Tale of Tails: Tino & the Crawlspace

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Tino, circa 2003

Tino, circa 2003

I’ve written at length about our dog Tino. (See Tail of Tales) and told much of his story, but I have a million mini-stories as he had many humorous adventures. We retell them all the time: “Remember when Tino…”

This story is about Tino and the crawlspace. We live in California, and houses here don’t have basements – yes it’s a major hassle as there is no place to store anything, but it’s earthquake country, so no basement.

At our home, there is a small crawlspace entrance on the far side of our house with a door that we keep latched & locked to keep out critters.

Crawl space on the side of the house.

Crawlspace door on the side of the house.


As mentioned in previous Tino stories, he spent his days outside. He loved his yard and lounging out there was his favorite thing to do. The other thing that’s important to know is that Tino was blind.

One morning, I was in my office working and I heard faint noises underneath me- in the crawlspace under the house. Nothing loud or alarming, just a little scraping noise. We do have rabbits, raccoons and possums and even rats (I know – ick, but we live in the middle of several avocado farms and have an orchard ourselves and many fruit trees, so no way around it). There’s also coyotes to consider. I thought maybe it was a rabbit or something and didn’t think much of it. It was faint and sporadic.  Then I heard it again and again and it was getting louder. No longer did it sound like a little rabbit – it sounded like something much bigger. I thought maybe it was a possum – something small enough to dig under the crawlspace door, but large enough to make all that noise.

I grabbed a flashlight and went outside to see what was up. First I wanted to get Tino into the house just in case…but I couldn’t find him. I got a little alarmed and raced to the crawlspace. It was on the other side of the house – probably 25-30 feet from my office where I had heard the noise. The doors to the crawlspace where open. Our pest control guy had been there the day before and obviously had forgotten to close it up!

But it couldn’t possible be Tino – how did he maneuver from the other side of the house – where he usually hung out – to the small crawlspace door and how did he know the door was open then what possessed him to just go in…remember he is BLIND! I start crawling in and flashing the light around looking for him.

Inside the crawl space. Tino was on the other side of that wall.

Inside the crawlspace. Tino was on the other side of that wall.

Those of you with crawlspaces know they are dirty and creepy because the floor is dirt… so there’s cobwebs and piles of dirt, big wooden beams, sewer pipes, plumbing ducts and our house is older (by CA standards) and it was built in stages, so there are also cement blocks defining different additions and most importantly all of this is holding up the house. It’s kind of a maze with obstacles.

I start crawling in and calling for Tino. I finally see him, on the opposite side of this half wall, a good 20 feet from me. How he got that far over all of the obstacles in his way, I’ll never know. And WHY he did it I could never begin to guess. But there he was. It took me a several long, scary minutes to get him out. I couldn’t reach him – it was too small, so I had to coax him out and back up over this wall in order to free him. Luckily, he was pretty well behaved and came to me when I called him.

He made his way out, shook himself off and went about his business. He had probably been in there at least 45-50 minutes from when I first started hearing the noises. He confided to me later he was just doing a little exploration and I shouldn’t have been so worried. He had found his was in – he could find his way out.

He was a great dog – truly fearless – I never saw him shy away from an adventure, something new  or from another dog – even after he was blind, he would slowly and methodically approach things, moving around with caution checking it out until he had mapped out the new situation or new environment and then he was good to go. To him, this crawlspace was just another morning adventure.

Next chapter: Tino and the possum.

Here’s Tino helping his cousin Christian open an Xmas gift. Tino had no idea what was going on, but there was a party and here he is in the middle of it all.

Tino and Christian

Tino and Christian





We’re joining two Blog Hops today.  All Things Dog for Mutt Monday…today’s Mutt Monday theme is Outdoor Activities…perfect for SlimDoggy & his friends/family – most of our posts are about our outdoor excursions and exercise.





We are also joining the Monday Mischief Blog Hop hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog,  Alfie’s BlogLuna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies becasue we also tend to get into a LOT of mischief!


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  1. Yet another way I wish I could be like my dogs: don’t panic! All’s well and is just a fun adventure… even when it isn’t.
    Bethany recently posted…Party AnimalsMy Profile

    • I know – he was the most easy going, laid back dog…a good role model.

  2. Well Tino sounds like a very adventurous and fun dog!
    I’m not sure if I would of been able to scoot through the crawl space, those have always given me the creeps!
    Jen recently posted…Stringy Things Stuck On My Dogs This SpringMy Profile

    • It was pretty creepy…but I bet if Sherman or Leroy were wandering around under there, you’d find a way 😉

  3. That is such a great story! I guess you don’t have to see mischief in order to find it! 🙂
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Monday Mischief: All NighterMy Profile

  4. What a fun story! Crawl spaces give me the creeps!!
    Rebecca Epperly recently posted…“Stay” out of Mischief (Monday)!My Profile

    • Yeah – I normally won’t go in it at all…but he was in so deep, I really was worried he wouldn’t get out. Although, I bet he would have – he got lost out on the trails a few times and always managed to find me. (those are upcoming tales:) )

  5. Oh my scary. That’s amazing he just decided to explore like that.

    • He was like Columbus…always exploring.

  6. What an adventurous guy, nothing was gonna stop him having fun!

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂
    snoopy recently posted…Monday Mischief – Not much help really!My Profile

    • I suspect he thought that’s where the rabbits were hanging out.

  7. Wow Tino did get into some creative mischief didn’t he…Those are the stories we remember best aren’t they? Happy MM!
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Caught Red-Handed–Monday MischiefMy Profile

  8. Dogs can get themselves into some truly odd places!

    • You said it!

  9. That is a great story. Glad you found Tino all in one piece!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Monday Mischief–Winter Again!My Profile

  10. Wow! Tino is really an interesting character. You should collect his stories in a chapbook and have it published. 🙂
    Ed of ACCageMan.com

  11. Ah I have all the same little critters around here and frequently hear them under my house. Luckily, my dog has never gone under there even though she easily could. Sounds like he had a great adventure! lol…
    Ann “Paws” Staub recently posted…Get Your Paws on Tasty KONG Treats – A Review and Giveaway!My Profile

  12. It’s good to have a dog in your crawl space when you don’t have an ac cage or burglar bars. It’s still effective security.
    Ed of ACCageMan.com

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