Bert was a digger and he dug bunkers that could have housed a battalion. I never quite understood why Bert dug like he did but when I moved from the first place we lived it took half a truck load of dirt to fill in his caverns. The dog never did anything half ass. He was intense and strong when he was a young dog and the center of the earth attracted him like nothing else.
Sam, Sam, The Happy Hound, dug trenches. His mode was to drop down into the yard about eighteen inches and then head in one direction and keep going until he got tired or the earth split into two pieces. Sam eventually would get a mole or two, and maybe even an Egyptian tomb, but he what he did looked all the world like someone was trying to bury pipe or conduit.
Lucas was never that serious of a digger, but he was a large animal so when he did dig it was impressive as hell. Tipping the scales at one hundred ten pounds, Lucas was a lot of dog. Bert and Sam never got any heavier than seventy-five apiece, and honestly, that’s a lot of dog, too, but Lucas was massive and when he did anything it was done in a big way.
When Lucas died that left me with two smaller dogs, with Lilith pushing maybe fifty pounds and Tyger ten pounds lighter. Neither of them were diggers and neither of them thought very much of the outside world. Lucas never got out, Lilith has ventured away just once, and Tyger Linn has seen the outside world before and she’ll stay put, thank you very much, there is food on this side of the fence and goddam little on the other worth fighting for. Tyger Linn doesn’t think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. She thinks it’s a cruel and dangerous place. Tyger Linn is right.
So Tuesday I got home to discover that Greyson Charlotte and Marco Ladakh had dug their way to freedom and they were waiting for me when I got home. Worse, Thursday they did it again and this time Lilith came out with them. I figure there was someone or something that attracted their attention and they decided to dig under the fence.
The real problem is that I’ve never had a digger before, in the sense that my security system is not set up for diggers. I have two hotwires, one that runs along the top of the fence and another about belly high to a seventy-five pound dog. The Cousins merely dig below the height of the lower wire and they don’t get buzzed by it. It’s a low level type charger to begin with which is meant to startle the dogs not actually burn them. The Cousins have always shown a great deal of fear for the hot wire. It is time to reintroduce them to this fear at another level, about a foot lower, actually, and a foot away from the fence.
I went to Lowe’s and bought ten plastic fence posts and attached an insulator each one that I used. It turns out I only needed seven of them, but I did have to do some landscaping to get rid of some of the vegetation that is lower to the ground. This is going to be a maintenance problem but hopefully getting bit a few times will make them think the wire is hot even when it isn’t, or better yet, the one true owner of the dog, my older sister, will find a perfect house with a perfect backyard, and I can start helping dig proof their permanent home. But right now I have Cousin Canines who are Digger Dogs.
The trick is to get it far enough off the ground so the wire won’t get ground every time a twig falls on it, yet high enough off the ground the Cousins can’t dig without touching it. It also has to be far enough away from the fence so it’s impossible to dig without touching yet not so close they’ll be able to dig under the hot wire and the fence.
A friend of mine has had Digger, Jumpers, Climbers, Leapers, Bulldozer Dogs, which are those dogs that through sheer brute force blast their way through obstacles, and at least one capable of teleportation. In the last twenty years or so we’ve slowly but surely transformed her backyard into something that Alcatraz can look at and say, “Naw man, come on, that’s too much” but one of her dogs bit through a sheet of roofing tin during a thunderstorm.
There’s a lot of debate as to how much wild is left in dogs from their days of digging burrows to live in and hunting wild animals and that debate is going to keep going on long after I’m gone. But when I saw those teeth marks all the way through that piece of metal I realized that if a sixty pound Lab mix can do that then a dog a quarter larger than that is going to be packing some very serious heat. Yeah, yeah, it depends on the breed but don’t make the mistake of thinking a big black goofy lab mix tipping over one hundred ten pounds can’t tear your fucking face off.
Don’t ever forget that.
That’s one reason this has to work; I can’t let the better part of three hundred pounds of dog just run free and hope good things will happen because Tyger Linn is right about what lies on the other side of that fence. It’s a cold and cruel world where a dog totally within its right to defend its owner against Cousin Canines trespassing might trigger a very bad incident where no one will leave the room happy.
So now I’m back in the fencing business and I think this will work. Plan B is to add another strand of wire, which I already have, and maybe a hotter charger.
I am open to suggestion.