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Jake vs. the Fence



Four foot tall wooden fences. They’re cute and unobtrusive, and can even be decorative. Perfect for defining a border. And really good for keeping a dog, if your dog is like our older female, Moxie. Moxie, of the graying muzzle, the cloudy eyes, the portly stature (I’m not saying she’s fat, but if she stands still too long, Cheri will put a picture frame and a flower vase on her like an end table), is in no danger of exerting enough effort to dig under or climb over the fence around our back yard. She’s perfectly content to amble around, bark at the neighbors' dogs a little for good measure, try to eat bees (no clue why she does this, but she loves to snatch a bee out of mid air and eat it. I guess it hurts so good) and then come back inside so she can shed more tumbleweeds of dog hair, ensuring any unexpected visitor will be convinced we never clean house. That fence is perfect for Moxie.

Jake? He will tell you it’s perfect for him too. Because Jake the Magnificent is second only to perhaps Houdini or Snoopy in the art of the escape.

The first time he leapt the fence—with grace, toes pointed, ears back, sleek and aerodynamic—he moved with such preternatural speed it seemed to break physical laws. He was out of sight in seconds. Time to see what this neighborhood has to offer! Jake is not a greyhound, but he’s the fastest dog we’ve ever been around. And running wide-open, break-neck fast, is just the best thing ever. So the only way to catch him is jump in the car and head in the direction he was last seen, roll down the window and listen for dogs barking, keep your head on a swivel looking around, and try to find him.

We often wondered what the best way to meet people in our new neighborhood might be. We talked about hosting a neighborhood cocktail party. We talked about joining a community club or organization. Jake had a more direct approach. As Cheri turned a corner in her car, she caught a glimpse of Jake the Traveler in her rear-view mirror, standing outside a fence around a home down the street. Inside the fence was another dog. Hello new friend! By the time she turned the car around to head toward him, now both dogs were inside the fence. As she pulled up to the house to figure out how to get him, both dogs go crashing into and through the front door of the house.

The screams were clearly those of teen-age girls and their mother. “OOOHHHHH, WHAT IS GOING ON, WHO IS THIS DOG, WHERE DID THAT DOG COME FROM, MOM, MOM, MOM!!!!!” The other sound heard was Cheri, leaning over the fence, saying “Helloooo? Um….that’s my dog. Sorry.”

So now we know this nice family. Wasn’t how we pictured meeting folks, but effective none the less. I’m sure we’ll see them again one day. And Jake has discovered his new favorite thing to do; go visit where other dogs live! Uninvited is best.


A few weeks later, Jake had been suffering with a little infection in one of his paws, and he could not leave it alone long enough to heal, and we all know what that means; the cone of shame. To keep him from licking and licking and licking that paw, the cone was attached, and the normally rambunctious, athletic, coordinated Jake became scared to move. Every step he made was met with banging into a wall, or a table, or knocking over a chair or a plant. He moved with slow caution and would barely even go outside. We relaxed our guard of the impending next escape. I mean, there’s no way he’s going to jump the fence with that collar on. He can barely walk in the door without practically breaking his neck by catching the collar on the door jamb. No way he’d try an escape right now.

Jake: “Hold my beer….”

Turns out we have lots of nice new neighbors. And Jake the Social Butterfly has probably been in their house.


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