ELLIE ON THE LOOSE
When will dog owners ever understand that you can't allow free access to your backyard for garden or pool service guys? They will invariably leave the gate open for your dogs to escape, and escape they do, as in the case of Ellie the Basset Hound. I was sitting out in our front garden yesterday morning when Peaches and Beau alerted me to her presence. She was across the street making friends with our mailman, Ray, who loves our bassets and gives them treats every day. Of course, there was no ID, so no one knew who the pretty little basset belonged to, but passing neighbors thought she must be ours since they've seen Peaches and Beau in our front yard. Unlike Peaches, Ellie was young and still svelte. Knowing that bassets have zero road sense, I was terrified she might try to cross the street to see our dogs. She was disoriented and trying to figure out where to go, so the worst could have happened right before my eyes. That would have killed me! Too many people come racing around the curve on our street, which has become a shortcut to other neighborhoods. We're still waiting for the city to put in a bump to slow speeders before our dogs, us, or our elderly neighbor in his motorized cart get taken out one day. It will happen only after someone comes to harm. In some neighborhoods, there'd be flashing lights for such a dangerous curve.
Sure enough, Ellie ran over to our side of the road, but my husband managed to leash her before she decided to run back to the other side. About that time, here comes the garden guy who let her out. Most don't even bother to find dogs they've released, so I was glad he came to get her so we'd know where she lived. Ellie was escorted safely back to her yard, where a Malamute and golden retriever awaited her return. Interesting that the basset was the only one of the three to leave her yard, which is pretty common for the breed that follows its nose so mindlessly. Three dogs is too many if you aren't responsible enough to ensure the safety of even one dog.
If you care enough about your pets, you should make sure you keep them inside the house on the day the yard guys come, or you don't have yard guys. We have a pool and a garden, but we won't have those services as long as we keep dogs and are still able to do the work ourselves. Too many dogs come to harm in the streets or end up in shelters, and careless owners who don't take necessary precautions for yard and pool service leaving gates open are a common cause. Also, please make sure that your dog has ID on at all times. It's a quick ticket home to safety.