We have had a real problem with Blondie exploiting any weakness she finds in a fence and making a break for the wild woods. As a result I have taken to tethering her in the shop yard or locking her inside the shop if I have to step away for a bit – like to go get the mail or do some gardening. After her last escape I spent a morning tightening up the fencing, bolstering posts, and sealing up the lower edges where she (or something) had pulled up the pins that hold the fence to the ground. I eliminated all the potential escape routes I could find. But she is strong as a bear, and it constantly surprises me what she’s capable of.
For the past two days I’ve let her run loose in the shop yard because I was out there with her, WATCHING. I made a point of scolding her if I caught her casing the fence line, and praising her when she was just wandering around or resting and being good.
This afternoon Cochise decided to stay home after lunch (rain is coming, hes a wimp regarding rain) and he can be trusted on his own in the house. He’s a very good boy. Blondie and I came back to the shop and were inside. Cochise started making a fuss from the living room window so Blondie and I went out to the gate to see what was going on. There are trees in front of all the shop windows for shade so I can’t see much from in here. The little white furball dog from across the road was out pissing on my garden, so I ran down to chase it away. This took no more than TWO MINUTES – seriously – but when I got back Blondie was nowhere to be found. She had found a new way out: by RIPPING a panel down that had been stapled across an opening formerly occupied by a gate.
I have since re-stapled it, but I’ll have to cut wood battens to nail over the top of the staples: MAYBE that would hold her. The fencing itself has a 600 LB tensile strength, but she has managed to tear it with her claws. And “critters” have been chewing holes in it here and up at the play yard. I’ve mended the holes by cutting patches of fencing and wiring them over the holes… and they chew through the patches!
Back to my story. So I armed myself with a dog cookie and a leash and went out in search of Blondie.
I looked high (up in the woods) and I looked low (down along the road). Finally I caught sight of a Blondie butt disappearing over a hill in The Judge’s driveway headed toward his house. I called her, she ran. I walked faster (can’t run anymore or I pass out), she disappeared. She must have darted off into the woods that line both sides of his 1/2 mile long (or more) driveway.
Cochise started making a fuss. Maybe she had gone back home; I should turn back and go look. No, I’m almost to his house, I should go on and be sure. They have a big brown dog that seems to fascinate her. Besides, if she went home, she’d probably run off again before I got there. I rounded the last bend and did not see her. I turned around and she came trotting out of the woods back the way I’d come. I called her, she ran straight toward me; very gratifying… until she zipped right past and headed up to the Judge’s house! I’m pretty sure she was chuckling.
She led me on a merry hour long chase: POINTEDLY ignoring me the whole way. She’d let me get almost close enough to grab her then bolt away again. Finally, she forgot about her tail and I seized the opportunity. On the leash again I escorted her home. I did NOT give her the cookie she so pointedly ignored previously.
She’s alive and well – though tired – I’m the dead one. Working on a bottle of Gatorade now.
* * * * *
Addendum: Two days later we signed the papers and made it official – Blondie is now a permanent part of our family. Alicia installed her chip at the shelter – it’s just a shame it’s not like a cell phone where we could triangulate her location! I’m sure she’ll be making a break and going a-wandering as often as get gets the chance. It will be my job to eliminate those chances.
Cochise went along to keep her company and see his good friend Alicia, who says she likes to follow along with his adventures on Facebook. He’s always excited to go see his friends at The Newport Animal Shelter.
Blondie will, no doubt, be our troubled teen who likes to run off but she’s a sweet gal most of the time, and we love her dearly. Even Cochise; in fact it was his idea that we keep her. Maybe, in time, she too will decide she likes it better here than out there and give up making a break for it every chance she gets.
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