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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Don't Fence Me In....

Obviously, it's time for a much needed update! I haven't written for some time, yet I have a few stories to share. We'll start with the story about Dilly.
So, when we got Dilly a year and a half ago, we thought we'd try to teach to be off-leash. We could have saved a lot of time by skipping that idea! A dog who is easily spooked is NOT a good candidate for being off-leash! She decided that rather than play fetch with Colin, she'd rather play "try to catch me", which ended our off-leash training immediately. However, a big, bored pup in your house is just asking for trouble so we hooked up a kind of lead for her with some rope and a leash. It worked quite well until she got a new collar (actually, a new collar and a haircut). After the haircut she was able to slip her head out of the collar if she tried. Colin even bought a choke collar for when she was on the lead. She still managed to get off the lead at least twice without removing the collars...we don't know how! We spent way too much time chasing that dog this past spring. She thought it was great!
So, in June, shortly after my birthday, Colin's parents told us that for part of my birthday and part of Colin's birthday, they would help us put up a fence. Hooray, we thought, our days of chasing Dilly are over!
Over the course of two weekends the fence was put up and we put the dogs in. It was great, they could run, they could play all within the safe area of our yard. It worked for a couple of days and then, Ian came running into the house saying Dilly wasn't in the yard. We looked and sure enough, she wasn't there, but all the gates were closed. So we started searching. Ian was very cute. He came outside and said "The first thing a good detective needs are clues." and he began to search around the yard. Thankfully, my parents were visiting so we were able to send Colin on a bike, my mom and I went in her car and my dad stayed at the house with Ian. We drove toward Dilly's favorite spot to escape to, a field about half a block away. We didn't see her there, but my mom thought that the neighbor said something to us, so we went down the block and turned around. Turns out that he just thought my mom was lost (since she had out of state plates), but it was a blessing because right about that time my dad started waving at us. Dilly had been spotted by none other than my little detective, Ian. So we drove toward the house just in time to see Dilly run across the side road by our house. We turned down that road and called for Dilly. She stopped and looked at us, so I told my mom to stop the car and open her door and call. I got out of the car and crouched down and called Dilly (it's the only position you can be in to get that dog to come to you when shes in runaway mode). Dilly ran toward me and came within arms length, but dodged out of my reach. I hadn't tried to grab her yet, so she was still coming to me. Finally, she came close enough and I grabbed her collar and walked her home.
Once we got home, Ian showed us where Dilly had gotten out. She had discovered a loose spot in the fence and had simply pushed it and crawled under into the woods behind our house. My mom told Colin he should get some stakes for the fence to help keep it from being able to be pushed.
The first thing the next morning Colin went to the hardware store and bought 30 stakes. He put in about 8, I think and then he let the dogs into the yard and we went inside. Wouldn't you know it? That crazy dog pushed and bent some of the fence and managed to get a spot where she could crawl out and escaped! Colin caught her quickly this time and then added many more stakes to keep her in. That seemed to work.
That evening, we were getting Ian ready for bed. We sent him to brush his teeth. The dogs were still outside. Everyone else was sitting at the kitchen table talking. The next thing we knew, the dogs came prancing into the kitchen, pleased to be inside. "Ian!" we hollered, " You left the screen door open!" Ian apologized and we thought nothing of the incident until the next morning. My mom had fixed breakfast and everyone was at the table (except me, I was still snoozing a little bit), suddenly, Dilly and Buster came traipsing into the dining room. Colin blamed Ian, but my mom said that Ian hadn't opened the door. So who opened the screen door to the home school room? It was Dilly. The screen had had a small tear in it, but by now it was much larger. Dilly used her paws to let herself and her buddy, Buster into the house without any human assistance!
Is it any wonder the neighbors have suggested that we might have named her wrong? The name they suggest for her? Houdini!