Many years ago, shortly after I had just built the pet cottages and opened for business, one of my first boarders was a dog named Cody. Cody was a very large Sheepdog, one of the nicest dogs I had ever met. At this point in the game, I had yet to experience what it was like to look after a pet with severe separation anxiety. However, that was soon about to change…
Cody arrived on a Sunday night, so after he went out in the yard for his last bathroom break, I returned him to his kennel and went up to bed. Believing we would both sleep soundly that night was my first mistake.
As I was still working a regular job at that time, the next morning I went down to check on Cody and feed him before I went to work. When I opened his door, the kennel had been trashed, with no dog to be found. I was so shocked at the degree of damage done overnight, I had to pinch myself to make sure this had really happened. The owner had obviously “forgot” to mention this little tidbit of information about Cody. Wood chips and bedding debris were everywhere. At this point, I started to panic. I found tell tale signs of dog fur stuck to the chain link at the bottom of the outdoor kennel run – he had pulled himself under the fence, quite a feat for a big dog like him!
Stunned, I was trying to think of where to look next as he wasn’t anywhere to be found in the exercise yard. Peering around, my eyes caught sight of something outside the exercise yard, sitting quietly, staring at me. You guessed it, Cody had been found! Wondering if he had been watching my dilemma the entire time and thinking “Gotcha!”, I went outside to get him, hoping he wouldn’t run away as I approached. He was absolutely covered in mud, but no worse for wear.
Worrying that I was already late for work, I cleaned things up the best that I could and shut him inside the kennel, closing access to the outdoor run. There would be more destruction, but at least he couldn’t break out again. At the time, my parents were coming up and checking on the dogs during the day, so he would be let out in a couple of hours. I’d just have to deal with the damage later.
When I called my parents around lunch time, they had already been up to see Cody and said they’d “fixed” the problem. Oh, boy, what did that mean? My dad, being a carpenter, had nailed a 2×4 piece of wood along the bottom of the kennel fence, saying, just watch the #@$%% get out now! He then gave Cody access to the run, telling me “not to worry” and “trust your father”! Personally, I didn’t think it would work…
I counted the hours until quitting time and rushed home, nervously thinking of what I would find. Back at the kennel, I opened the door to see more wood chips and again, no Cody. There were more tell tale signs of his escape, this time, the clumps of fur were at the top of the four foot kennel fence. He had been able to pull his 130 pound frame over the fence, chewing off a few chain link ties along the way and making himself a hole to climb out through. I looked around again to see him patiently waiting for me outside the kennel in pretty much the same spot as he was this morning. Yeah, Cody, I know….fooled me once, shame on you…fooled me twice, shame on me….
Okay, I’m not stupid. Cody obviously did not like the kennel. At that point, he became a house guest. He absolutely loved living with us and the other pets. He figured out how to let himself out the back door by hitting the latch, something my dogs have never mastered. He walked off leash with us, as anything restraining or confining was unacceptable to Cody. He barked when he wanted something, and, not surprisingly, could be quite demanding at times!
Cody stayed with us several times through the years until the owners moved out west and, sadly, I never saw him again. They always knew he would stay in the house, no questions asked!
Soon after Cody’s first visit, I added security rails to the bottom of all my dog runs, tying them tightly, built solid covers for all the kennels, and put up a 6 foot high wooden fence around our entire complex. It cost me a fortune!
Thanks, Cody, for letting me know what had to be done. And in my Dad’s words, “Just watch the %$@&;% get out now!”.
I hope you enjoyed my post and, as always, thanks for reading!