CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dog ownership provides many opportunities for meeting people. There are those you meet while out walking the dog, those you meet at the vet, at the groomer's, at PetSmart. At the bank.
And dogs -- especially our dogs -- often provide opportunities for meeting neighbors, although in our case, it's often been to apologize.
We'd only been in our neighborhood a few weeks when Murry sneaked out through a broken storm door. Down the street, a neighbor left her car door open to remove a flat of flowers. She returned to find Murry sitting in the passenger seat, ready to go for a ride.
She obliged, driving him a few laps around our circle before bringing him home.
Our other dog, Chewie, has escaped our backyard so many times that our attempts to secure the borders has resulted in a creation that appears more fortress than fence. A Sanford & Son Construction Production.
Unattractive though it may be, the fortified fence has prevented any escapes for several months. We became so confident about having sealed the yard that we decided to allow our two rabbits, Winnie and Stew, to roam loose. We didn't fear the intermingling of our dogs and rabbits as (1) the rabbits are accustomed to, and seemingly fond of, the thorough ear washing service Murry provides, and (2) the rabbits are smarter than your average turnip; the dogs are not.
The rabbits, accustomed to life with a litter box and pellet-shaped food, were cautious at first about exploring their new boundaries, but soon began frolicking about like Disney bunnies, though they haven't quite mastered skipping or whistling.
They're also somewhat deficient with their tunneling skills. While they've clearly enjoyed having an opportunity to dig, their exit holes are generally located anywhere from three to seven inches from the entrance. These aren't little rabbits.
Still, the pair has seemed extremely happy in their new, larger quarters, so we were surprised when a neighbor rang our bell recently to ask if we were missing a rabbit.
Hard as it was to believe that I'd lost my hare and hadn't noticed, I checked and -- sure enough -- Stew was gone. She'd slipped under the gate and been traveling yard to yard, friendly enough to entice several very nice neighbors (some of whom we hadn't previously met through Chewie's escapes) into attempting to catch her. Though Stew likes being held, she doesn't like being picked up, so she's skilled at evasion.