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Lacy's Great Escape

I used to trust my dog.

She had a fancy collar, and a matching door. It was a doggy door, but not one of those flaps that a Home Along burglar could wriggle through. This was a pane of glass that sat next to the sliding door onto the back porch. If Lacy got near, the door would WHIIIIR and slide open, letting her slip through. When she wasn’t around, it made the human-door about 2 feet narrower.

This meant Lacy could let herself out into the back lawn whenever she wanted. Needed a midnight bathroom break? WHIIIIR, there she goes. Wanted to lay out on the warm deck like a sphinx under the noonday sun? WHIIIIR, that’s a happy dog.

This is a story about how Lacy lost that privilege.

The first call

I used to work about thirty minute from my home. Part of the joy of this door is that I didn’t have to race home to let my puppy go potty. One day, in the early months of 2020, I got a phone call. I didn’t answer, but checked the voice mail. It was from the milk man(!). He said he found my dog wandering the street, and picked her up. “I gave her a milk bone” he said, because of course he did, “and now she’s riding along in my truck. Can you come get her?”

As I was processing this, my wife called.

“Hey, I just got a call from the mail main, he has our dog.”

“Oh, the mail man! That makes more sense, I just got a voice mail, and I thought it was the milk man.”

“I heard ‘milk man’ too,” said my wife, “But surely we don’t have a milk man”. This was a reasonable conclusion, given that this place takes place in 2020 and not 1920, but we were wrong. And that’s how we learned we had a milk man.

My wife gathered the dog (who was pleased as punch to have gotten a car ride AND a treat), and that night we went to Lowes to get some cinderblocks. “How do you suppose she got out?” I foolishly asked my wife.

“Probably through this big whole someone dug under the fence!”

So, cinderblocks. We piled them up alongside her escape route, as well as the entire west side of the fence. No digging for her! The other sides of the fence didn’t go to freedom, but to our neighbors yards. We figured we were safe on that front. We were fools.

The second escape

The next day I got a call again. It was from one of my neighbors. “Hey there, I found Lacy walking out in the street, can you come get her?” Yeah, no problem. My wife took that call, and once again came home to a very happy dog who just wanted to be less bored during the day.

We went back to Lowes and surveyed her new escape path: she’d dug out the NORTH side of the yard, and then further dug under a neighbor’s fence to taste freedom. She had a taste for the outside world, and it could not be quenched.

So, more cinderblocks. We stacked ‘em up around the entire perimeter of the yard. No way she’s getting out now, we said. It was fully dark by the time we finished, but my wife and I reveled in the sweat, in the labor, and in the knowledge that Lacy was now contained for good.

We were fools.

The final escape

The next day was quiet. I settled into a comfortable routine, confident in the false knowledge that my dog was confined to the backyard and nowhere else.

And then came Thursday. I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. The voice on the other end is a child’s.

“Do you know Lacy?”

“Yeah, we go way back. What’s up?”

“I found her in the street.”

“Oh no, is she okay?”

“Yeah, she’s at my house.”

“Okay, great, I’ll come get her. Where do you live?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“….okay, fair enough. Lacy lives in the gray house by the willow tree. Can you see that?”

“That’s right across the street.”

“Great! I’ll be there in… half an hour. Is that okay?”

“You’re the grownup!” I could hear the shrug on the other line.

Fair enough.

I came home to find Lacy sprawled on her back with three children between the ages of 8 and 12 rubbing her belly and telling her how great she is. I took her home and found that she had used her head to MOVE THE CINDERBLOCKS and dig a path out.

Lacy lost her yard access that day, but don’t despair. Covid hit shortly after, and Lacy got to enjoy her people being home all day, and letting her out whenever she wanted.

Now, she’s old enough that even when her people are here, she prefers a nice nap to an exciting adventure, but we make sure to give her belly rubs and remind her how great she is all the same.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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