Ripley joined our pack about a year ago. You may recall Stacy’s porkie, Emma, crossed the rainbow bridge several years prior. Although I had Beans, my previous Boston terrier, Lola, went to live with my previous partner. That’s how life happens, sometimes.
After just a few months living together, Stacy and I started talking about bringing a second dog into the fold. Beans seemed to be doing okay, solo, but Stacy missed having a dog of his own. We started browsing the “adoptables” sites. It somehow seemed a little too soon, though, logically, reasonably.
But who among us ever let logic or reason rule in doggie matters of the heart?
So we’d peruse the rescue pages, and each sheepishly inform the other when we noticed a potentially interesting pooch, self-outing our clandestine canine search. This went on for about six months, until Stacy found Ripley. Only, he wasn’t Ripley, he was Tucker.
Tucker was a rescue. He wore a little grin on his face. With a blonde coat, and the looks of a Cairn terrier mixed with some type of wire-haired terrier, he was just the right amount of scruffy for Stacy.
We put Beans’ harness on him, hopped into the car, and went a town over to the house of the woman who was fostering Tucker. Judy had survived cancer, twice.
“Getting old ain’t for sissies,” she mused.
Judy loved dogs; she had a few of her own, and was fostering several more. The dogs kept her on her toes. She had taken a shine to Tucker, and gave us what felt like an extra-thorough interview. But Beans let it be known pretty quickly that Tucker was meant to be the next member of our pack.
There was just one hitch: there was no way he could keep the name “Tucker”. Our kids had recently figured out how to do “The Name Game Song,” and they sang it allofthetime. Go ahead, sing it for Tucker — I’ll wait. …
So after tossing a few names back and forth, Ripley he was.
We brought him home, and lived happily ever after. Almost. Not exactly. Ripley was about two years old, the vet thought. My experience with dogs has taught me that a dog of two might not be quite ready to be left out and about in the house all day.
Because I am a big believer in crate training, we got an all-wire crate for Ripley. The next day, I had to go to work. I put him in the crate, and left. When I got home a few hours later, Ripley was not in the crate. To this day, I still don’t know how he managed to get out. Perhaps we should have named him Houdini.
Ripley’s Feats of Elopement did not stop at the Great Crate Escape. He has also escaped a baby-gated kitchen [once by knocking a gate down, and once by jumping a gate (we now use two baby gates, one on top of the other)].
And in spite of the fact that Beans and he have been passing their outdoor time contentedly hanging out in our back yard for about a year, Ripley recently found a way out: a slot wide enough between a gate and its post for him to squeeze through.
He slipped out of that slot once, over the weekend. We were home, having our yard sale. Stacy and I were in the front yard, and the dogs were in the back yard. Until, suddenly, a dog was in the front yard with us.
Stacy found the point of escape, and covered it. As we readied ourselves to leave the house for the evening, we considered whether to leave the dogs in or out. We thought out would be ok. Turns out we were wrong.
Stacy and I went out for several hours. Upon our return, both dogs were still in the back yard. Good dogs.
The next day, though, we saw them: four orange zip ties securing Ripley’s Tunnel to Freedom. Here’s where you’re grateful for good neighbors. One of ours, Trevor, had returned Ripley to our yard, and shored up the weak spot in our fence.
Although he is a sweet dog, like many of us, he has a wicked ornery streak. I’m sure that this is not the last of Ripley Houdini’s Adventures. Stay tuned…
Do you have a pet who is an escape artist?
I would love to see your stories.