Last night Lucky disappeared for about 4 hours into the woods, and I thought I'd lost her for sure. About 11 p.m. I let all the dogs out for one last rest stop before bed, and the minute I opened the front door they all bounded for the fence. Nothing unusual, except Lucky can clear that 2' fence and the 4' fence beyond it, and disappeared into the night before I could say "Come here". This is also not unusual. She's done it before. She usually comes home within half a hour or so. Not so last night. I called and called in every direction, every 30 minutes until 3 a.m. No Lucky. Finally I decided to turn off the TV and all the lights and go to bed, when about 3:15, I heard her barking and throwing herself against the french doors, let her in, and immediately crated her, scolded her, and told her she was very bad.
How she got into the back yard, surrounded completely with 5' fencing, is still a mystery. She can get out, but never has gotten back in.
Oddly, this temporary loss had a strange effect on me. My reasoning over the 4 hour period ranged from "don't worry, she'll be back soon" to "I don't care if she never comes back."
For one thing, if we can't find a way to keep her in, she's bound to get killed or stolen and that's a sure setup for a broken heart. I don't want a broken heart. Best not to expect a long future with her. Whatever happens, happens. I can't spend thousands of dollars on a 6' high chain link fence, and I'm damn well not going tramping through the woods at midnight with a flashlight.
So I say, but if it was Maxie who ran out in the woods, I'd be out there looking for him in a flash. But then, he's white, furry, and little, and wouldn't stand a chance against any kind of predator. By contrast, Lucky is 55 lbs of solid rock muscle and can probably take care of herself against most predators -- raccoons, owls, etc. Snakes pretty much shut down at night. Traffic is very slow on the highway at night. But then there have been foxes, bobcats, and other loose dogs on the prowl out there in them woods. Not to mention occasional people parked out there who could grab her by the collar and take her home. Does this mean I love Maxie more than Lucky?
So we all went to bed around 3:30 a.m., me tormented by this Sophie's Choice kind of thought. I couldn't get to sleep til around 5 a.m., then got awakened by the dogs needing to go out at 7. I'm very tired today. Doing a few mindless chores is about all I can accomplish, while Lucky snoozes out in her armchair, saving up energy for tonight's great escape. Little does she know, I rounded up my 16' retractable leash for the midnight pee, so from now on, at night when the wild woods call, she goes outside in a state of bondage, she on one end of the leash, and me on the other. We're both in bondage now.