The Escape Artist

This is my dog, Penny. I say my dog because she curls up on my legs to sleep every night, even though my husband does most of the letting her out and clean-up work, other than baths, which has fallen to me. But she likes me best. Probably because the kids tend to “like” her too much, by bugging the shit out of her, or very aggressively “liking” and squeezing her, or acting as if they don’t “like” her at all with random pulls on the tail or ears. Luckily she’s very tolerant and sweet.

We adopted Penny as a puppy in November from a rescue shelter. She’s a beagle and corgi mix, but definitely favors a beagle in looks and disposition. We were warned about beagles before we adopted her, about how they lock onto a scent, and then their ears just shut down. Penny is like any puppy, or any house dog really, in that when she sees an opportunity to escape and spend some time out exploring in the world off of a leash, she goes for it.

Now that winter is finally releasing its death grip on the emerging spring weather, my four yahoos are in and out of the house with much greater frequency. Every time a door opens, that’s a potential sneaking out opportunity for Penny. Today Cameron was lollygagging around with the front screen door open, and off she went. I heard the commotion from upstairs when David, in his infinite wisdom, decided calling Cameron out on his stupidity would be time better spent than going after the dog. After arming ourselves with a box of treats, the three of us managed to wrangle her after she’d made the trek across the street and well beyond our neighbors’ backyards.

So all was good and I resumed getting stuff ready so David and I could leave for an appointment. Until I heard David once again berating his brother because apparently at some point in time, Cameron forgot to close the walk-out sliding glass door downstairs. Naturally Penny figured this out in a matter of seconds and she was off again. This time we had to chase her down into a marshy area, after she traipsed through our next-door neighbor’s yard, the neighbor who has multiple signs and subtle hints (like a wooden stake with a picture of a dog peeing with an X through it) in his yard indicating that dogs are not welcome on his property. Ditto for kids and balls.

Eventually we caught up to her, but I am not looking forward to an entire spring and summer of this nonsense, primarily because it’s not safe for her or the kids to be out chasing her all over creation. Not sure who is going to be more difficult to train, the dog or the kids.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

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5 thoughts on “The Escape Artist

  1. First, thank you for adopting a dog through an animal rescue. A friend of mine runs an animal rescue shelter, and she has more dogs than adopters.
    Second, we have a fenced yard – 6′ fence. And yet, our rescue dog will clear that fence if she sees something worth her while. (Like my husband and I going for a walk without her.) Fences certainly provide a barrier, but a dog will get out, if a dog wants to get out. You’ll have better luck training the kids. (smile)

    • Oh thanks! I’ll always adopt a dog from a shelter rather than a breeder. The mutts are way cuter anyway! Yeah, I’m not sure how this summer is going to unfold. The kids don’t really want a fence because it will impede their baseball-playing. Not sure about the invisible fence thing. Like you say if the dog wants out it will get out.

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