Baby Bear’s Newest Trick: Spitting Spaghetti! This is what happens when you don’t keep Silly String in the house. If only the red sauce splattered all over the walls didn’t make my dining room look like a crime scene.
I told Mr. Lucky to put the dogs out while we ate dinner. I don’t know why he doesn’t do that as a matter of routine, since he spends half the meal ordering the dogs to get away from the table.
As soon as he was done eating, he left to go to work. I cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher before letting the dogs back inside. I opened the back door, and they were nowhere to be seen.
They’d escaped. The entire back yard is fenced in, yet I couldn’t find a hole anywhere, unless they’d secretly been working on one beneath the air conditioning unit a la The Great Escape.
I whistled, though I’m not a very good whistler. I yelled. I cursed. Not a single dog came running back. I was going to have to go out and chase them down before some surly neighbor yelled at me for letting the dogs run loose, as they (the dogs as well as the surly neighbors) are wont to do if Mr. Lucky isn’t at home.
I had to chase down three dogs, and I had to do it on foot. Mr. Lucky recently sold his playboyish Buick Riviera, because it requires premium unleaded and in recent months has done nothing but sit in the driveway looking snazzy. After some discussion we decided we could get by with one car.
The dogs obviously listened in, took note, and hatched their fiendish plot.
Only I couldn’t chase down three dogs and a boy who always runs in the opposite direction from where I want to go, casting off every article of clothing he wears as he makes his mad dash to the nearest dangerous place. So I did something I really don’t like doing—I apologized to Baby Bear, assured him it was for his own safety and my sanity, and locked him in his room.
As I pulled the dog’s leashes out of the hall closet, already the house was shaking from Baby Bear’s pounding thumps of protest. Certainly I could have left him loose in the house and just locked the front door, but then the ensuing damage would be more widespread, and the possible injury to himself more serious. At least this way any disaster would be contained.
We’re in Florida and it’s ninety degrees shortly before 6 pm. I’m not dressed to be seen outside the house, at least not by my standards. I haven’t even had the chance to check my teeth to make sure there are no bits of basil or parsley stuck in the gumline. I have to remember not to smile if I meet anyone.
At least I got some much needed exercise. I swiftly walked all around the block in search of those dogs, but didn’t see them anywhere. I cut through several yards, and crashed a couple of backyard barbecues and pool parties. On my way back to my house, I finally spotted them in the next door neighbor’s yard—the first place I’d checked, as the neighbor (who wasn’t home at the time) keeps a yappy little dog chained up in their lanai.
I rounded up the dogs, put them on the leashes and took them home, where Baby Bear had kicked a new hole in the drywall in his room—and this only six hours after a parent-teacher conference at his school, where Mr. Lucky asserted that Bear hadn't damaged any walls in quite a long time.
He forgot to knock on wood when he said that.
At 8:30 pm that same evening, the dogs were agitating to go back into the yard, presumably to do doggie business. I let them out and went to check on Bear. I swear not more than two minutes went by before I went into the backyard to discover all three dogs were gone again.
Lock up the boy. Grab the leashes. Venture into the neighborhood as dusk is falling. I found two dogs. The other returned on his own a half hour later. I didn’t let them out again until Mr. Lucky came home, and determined that they’d dug a new hole under the fence.
“How could they have dug a hole in less than two minutes?” I asked. “I swear they were out there less than two minutes when they escaped.”
“I guess they’ve been working on it for some time,” he replied. Just like in the movie.
“But if it isn’t under the A/C unit, then why didn’t I see it anywhere at the 6 pm breakout?”
Mr. Lucky couldn’t answer that. But can three beagles dig an escape route that quickly?