Don’t Fence Me In

There are all kinds of fences in this neighborhood. Some are decorative, while others serve a purpose. Fences enclosing gardens to keep critters out. Fences around yards to keep kids and pets in. Some homes here have a low white picket fence facing  the street side. A real Norman Rockwell look. Many have continued that small fence to include the whole back yard. The height is perfect for small dogs and toddlers. Some folks have invisible fences for their dogs. This seems effective. I’ve seen large dogs that won’t cross that line. Invisible to us, but well-known by the dog.

Our backyard is surrounded by a tall wooden picket fence, the color of driftwood, weathered  and stained green with algae. It could easily contain miniature donkeys, pigs, goats, a cow or two, and even non-jumping horses. A gentleman’s livestock yard, if our neighborhood allowed it. This old fence worked well for our dog Trudy. We could leave the gate open and she would not wander. But, not you Dwight. You are  a “runner.”

You were excited on your first back yard experience, leaping  like a gazelle as you discovered every square inch of our quarter acre. You gazed through the fence into the wetlands. Bare winter trees allowed a deep view into the woods and the creek. Your nose allowed you to go even deeper. You quietly  watched while other dogs walked by on the community walking trail . But you were still confined Dwight.  I watched you. The artist tracing the fence line with your nose. Testing the boundaries.

John and I went inside, giving  you a little privacy with your explorations. Your first escape was easy. We were in the house less than 5 minutes when the doorbell rang. Our neighbors were walking with  3 kids and a small dog down the walking path. You, being so charming, jumped up and draped those big paws over the fence. Your paws, ears, and beautiful brown eyes lured them over. They spoke, they petted, stroking your head and ego. Tail wagging. Everyone happy. They continued their walk and suddenly discovered you on the path beside them. When they tried to grab you, you took off. They rang our bell, advising us that you had jumped the fence. You were gone. Not even in our lives long enough to cover the den rug with dog hair, or muddy the kitchen floor. Worst of all, you had no collar. No name tag. Dwight, the delinquent dog with no identity. What had I done? I am responsible for you. I let you down.

You escaped with no means to tell anyone where you belong. I’m so sorry Dwight. I said a prayer for you. John got in the car. I walked the path. Several neighbors joined the search. In less than 5 minutes, John came home with you in the car. A family up the street saw you trolling their fence line. They welcomed you to their backyard to play with their dog. Your first friend in suburbia, Dwight. Belle, a Silver Lab. I was grateful for your capture. I went and got you a collar and id tag immediately.

I placed the red collar loosely around your neck. I know you have tracheal issues, but you didn’t seem to mind. The red leather and the silver bone shaped tag looked smart, giving you an air of belonging. I hope to make you feel that way too. Collar donned, we headed to the backyard. This time I watched your every move. Once again, you sniffed out the fence line, pacing the rectangle it forms. I was anticipating a leap over the fence. Suddenly you dropped to your belly and commando crawled under the fence at a place where three pickets did not touch the ground. There was barely a three-inch opening that you managed to slither through. Way too fast and easy. This was not your first fence rodeo. This must be how you escaped before. You didn’t jump. Not you Dwight. You won’t even jump into my car. You were gone again.

This time you made it to my friend Marchia’s house. She lives about a mile from here. She was walking her hound when she heard the jingle of your tag and then saw you galloping through the yard. She called her son to assist with your capture. They were able to coral you. Marchia was unaware that we had adopted you, until she read your tag. She called and  John went and collected you from her garage. He brought you in the house and promptly walked the fence line, fixing lose pickets and suring up any gaps.

Two escapes in 2 days. Two new friends. Belle and Boomer. Dwight, I promise to exercise you more. I will do my best to make you feel at home here. All I ask is that you stay in the yard. Give us a chance Dwight.


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