Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dog Tale

I’ve mentioned before that our dog is a bit of an escape artist. Her name is Athena but she is known to us as Houndini because nothing can hold her. There has not been a kennel built that can hold her. I think she might be the reincarnation of a WWII airman from Stalag 3 because she will tunnel out of anything, or climb over it (even an 8 foot tall fence) or collapse her rib cage into a flat package & squeeze through a 4 inch wide gap.

I’m not merely imagining this either. Her kennel is clearly visible from my desk and over the summer I watched her numerous escape attempts, marveling at the ingenuity she showed in moving pavers so heavy I can’t lift them easily, at the agility she showed in wedging herself between the door & the frame of the kennel and at the speed with which she can, in 3 movements climb the kennel wall. It is astounding & I wish I had been able to find out Flip video to get it recorded.

I tried keeping her in the house but she is too big to run loose in the house alone, especially with 3 cats also in the house. While she does come in after supper and lays around the living room & sleeps in her crate overnight just fine, she freaks out if we leave the house while she is in the crate and has damaged it trying to escape. She is an outdoor dog. She is a hound & she is unhappy if kept in the house away from all the wonderful scents for too long.She’d fling herself against the door constantly to go out. She does stay on her lead if people are outside with her but I can’t spend all day out there watching her. Otherwise she pulls out of the harness or collar. She’s worked out how to use her back paws to push it off. Either that or she has opposable thumbs and can reach in the middle of her back to unhook it.

We got her from the shelter & I suspect the reason her former owners couldn’t keep her was that they literally could. not. keep. her.

We have tried every make & model of dog collar and harness out there except the really pointy choke ones. She gets out of all of them. We tried a training class but unless we are out with her all the time it’s not that effective. Invisible fencing doesn’t phase her. We have spent 6 months and hundreds of dollars trying to keep her in the yard.

We just can’t.

We live in the country. There isn’t much traffic. There are working farms on all 4 sides of us. Many dogs just roam around here. We see them in our yard from time to time. Athena has had all her shots, has a very gentle disposition & is submissive to everyone, including the cats. She doesn’t even bother the trash cans on garbage day. So we decided to just accept that this is what she does. It’s not like we really had a choice – accept her roaming or return her to the shelter were the only options left.  She always comes home & she has a routine. We put her on her lead or in her kennel in the morning & she gets out 10-15 minutes later (or while I am at the gym) & takes off. She comes back about an hour or so later & lays around the yard. I put her on her lead then. Sometimes she stays on her lead, sometimes she gets out of it but lays near it. We go for a walk around lunch together & about 3 she takes off again for an hour or so before coming back.  Since she spends most of the time in the yard I don’t worry about it too much anymore.

We’re not entirely sure where she goes but we suspect she has some play dates. We do know she visits a dog a couple houses up the road. We found her there a few times. The family has a son who takes TKD with the boys. Apparently since Athena began visiting this summer the family’s dog has lost some weight and is much more playful and energetic than she used to be. They like having Athena come up during the day when they are working & the kids are at school. It gives their dog exercise. Havoc has seen her from the bus and one of the kids on it mentioned that she comes & plays with his dog sometimes.

Then the other night she came home with a note stuck in her collar

dog1

“Hey there. What’s your dog’s name. she keeps coming over to my house to play with my dog which is no problem. I was just wondering what I should call her.” then in a  different ink and handwriting ‘over   --->”

On the other side it said this

dog2

She’d come home collarless a few weeks earlier & we’d replaced the collar but forgot to get a new tag with her name & our phone #. So not only did someone finally get curious about her but she then went somewhere else where the people saw the note & had also seen her often enough to wonder about her name.

I am so embarrassed by this. At least she isn’t being a problem for people. Believe me, if I could get her to stay I would.

23 comments:

Jessica said...

