Monday, May 09, 2005

Forget What I Said About Pit Bulls Being Good Dogs

William Jasper Stone, our oversized American Pit Bull Terrier, is an escape artist. Any compromise of fence integrity will be exploited by him, and he will roam the neighborhood and make new friends. We have met a few of our neighbors thanks to Jasper's gregariousness, and country folks do not seem to find him as menacing as our neighbors did when we lived in Yonkers.

I was off Friday, and I let the dogs out at 6 am and went back to bed. My wife fielded a call from our kindly next door neighbor at about 6:30 am. Jasper had escaped, had knocked on her door, and had made himself at home in her house. He loves this woman, and she has been known to extend kindnesses to him as well as to us in the year and a half that we have lived in Stormville's outback. I retrieved him and looked for his escape route.

Jasper usually uses one of the culverts, either the one where a stream comes in or the one where it flows out into the water supply land (swamp) to the northeast of our property. The northeast escape route had been used. Jasper had learned to move the cinder blocks weighing down the fencing and to push under the fence through an unbelieveably small opening. I went to the hardware store and bought 10 metal fence posts that I then deployed in front of the escape route.

Around noon, I was working in the pond when I saw Jasper ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE. He had somehow pushed the posts aside and was headed into the swamp. He heeded not my calls, and by the time I got into the swamp he was nowhere to be found. I walked up and down the road calling him and alternately cursing his name and praying for his recovery (some of the neighbors are slack jawed yokels who might shoot a loose dog or toddler).

I returned home and got in the car with my wife, whereupon we patrolled the road for about a half mile. We turned around and about a quarter mile from home saw the beast running out of a neighbor's driveway followed by a very angry octogenarian woman. He jumped in our car, and the woman began berating us. Jasper had coated himself in a layer of muck from the swamp and had followed a FedEx delivery man to the woman's door. When she opened the door to get her package, Jasper ran in and made himself comfortable on her furniture. He would not leave until he heard our car.

No amount of apologizing and offering to clean her upholstery would placate her. To her, we represented every irresponsible dog owner who had ever offended her in any way. Her husband finally came out and gave us the eye-rolling-I-am-married-to-this-lunatic signal and sent us on our way, forgiven. Anger and embarrassment gave way to mirth in short order, and I laughed until I almost wet myself as soon as I was out of earshot of Jasper's new friend/victim.

In any event, he is on my s***list for now. We attached the posts with baling wire and are fairly sure that we have thwarted the escapist for now. We will, however, keep a close eye on him until we are more certain. The most unfortunate part of this is that it gives my wife more ammunition in her we-don't-want-a-dog-door-and-should-keep-paying-the-dog-walker rant. The black bear wandering around, combined with Jasper's escapism, means I will probably never win the dog door argument.

UPDATE 5/11: Jasper has been working on the escape route and managed to move the cinder blocks and to chew through part of the fencing. He made a break for it this morning. As God is my witness, I will thwart him if I have to build a wall.

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