Our Adventures With Retired Racing Greyhounds, Truly, Maggie and Walker

Saturday, September 22, 2012

They Got Out of the Gate

One Sunday several months ago, Tim and I were doing yard work in the front of the house.  We use a lot of tools and all of them are kept in the basement.  The only entrance to the basement is in the backyard - through this gate. 

We're always very careful whenever the gate is open.  It's the only way Those Brindle Kids can get out of the fence that encloses the back yard.  We thought we had two stringent Gate Rules: 

1.  We never open the gate if the dogs are outside. 
2.  We always close it as soon as we've exited or entered. 

When the yard work was done, we took all of the tools back to the basement, through the gate.  Somehow, one of us accidentally left the gate open.  Later, thinking the gate was closed, I let the dogs out of the house.  Tim was on the back deck at the time.  You can't easily see the gate from the deck.  After a few minutes,  I realized I didn't see the dogs in the yard.  I went to where I could see the gate - it was open and both dogs were gone.

Tim took off through the gate calling Truly and Maggie.  I ran back through the house to get some shoes, leashes and the squawker.  I locked the door and ran into the street.

A neighbor told me she saw Tim heading south down the street after the dogs.  Start at the blue balloon at the top of the map below and follow the red line downward.  A little less that halfway down the red line, you'll see a major street.  I was terrified at what I might find there.  Thankfully, I didn't see anything. 

As I was crossing the street, a woman stopped her car and asked if I was looking for a man and some dogs.  "Yes, yes, I am!  Where are they?"  She pointed in the direction I had been running.  The sandals I grabbed were tripping me up so I kicked both of them off and continued running down the street in my socks.

Tim finally came into view.  I saw that he had Maggie by the collar at the bottom of the north/south-running red line.  I gave him a leash and he pointed at Truly.

Now follow the red line at the bottom of the page from left to right.  Truly was there in front of me.  I called him and he would look at me, but he wouldn't come.  I tried the squawker.  I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride and if he wanted a treat.  He would pause and seem interested, but as I drew near him, he would turn around and gallop away again.  He was moving out of the residential district and into the business district where the traffic is much heavier.

Truly was doing what I can only describe as romping, frolicking, cavorting.  He wasn't running at full or even half speed.  He consistenly stayed about 20-30 feet in front of me.  If I got any closer, he would pick up speed.  See where the red line takes a sudden jog in the lower, right-hand corner of the map?  He had just crossed another major street.  Then he continued past a church, several houses, an office building and finally he came to a green space.

I believe there are several reasons we still have Truly today: 

1.  He stayed on the sidewalk - unless, of course, he was crossing a street!
2.  It was a Sunday - meaning less traffic than any other day of the week.
3.  At the very end of the red line, Truly left the sidewalk and stopped in the green space under a tree. He stopped to poop. When I saw that he was "fully engaged" in the process, I walked up to him and grabbed him by the collar. (I don't think he got to finish his business. So sorry.)

When Tim and Maggie caught up to us, we all walked home.  Follow the yellow line from the bottom of the page to the top.
Truly's round trip was only a little more than a mile - not that far really.  But that gut-wrenching, desperation-filled, guilt-laden trip might just as well have been a cross-country marathon.   Thank goodness we won.  We brought home two brindle trophies to prove it.  :)
Next post:  Assessment of Gate-Keeping Protocol or What Did We Learn?

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  1. That's a terrible fear of mine, and it's one of the top reasons we've done basic obedience with all of our dogs, especially the Greyhounds. A few tips I've learned that have worked, if it's a dog who's playing with you like Truly was, is to look at him and then run the other way. Almost always, they'll come after you, but it's so hard to remember that when you're in panic mode after they've gotten out.

    I'm going to be reviewing a new system for the blog that I'm really excited about, called the Tagg system. It's GPS for your dog. It tells you if your dog leaves your designated safe zone through your phone, and if they get out, it will send you updates every minute about where they are. I haven't tried it yet, and it seems unlikely that Bunny or Blueberry would ever run off, but if it works, it's will be a huge peace of mind for us!

    I'm so glad that all's well that ends well!

    1. After this happened, Tim did some online research on the Tagg system. I've asked other greyhound people and haven't found anyone who knows about. I'm excited to hear what you think!

  2. Holy smokes that scary. As many dogs go through our house, we are always afraid someone will get out. We do have the double-gate system on one side, like at dog parks, to prevent sneaking out when dogs are being dropped off. Not sure what our new house setup will be like. I'm looking forward to hearing about the Tagg system too.