August 6th, 2008
We moved to the country to have space to think and breathe and especially to have the privacy to live our lives. What we got was 100 times more land than we have had before. For some reason, that’s just not enough for the Dog. Francie is a young Great Pyrenees pup with a gleam in her eye and wanderlust in her soul. Although we bought her and her twin sister Freckles to keep an eye out for predators endangering the sheep, she’s spent more of her time with an eye on the outside world. She’s an escape artist. No barrier that we contrive is up to the task of keeping her on our side of the fence.
Her jail breaks are an incremental process. First, she finds a way out. We put her back and watch carefully for the next scheduled escape, about 3 minutes later. Once we observe her M.O., we move in with enough planks and ropes and wire to secure the border with Mexico. Sometimes, that buys a night of peace. Just as often, Francie regards it as a dare to find a new point of egress.
The other night, she found the presence of a horse in the next field over (about a quarter mile away) to be highly offensive. She wormed her way out of our field and spent the next hour or so barking at the horse. A few planks and ropes and wire later, she was back in. Twenty-four hours later, she was out the entire evening. This time, she sprung her sister as well. When we awoke at 7, the two of them were camped out on the back patio. Argh!
My sense is that Francie’s wandering time is nearly at an end. Yesterday, she escaped by jumping over a fence. But when she decided to return via the same path, she snagged herself on the fence and was briefly dangling upside down, her leg caught on the wiring. This opened up a gash on her leg, which led to a visit to the vet. More importantly, it got us thinking seriously about building an escape-proof kennel and run.
It’s ironic that the more Francie enjoys the very qualities that brought us to the country in the first place, the more restrictions we place on her. Perhaps as she matures, she’ll mellow and learn to appreciate the finer points of our own pasture, rather than harassing livestock on adjoining properties. As we sat on the patio last night after dinner and looked out over the field on a rare cool evening in rural Texas, it was hard for us to imagine wanting to wander anywhere else.