LOLOL I loved this story!! Ive had a few dogs who came up here to our house who were friendly. One night there was a Great Dane who came up while we were unloading groceries. He was HUGE!!! And I was terrified. Seeing his size if he had been aggressive we would have been in trouble but he was so nice. Never saw him after that though. We also have some irresponsible owners who let their dogs run loose knowing they are aggressive dogs and then they get angry if you have to protect yourself against the dog. Your dog sounds like a sweetheart though!! Id love to have a visitor like that :-)

Lena said...

I LOVED this story too! Really adorable, I hope you scrap about it!!!

It'z A Neet Design said...

LMBO! This is sooo funny! I went through this with one of my dogs. Thank goodness no one is upset.

Lilach Oren said...

wow!! what a story!you got to scrap about it!!

Col said...

Oh my goodness, that's too funny! At least she's made some friends, and you know that others are looking out for her too :)

Amy said...

Oh my gosh what a great story! We have a dog in our neighborhood who has a route that he takes every day visiting everyone in the area, playing in the river...it's hilarious!

Maria Ontiveros said...

What makes the story so terrific is not the first note in the collar, but the second!!! Too funny.

We have a large fenced double-yard, and we couldn't figure out how our beagle was getting out. Our stay-at-home mom neighbor solved the mystery for us. Every day, around 10 am, our dog would sit staring at the bag gate. Shortly thereafter, a neighbor dog would come by and start bouncing against the fence until it opened! Then the two would go run and play in the fields together.

It's amazing what our furry friends can accomplish.

Rinda

Nikki said...

Embarrassing? Maybe a little...
Hilarious? A LOT!!!!
Love it and I agree with Lena, you should definitely scrap it!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That is fabulous!!!! You should totally stick a note of your own in the collar and respond to the people!!!!!

SciFi Dad said...

I don't think it's something to be embarrassed about. You're trying to keep her in; if you stop trying you send her back, which probably isn't as good for her as being pseudo-free.

Heather Greenwood said...

LOL, that's too funny!

humel said...

Oh, this is so cute!

When I was growing up we used to have a dog who came visit us for Sunday lunch every week without fail. With his owner's permission, we started giving him a portion of Sunday lunch each week :-)

Laura said...

Omgosh! That is SOOo cute!

Heather said...

what a fantastic story - nevermind that you have a wayward dog - your neighbours sound great!!! How brilliant that Athena & you can relax about her wanderings. I would definitely put an answering note on her collar to thank those lovely people who bothered to ask about her :)

Tabatha said...

That is such a cool story! I do hope you scrap it someday!

Too Many Hats said...

What a sweet note(S). Really, Athena must be the nicest dog and now she has friends all over :)

Lizzie said...

Well, it doesn't sound as if she's causing any problems. So long as there's something on her collar now with your phone number, I suppose you have to let her get on with it!
Perhaps it is a bit embarrassing, but you've done your best. The only other solutions are taking her back to the dog shelter, or finding her a home on a farm, where she can roam free for miles without going onto someone else's land. But if she is happy with your family, and you all love her, then maybe there isn't a problem.

Creative Junkie said...

Well, this is good timing, isn't it? Considering we're thinking of getting a dog ourselves soon.

LOVE THE NOTES. I mean, seriously - how nice were those notes? And how cute that she has playdates and her friends' moms like having her around.

Jackie said...

wow, cool story!

Brandi said...

Totally cracked me up! What a great story!

Lois H. said...

I think I have Athena's twin sister living at my house. Sydney cannot be contained. We have an invisible fence and the folks were out here last week to check on her collar because she keeps escaping. After replacing her transmitter and recalibrating it (and spending 20-30 minutes working with a trainer) Sydney just walked right through the field, shook her head as she got shocked and kept right on going. I know the feeling!

Lois H. said...

I think I have Athena's twin sister living at my house. Sydney cannot be contained. We have an invisible fence and the folks were out here last week to check on her collar because she keeps escaping. After replacing her transmitter and recalibrating it (and spending 20-30 minutes working with a trainer) Sydney just walked right through the field, shook her head as she got shocked and kept right on going. I know the feeling!

Col said...

Oh my goodness, that's too funny! At least she's made some friends, and you know that others are looking out for her too :)