Making matters worse, he's nearly impossible to catch. He is fast and evasive and never, ever happier than when he's being chased. Unfortunately, he's also loud and obnoxious and relentless, and for that, my patient and (I hope) forgiving new neighbors, I'd especially like to apologize.
To those who have stopped your car or taken time out from your chores to join in our chase, I thank you. And to those who have restrained themselves from tossing out poisoned meat or purchasing a shotgun, please allow me to express my deepest appreciation.
Prior to installing the chain link, we considered invisible fencing. We decided against it because it wouldn't protect our two from stray dogs coming in. Plus we'd heard that type of fencing is sometimes ineffective with bullheaded terriers (who are apparently just fine with being repeatedly shocked in exchange for their freedom).
Over the holidays, I talked with one compassionate neighbor who said his professionally installed invisible fencing hadn't kept his dog in, so he had an extra-tall chain-link fence put in. As an added measure of precaution before letting his dog out in the newly fenced yard, he put the shock collar on, too.
His dog was up to the challenge.
"He barely even slowed," the man said.
So, nearly $4,000 later, the dog was still escaping. He gave up, and gave his dog to friends who live in the country.
We're not quite to that point, but our frustration is mounting. Our current solution is to tie Mylar helium balloons to Chewie's collar when we let him outside. They hinder his efforts to tunnel under the fence, while also enabling us to better track his whereabouts and identify the places he treats as weak.
There are many places. Places that are now barricaded with the kind of tacky, desperate blockades that tired, wet, cold people slap in place until the weather improves. And, when it does, we might start digging a moat.
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns can be accessed easily online through her blog at thegazz.com.