It was a rough night in the Seabolt household, as our two dogs – a German shepherd (Ace) and his partner in crime, a relatively inert ottoman of a dog (Jagger) – decided at around 4 a.m. that our family needed protecting from the imminent danger posed by our cat.
This was achieved by mounting a full frontal barking attack clearly meant to scare the cat clear through all nine lives simultaneously.
The cat, for the record, was unimpressed.
Cat burglar. Granted, the sound of the cat pouncing from the furniture to the floor was probably jarring.
And I suppose there was at least a remote possibility that it could have been a burglar who was trying to break into the house via the back of the sofa.
Yet, I should also point out that these were the same two dogs who a day earlier had managed to sleep through several minutes of knocking by the meter man, who could probably have simply opened the door and stepped over them on his way in to kill us.
The move. Obviously, the solution to having two large, unruly dogs caterwauling in our house was to move the party outside. There are far greater opportunities in destroying the great outdoors anyway.
Surely there is still some life left in whatever porch furnishings and yard decor the goats haven’t ingested already.
Fenced. In the usual spirit of wildly overdoing things, we can’t just fence in a nice normal amount of space.
Oh no, “we” (this would be my husband) have to fence in something like 6 acres.
We ordered a roll of electric wire roughly the size of a Volkswagen and proceeded to pull, drag, and curse it into place.
What we were creating was one of those invisible boundaries. The “fence” is not visible to the naked eye, but we have every reason to believe that it is in there (down there?) somewhere.
That’s what it said on the box, anyway.
It allegedly transmits a little electronic signal that will deliver a harmless, but notable, electric shock via the coordinating collar.
Thus “corrected,” our dogs in no time would exhibit the same fine behavior of that lovely golden retriever featured in the training video that accompanied our system.
That dog was not only well secured in his invisible boundary, but we were led to believe that he did a little yard work to wile away the confinement. This is what I’m talking about!
Who’s who. We’ll show these incorrigible law breakers who’s who around here! Well, OK, we’d show them as soon as we found them.
They were somewhere outside the boundary, which is where they kept ending up.
It turns out we were harboring two rampant fugitives with the escape skills of Houdini.
Our only clue that the system was working – somewhat – was the dogs’ insistence on not passing back over it to return home after a romp away.
Instead, they would sit – steadfast – and stare in disbelief if we tried to call them back across the fence.
“Me, be shocked?” they seemed to say; although that reluctance was never evident when they were on their way out of the yard.
It is so demoralizing to realize you have just spent vast chunks of money to keep your pets out of your yard.
Working, finally. Nonetheless, having tinkered with the settings (and bigger and better collars which, by sheer size and weight alone, should slow any dog down) we think it’s working.
That or they’ve gotten very good at slipping past the boundaries and returning undetected. That’s not entirely impossible.
I alternate between foot-stamping tantrums of “you dumb dogs!” and suspecting that they are actually the James Bonds of dog-dom and probably part of an international spy ring of some sort, with our home simply the base of a vast, undercover operation.
For all I know, Jagger is the new head of Homeland Security and Ace works for the CIA.
This situation notwithstanding, I have, for the most part, come to enjoy my two bad dogs. They are sweet, loving, adorable, and very generous.
Why, they never tear up the porch furniture without being sure to scatter the pieces all over the front lawn for all to enjoy.
If that’s not thoughtful, I don’t know what is.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is pleased to harbor two canine fugitives. She welcomes comment c/o firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460 and http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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