I was right about Seth’s chihuahua, Louise, not being able to keep a secret. My printer was still humming when she trotted to the back door and asked to go out. She ran straight to Dude and told him I wrote a story about her. Thankfully, I could honestly assure Dude he would be featured the following week.
Dude is a big affable fellow who loves attention. At 67 pounds he’s too heavy to sit in our laps, but he keeps hoping. Lately he’s been singing some lyrics from a song by Little Anthony and the Imperials, “I’m on the outside looking in. I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be left on the outside.” Even with two towering shade trees the hot Georgia weather has taken a toll, plus Dude is bothered considerably by the gnats. We gave him a high velocity fan which he lies in front of much of the day.
I’ve lost track of how many times Dude has climbed our fence. When he lived in Los Angeles, he barked too much to stay outside. He relished alerting sleeping neighbors to passing pedestrians and was especially enthusiastic about skateboarders. Living indoors spoiled him a tad, plus he still hasn’t figured out why Louise is the only one who made it inside. Dude is too big to join Louise, but I’m not sure we should tell him the truth. Telling him he can’t come in because of his size might hurt his feelings.
It took us a while to figure out Dude was climbing, not jumping, our four-foot chain link fence. He was cunning enough to stage his escapes when we weren’t looking, so we launched an undercover operation. After discreetly observing his technique, I addressed the problem by simply running two strands of orange baler twine across the top of the fence. But Dude got out before I finished tying the last knot.
My next strategy was to zip-tie six-foot sections of white PVC pipe to our black metal posts, then stretch two feet of orange plastic fencing above the chain link, creating an impenetrable six-foot barrier. I chose orange for the aesthetics, not because a giant roll was less than thirty dollars.
I also ran PVC pipes parallel through the fence corners to obstruct his favored escape routes, then I placed four ice chests on our open back porch to block his access there. Shortly after implementing these security measures that big dog was under our carport ringing the doorbell. He doesn’t run away from home; he just comes to the door and gives us a sad look.
There are plenty of online tips on how to keep a dog from climbing, but we didn’t want to shock him, crate him, or tie him to a cable. I believe we should avoid doing things to a dog we wouldn’t want done to ourselves. Fortunately, I found some advice suggesting the first step to stop a dog from climbing is to determine why the dog wants to get out. So, Dude and I have been having some honest conversations.
We had a backyard chat on July 4th and I gently explained why we feel it’s preferable not to have a giant dog living inside. I reminded Dude he has a lot to be thankful for, and I told him in confidence that Louise sometimes wishes she were a big dog like him. Then I told him what the Apostle Paul said about learning to be content in all circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)
Dude listened intently and seemed grateful for our efforts to make him comfortable in his outside quarters. When I was about to leave and go back inside the thermometer was showing 95 degrees. “I’m sorry it’s so hot Dude, but we don’t control the weather,” I said.
As I was walking toward the gate, he began crooning an especially soulful rendition of Little Anthony’s song. I turned to him, wondering silently if our talk had been for naught. That’s when he shared what’s bothering him the most. He said, “It’s not really the heat that’s so bad. It’s the humidity.”
Jane says the orange plastic has to come down. That’s why we’re ordering a cooling fan, whatever that is, hoping Dude will be content and stop climbing the fence. If the cooling fan doesn’t work, I guess a window unit is our next step, or maybe a dehumidifier and cherry snow cones for snacks.
The things we do for our dogs sometimes seem a bit crazy. But the things we do for love, well that’s a whole different matter. That’s all I can write for now. Dude is ringing the doorbell again.