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judy
18th August 2006, 04:28 PM
Tonight it happened again, for the second time. Zack disappeared again. it was 1am and i was sleepy and about to go to bed, writing an email, and i became aware that zack was not around. he is just always around and almost always active, busy, easy to be aware of his presence, and when he's outside in the back, i'm aware of his absence, but it's always very brief, he doesn't hang out in the yard, he goes out to pee and poo, and to jump up as high as he can against the fence, and to bark. so when he's outside he's usually active too. and i knew it was too quiet for too long tonight, too long being 5 minutes at most.

i got up and walked to the sliding door, knowing he wasn't in the living room where i was, he is too busy, if i walk, he gets up and comes with me. I called him, which i never need to do when he's outside. No Zack. No sound. This time, i didn't panic right away. I decided to systematically look everywhere, because last time, i looked everywhere and there is no way out. so i knew i had to find him if i kept looking long enough. i had just finished looking inside the house and was going to go outside and systematically cover every inch of the backyard, grumbling a bit about being kept up so late, and also feeling the fear rising inside that he wouldn't be there, that he really had found some secret way out that i would not be able to find, and he would be really gone this time. I was preparing to go outside in the back, put on shoes, got the flashllight and picked up his leash in case my search led me out to the front, beyond the backyard, out in 'the world.' and as if he heard the sound of his leash, he came running up to me, happy and excited like we were going for a walk. This time, unlike the last time, there was some telltale dirt on him, showing that he had been someplace dirty, not his usual backyard trip.

Also he was acting kind of weird, he was excited and he wouldn't come near me to let me pet him, or hug him, he wanted me to play ball or play rough with him, he was nudging his ball at me, and was growling in a playful way but more intense than usual. He's never done this in quite this way before. I wanted to get a hold of him so i could look at the dirt on him, to see if it held any clues but he wanted to play in a fighting kind of way. I would not play with him, i went outside, he came outside, still jumping around in a playfully aggressive way, jumping toward me, then jumping away as if to say "come on, let's fight," and "you can't catch me, haha," it was like he had been on some kind of adventure that had pumped up his testoserone, whatever's left of it, or which made him feel brave and strong, and made him want to go alpha on me or something.

(incidentally, later i discovered he had peed on the bathroom rug. i am seeing this not as an 'accident,' but as deliberate marking at this point).

i was going to just go to bed and search for where he could've been tomorrow, but he kind of gave it away, we were in the backyard and he started looking in the direction of the tool shed, it's one of those molded plastic things, taller than me, with two doors on it and shelves and a padlock, and i have it up on flat gray bricks, about three inches thick. Next to the shed are some plastic shelves that have stuff on them and some scraps of wood, it's an area where i looked for him when he was missing before and saw no sign of him, between the woodshed and the shelves that are up against the fence. Before i saw him looking in this direction, i saw another clue--when i first got him, he went behind the shed, it's a very narrow space but because the ground isn't flat (i'm on a hill) the shed doesn't fit snugly against the house, there's a few inches and when i first got him, he went behind there and got stuck, and i got him out and blocked it off. When he disappeared the other day, i put a plank of wood there to block off the space, even though he's too big to ge back in there now, but that plank was moved over tonight. I wasn't sure about it, it's only a few inches, did i leave it like that before?, but then i saw him looking at a certain place on the ground in front of the shed, and then i could see he had dug under the shed on the side that is toward where the shelves and wood scraps are.

Earlier, i had seen a small flat pile of dirt on the edge of the gray bricks that i have in front of the shed that are there to keep mud from going inside the shed when it rains, there was a pile of loose sandy dirty, and i absentmindedly thought "i'll have to sweep that," and didn't really focus in on it, it was an annoying mess and i didn't think about how it got there. :lol:

so now i know where he was. The question remaining is, ok, i can see him being in a hole for a few minutes, but he is too busy to stay in a little space like that for almost an hour like the other time, and not making any sound. Was he stuck? was it too narrow, he couldn't turn around when i called him and he just sat there not knowing how to get out? Or, was he finding something in there that was satisfying him, like a bone to chew on or a stick, some old thing that died in there, something that was engrossing him for 45 minutes? Tonight it was only for 10 or 15 minutes that i couldn't find him....

Tomorrow i'll have to figure out how to block it off so that he can't dig there anymore. It could be dangerous, something might collapse on him and he'd suffocate. but more worrying is the idea that he has discovered digging and might find the one place where he might be able to dig out. or another place i'm not aware of. i will be getting bricks to cover the dirt where he might dig. in this case, he has dug underneath the bricks. He has never dug before. the little monster. :yikes he's such a...dog.

what next?

Alison_Leighfield
18th August 2006, 04:39 PM
Phew, at least you now know where he was, what a little monkey!

Looks like you will be filling the hole is soon then!

Bless him, give him a hug from us! :lotsaluv:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

matties mum
18th August 2006, 05:14 PM
:) Good at lest you now known were he went thank heavens :jmp: :mexwav: :lol: Aileen

Karlin
18th August 2006, 06:25 PM
You really, really need to be sure he has only been going in a hole by the shed and is not getting out under the fence or some other way and then roaming.

Some cavaliers are excellent digggers and escapers and many breeders sink concrete or some sort of fencing, or bricks, down for a foot or two below fence lines because they know a fence that runs along the surface is not secure against such dogs. Some can scale a fence under 5 feet or so as well. If he is digging along fence lines or around foundations consider this a warning sign that he is capable of tunnelling out.

I would not allow him out into the yard unsupervised at all until you are 500% certain that he cannot get out. It might be better just to take the approach that he is allowed out when you are there to watch him, anyway -- it is certainly safer in a number of ways, from concerns about theft to acidents to escape artists.

I'm glad you have him back as it must have been very worrying.

