer in my hand, I used the claw to lift up the plywood. Out from the ground came the bees! I dropped the plywood and started running, but one of the bees was gaining on me! My instinct was to start waving my hands to ward off the bee, but I forgot I was holding my hammer! The emergency room doc was laughing so hard that he had a tough time keeping the stitches straight as he worked on the gash above my eyebrow. — Norman Bullock

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Night light nightmareFamily Handyman

Night light nightmare

I installed a motion sensor switch in our laundry room, and my wife loves it. Every time she walks in carrying a load of laundry, the light automatically comes on, and then it turns off soon after she leaves. So I decided to put one in our kids’ bedroom since they’re always leaving the light on. Big mistake. Sure, the light turned off when there wasn’t anyone in the room. But it also turned on when we didn’t want it to—like when the kids rolled over in their sleep or the cat entered the room on its nightly patrol and jumped up on their beds. The instant-on light woke up the kids, who in turn woke me up with their yelling. I swapped it with the old switch the next morning. Now if I can just get my dear wife to stop snoring, I’ll be able to get a peaceful night’s sleep. — Dave Ahrendt