Dog ownership is like a fairy-tale. Only instead of giants and ogres or princesses you have an eternal toddler who WILL NOT STOP CHEWING ON THE SQUEAKY THING which, granted, you yourself bought him. Also there aren't any swords. So really it's not like a fairy-tale at all.
Except that our neighbor dog today managed an incredible feat of daring and escape - right into our backyard.
I've mentioned before, although maybe not here, that Indy made a couple of trips into the neighbor's yard (and one, memorable, heart-attack inducing trip into our back neighbor's unfenced off-highway yard where I found him, I kid you not, smelling dandelions) until we figured out the spots where the previous homeowner's dog made holes Indy was small enough to wiggle under. At this point, he's mostly big enough that he can't get through the smaller holes and we've blocked up the big ones.
Our neighbors have three dogs; a roly-poly bark-machine Dachsund who would seriously be my favorite neighbor-dog ever if he wasn't so bite-y, a little fuzzy sort of ankle-height dog whose breed I am uncertain of, and a big furry black Lab who wants to be my friend SO BADLY. There is also another dog that lives two doors down who is the size of my left hand who comes over to hang out, but again, it is the size of my left hand. So usually it doesn't stay long.
So I was working on dinner, kind of humming something to myself. The dog was out back, and the cat WAS but because she is a cat, she only ever wants to be wherever she currently isn't. Which ended up being a huge stroke of luck, because she had just come inside.
I realized the dog-bark tenor of the little Dachsund had changed; this is usually our signal that Indy has gotten over there. I put on my best mad-owner face and stepped out my back door...
... to be greeted by a surprisingly huge, happy-to-see-me ball of black fur chasing Indy all over my backyard. Which he, by the way, was totally cool with. So they are rough-housing and all over the place. I stood there, just... staring at them, trying to decide what to do, when I see the neighbor lady over at her fence.
We looked at each other with nearly identical expressions of confusion and exasperation. The Dachsund, I would get. There are holes he could get through. Little teacup puppies? Sure. But the biggest dog they have?
"I'm sorry," The neighbor lady says, with an oddly plaintive note to her voice. "I don't know how she got over there."
We pause for a moment longer, watching the black dog briefly pin Indy, at which point they resume racing frantic circles around the yard.
The neighbor hands me the Lab's leash over the fence, and I manage to clip it on her. Indy, however, has other plans and is currently involved in trying to re-start the wrestling game he loved so much. The Black Lab, who is not enjoying the wrestling game when her leash is on her and I'm trying to hold her down, twisted her head right out of her slightly-loose collar and away they went.
The neighbor lady comes around to my carport, where the gate to my yard is, and we stared at each other once again.
"I really don't know how she did it," She says, if possible sounding even more plaintive. I reassured her that we would hold no ill-will, considering we have found our dog in her yard something like four times in two months when we first got him.
I managed to tear them away from each other, shove Indy inside the house (with the yowling, unhappy cat, who wanted to go outside. She should be grateful I didn't just toss her out there and leave her to fend for herself with the Black Lab of Friendliness), and headed back to try again.
This time, I got the collar back on her. The Black Lab, scenting defeat, calmed down and happily trotted over to her owner as if nothing had ever happened. They headed back to their place.
I aimlessly wander the fence, unable to really even see where she might have got under. Indy has been back out since she took her dogs in, and is terribly disappointed.
It occurred to me, as I stood there contemplating the chain-link fence between our yards, that she might have jumped over.
Further, it occurred to me Indy might have seen her jump over and therefore realized he could do that himself.
With a sense of horror-movie level foreboding, I headed back into the house to make dinner.
So dog ownership is a little bit like a fairy-tale after all, I guess, in that sometimes dogs have adventures, and all we can do is try not to get new white hairs out of the experience.
Still, I'm holding out for some treasure next time.