Linda
18th August 2006, 06:56 PM
:yikes :yikes :yikes :yikes

Judy

I would of been beside myself, panicking, screaming.

I am so glad you found him, but please please make sure it is permanantley blocked off.

What a little devil he is, and bye the way I love how you tell a story.

Are you a writer by any chance. :D :D :D :D :D

Be careful, and keep a watch on him.
I agree with Karlin I would go out at all times with him.

Have a safe wkd, I am heading north and I sure don't want to be coming home reading anything heartbreaking. :hug:

emsley
18th August 2006, 08:00 PM
Oh, I am so glad you found him and he is safe.
My mouth was wide open as I read your posting, and I was never so glad to read a happy ending :flwr:

judy
19th August 2006, 07:38 AM
You really, really need to be sure he has only been going in a hole by the shed and is not getting out under the fence or some other way and then roaming.

yes, indeed. the last time he disappeared, it was for almost an hour, a truly horrible experience. I looked and looked and there was simply no way out of the apartment or the yard, at least not that i could find--really there was no way out. Yet he was gone.

There 's no way out for him right now, i'm as certain as i can possibly be, having checked the perimeter. But there is a danger that eventually he would figure out how to dig under the gate. The gate is low to the ground and the ground in that area is hard, but ground is ground, it's not concrete, it could theoretically be dug by someone who really wanted to badly enough. such as a certain puppy dog who shall remain nameless.

Even before the first disappearance, i had talked with a gardener the management had sent over and i showed him the gate area where right now, i have heavy pottery blocking the bottom so that the existence of any gap between the bottom of the gate and the ground is obscured as well as physically blocked. The gardener said he could fix it so that it would be safe from digging.


Some cavaliers are excellent digggers and escapers and many breeders sink concrete or some sort of fencing, or bricks, down for a foot or two below fence lines because they know a fence that runs along the surface is not secure against such dogs.

Fortunately my fences on both sides are set in concrete that goes down at least two feet in places. Digging under the fences and the back wall is impossible. The gate is the only vulnerability. i will have concrete or bricks laid there.


Some can scale a fence under 5 feet or so as well. If he is digging along fence lines or around foundations consider this a warning sign that he is capable of tunnelling out.

He's not, so far. He has just tunnelled under the tool shed. I wonder what the attraction to doing that is. The shed is up on flat bricks to make it more level and stable because the ground under it is irregular and bumpy, so there is a little space under the shed, a couple of inches or less, and he dug a tunnel so that he could go from the front of the shed to the back where it's against the wall, a distance of about 3 feet, and i guess it's thrilling to be under the shed or behind it?....when i was a kid, 8 or 9, i dug two deep holes in our back lot and i covered one of them with wood and cloth and dirt, and i dug a tunnel between the the two holes so that i could crawl from one hole to the other, it was cool and nice down there, and as soon as my dad found it, he destroyed my tunnel and filled in the holes, to my great disappointment, because he said it could cave in on me and i would suffocate. i thought that was ridiculous. Now, this has happened. The revenge of fate. Today, i put all the dirt back in the hole and then blocked the area with heavy pottery. Throughout the night, when Zack has been in the backyard (with me supervising) he stands and looks at the area, his little wheels turning, trying to understand what happened to his tunnel.

maybe i should let him keep his tunnel, if it's a relatively safe outlet for his exploring impulse...

I have been wondering about the jumping up against the fence--the fence is not quite as tall as i am in that spot, making it about 5 and 1/3 feet high, and when he leaps up against it, he comes to within about two feet of the top. I have watched in fascination. He goes straight up, with powerful determination, banking off the fence. Most of the fence is higher than it is in that area. I was wondering if he might eventually get enough spring to get to the top, but he's not that close. He's clearly not trying to get out anyway. He's trying to get up, to where he believes there is a squirrel or something in the tree.

Because he often barks when he does this, late at night, i had recently begun clipping a 30 foot leash to him so that if he barked, i could pull him back in and keep him in. Before that, i'd been calling him cheerfully and giving him a treat each time, for coming when i called him, but the problem was, he would soon go back out and do it again, so i started keeping him on that long leash. but now, i'll just keep him inside.


I would not allow him out into the yard unsupervised at all until you are 500% certain that he cannot get out. It might be better just to take the approach that he is allowed out when you are there to watch him, anyway -- it is certainly safer in a number of ways, from concerns about theft to acidents to escape artists.

i totally concur. I now am keeping the sliding screen door closed and he has to ask to go out. When he goes out, i watch over him. It's too chancey to depend on my awareness of whether he's been quiet for too long while he's out there. I realize i can't know with certainty what could happen, and things could go wrong in a short time.


I'm glad you have him back as it must have been very worrying.

It was unreal. In a way, it was good that i couldn't find any possible way that he could've gotten out--it would've been horrifying to find an escape hole. Yet him being gone with no explanation was crazy making in its own way. Now i can kind of laugh about it, especially because he wasn't in any grave danger except possibly a risk of spider bites behind the shed. It's good to get a wake up call in a way that didn't bring any real harm, except to scare me silly. :?

Maxxs_Mummy
21st August 2006, 06:24 PM
Zack you little monkey! Poor you Judy, I know how it feels when you think they are missing. Maxx has found a tiny gap down the side of one of our sheds and now when he goes missing, it's the first place I look.

He's so simple that he goes in frontwards and has to back out as the gap's too small for him to turn around in! The only place he digs is in my flowerbeds and our garden is totally escape proof - thanks to hubby!!!!

It's still such a worry when they go missing! Oh yeah, I wonder, he hasn't found an old mouse nest or anything under the shed has he? We once had one under our shed and one of our cats had a lovely time under there, rolling in the mousey smells :( We only found what it was when we moved the shed a few months later :( :yuk: