Hound Dog

Halley the black and tan hound dog is a new resident of the neighborhood. She's about a year old. Very unruly. But sweet, at least toward other dogs. And me.

Kinda dumb, I'm afraid.

She was a stray in a neighboring town, taken in by neighbors. She quickly started wandering the neighborhood, getting into trouble, so they've installed invisible fencing.

It works. Most of the time. But not always.

Halley can bay like only a big hound dog can when the girls and I walk by her house. When we get close enough to say hello, she wiggles and wags and begs to play. Sometimes we go into her yard to play so that she doesn't encounter her invisible fence.

About two weeks ago, as the girls and I walked by on one of our "patrolling-the-neighborhood" walks (evening strolls - the girls love these walks), Halley suddenly appeared behind us, running fast and gleefully, trying to get us to chase and play. I figured her invisible fence collar wasn't working. I tried to get her to stay in her yard, but she was deaf to my pleas. I knew she'd be safe with us so we kept walking. Halley followed us on an out-back route of about a mile, zigging and zagging in front and behind us, smelling who knows what as she jumped over snow berms to float on the crusted snow in the fields. She was having a ball, free to run, taunting the girls.

There was a power outage at this time, and I guess that's why her fencing wasn't keeping her in. Plus, her people weren't home, and I think she was bored and lonely. I tried to get her to stay at her house as we finished our walk and headed home, but she insisted on coming home with us. The neighbors arrived just as I approached my own driveway, and picked her up.

Two days ago, I returned from another patrolling-the-neighborhood walk with the girls. We went up into the forest, and came back to the house at dusk. As usual, I released the girls from their leash and coupler at the base of my driveway so they could race each other up to the house. They did, but I noticed that Meadow kept running past Maia right up to the garage door - then I noticed a black shape moving, right near the fence nearest the garage. At first I thought "Oh no - coyote!" but neither the black shape nor Meadow seemed upset.

Ah. Halley.

She was excited to see us. I have no idea how long she'd been there, looking for the girls. She quickly started irritating the girls. She's way too rambunctious and very pushy the longer she plays; Meadow starts growling at her, and Maia tries to avoid her but Halley doesn't get the message and just keeps coming. I urged her to "Go home!"

No response, other than to continue bothering the girls.

Rather than have a full-blown dispute on my hands, with Halley getting the short end of it, I put the girls in the yard and left Halley outside.

It took her about two minutes to find a spot on the snow where she could easily jump over the small portion of fence still sticking above snow line.

She was so excited! "I'm the yard, with the girls! Playtime!"

I called the neighbors and left a voice mail, telling them where they could find Halley.

I soon made the girls come inside the house - while grabbing Halley by the collar to prevent her from also coming in - because Halley was again getting too aggressive in her play. She's strong! She and I had quite a struggle. Then I tried to get her out of the yard by taking her through the garage (the fence gates don't work with all the snow on the ground) but every time I'd chase her out into the driveway, she'd dash back into the garage and around my car as I tried to close the electric garage door. Aarrggghh!

I'm sure to a casual observer this little scene would have been hilarious. Regular Keystone Cops.

Now I'm getting as annoyed as the girls! And pissed.

I finally started charging Halley as she ran through my garage and around my car, stomping my feet and clapping my hands, yelling "Go home!" and making enough noise to startle her out of the garage and down the driveway. She ran home.

Whew. I let the girls back out in the yard.

Two minutes later, Halley was back, just outside the fence, paws up on the top, whimpering in her odd hound dog throat-buzzing way, trying to decide if she could jump back in from this spot. Deciding against it, she started digging through the snow at the base, then sticking her head through the mesh of the fence wire siding.... As I said, she's not too bright.

But she's one very determined dog.

The photo - taken after dark, with the flash reflection in her eyes - is Halley, trying to figure out how to get back into the yard. Just after I snapped this, I heard her people calling her name, and she ran home as fast as she could.

I've never been so happy to see the butt end of a dog, fast disappearing across my snowy field.