Emergency maintenance, part 1: Prodigal dog

It was an exciting weekend around the house. On Sunday afternoon, Lisa and I got outside to do some long overdue garden cleanup. We hadn’t done much weeding, or anything else outside, since the dogs arrived. So we took our tools and let the dogs run around, secure in the knowledge that our yard was securely fenced.

Or so we thought. I was getting ready to help Lisa transplant some roses when I looked up and saw Joy, our 6.5 pound little girl puppy, run behind my compost bin. I didn’t think too much about it, but when I stood up a second later, she was gone. I couldn’t see her anywhere.

I walked the fence line calling her name, thinking she might have just scampered along under the bushes. Then I doubled back to where I had last seen her and my heart sank. Where the mound of ivy in the back corner of the yard had been flush against the ground, it was now pushed up and there were signs of a small creature having gone into the ivy. I now had visions of something horrid with poisonous teeth having bitten our dog as she stumbed about in the ivy. I continued to call her name, but with no avail.

We enlisted our next door neighbor, who was doing gardening as well, but he didn’t see her in his yard. I returned to the ivy again, and pulled back more of it until I got to the corner where our back fence met our neighbor’s. Or more precisely, didn’t. I could now see a four inch gap between the two fences, just big enough for a six pound dog to wriggle through.

At the same moment, our neighbor called from the yard behind his, “I found her!” She had gone through the gap into the yard diagonally opposite ours, which fortunately was also fenced, and was sitting puzzled listening to me call her name, as if (our neighbor said) she didn’t remember how she got there and couldn’t figure out how to get back. I held the ivy up again so I could see the gap in the fence and called her name, and this time she figured it out and came running back.

I picked her up and held her close. She seemed puzzled as to what all the fuss was about. I reunited her with Lisa and Jefferson and we all shuddered for a second in gratitude that the problem wasn’t worse. Then we took her inside for a good bath—she was filthy.

Oh, the emergency maintenance I mentioned? Sometime today or tomorrow, I’m ripping all that ivy out by the roots and putting a patch across the gap in that fence. No way I’m going through that again.