It all began sometime around dusk yesterday afternoon. As we left for church, my instincts were telling me to kennel the dogs in the garage; the other conscience (my husband) was telling me to leave them in the outside play yard. That is where they were, their outside pen. That was not where they were when we got back.
I have a little Garden House out back with a little white picket fence yard. The yard also serves as a play yard (pen) for our dogs. No dog has ever attempted a jailbreak – until now.
In order to acclimate Ryka (my three year old German Shepherd) to our yard and her new surroundings, I would put her in the play yard so she could spend longer and longer amounts of time outside alone and semi-supervised until I felt I could trust her.
Once I thought Calypso was big enough in size (she is 8 weeks old) to put in the play yard to have outside time, we divided the yard in half. Calypso is growing and getting very active so she has been enjoying being outside all day long the last few days.
The two dogs love playing through the fence slats and have been happy and content with the limited interaction, or so we thought (that is what we get for thinking like humans!)
Lately, Ryka has been sitting on the stoop to the Garden House and playing with Calypso even when her gate is open and she is free to explore the big yard. She has developed quite a mothering instinct towards Calypso. She hopped over the little makeshift wall once (Calypso was not in her side), so we raised it a little higher (obviously not high enough.)
My husband (who was an Accident Re-constructionist for the LSP) came up with the following scenario of what transpired last night. Last night was the first time we left them outside when we left the house and this was Calypso’s first time outside at dusk. He thinks that Calypso was probably calling to Ryka (in doggy talk – my husband’s words – yeah, I am still processing that one) and Ryka, wanting to mother her, chewed through two of the barriers (after first attempting to dig under) to jump over into Calypso’s side.
Then, he thinks there was some sort of activity next door that got Ryka excited, and she hopped up on the back gate (paws up like dogs do) and was surprised when the action caused two slats to break loose (I learned that treated wood rusts nails – the entire fence is getting an overhaul today.) Jeffery thinks that Calypso saw the opportunity (freedom at last, freedom at last) and made the initial escape with Ryka following to protect and watch over her (which was what was going on when we found them.)
We arrived home from church (thank goodness they were not waiting at the front gate) and drove down the driveway. I still do not know exactly where they were and the angels must have kept them from crossing in front of the car.
As I got out of the car and was walking towards the little yard, I started talking to Calypso (before the break out was discovered.) I walked around to her gate and looking in to the darkened pen did not detect any sign of movement. Then, I heard a jingle (thank goodness for the rabies tags on dog collars) and looked up to see Ryka and Calypso walking across the driveway! I screamed (come on – you should know me by now!) Then, when I looked around, trying to process what was playing out in front of my eyes, I noticed that two slats were missing from the back gate and on the ground. That was the exact moment I learned about treated wood rusting out nails.
I do not know which was racing faster – my heart or my mind! Ryka and Calypso had been in the big yard together; and Ryka was taking care of the munchkin, and she was still alive (Ryka plays a little too rough yet to be unsupervised with Calypso.) Calypso was alive! And, perfectly fine! That phrase kept playing loudly in my mind for about sixty seconds while I desperately tried to process what was going on.
Ryka’s behavior was indicative of someone who knew something was not quite right, and she had done something a little wrong. She actually went into her kennel when we raised the garage door. She would not look at me for a while. She kept her head down and I had not even fussed her. I had to coax her out of her kennel to eat, and then I spent a little time with her so she would relax.
On the other hand, Calypso was perfectly fine to be free and could not understand why she had to go into her kennel.
I sat down to dinner a short time later and did not know if I should be laughing or crying. The scene kept playing in mind like a cartoon. Two dogs breaking out of the pen and yelping, “Free at last! Free at last!”
The moral of this story is I do not know what to do. I am still freaking out. One thing is certain, and that is, every fence board is getting re-nailed today. We’ll start with that and see what happens (hopefully nothing!) Oh! I will be listening to my own instincts from now on.
And, so ends the story of the jailbreak. I think I will go and check on the jailbirds. They are outside, and today is the day they will start having supervised play dates with each other.