By: Joel Allen
On Monday, 24 February 2020, I received a phone call telling me that a friend’s two Great Danes, Petro and Fable, escaped their yard. Those two are like “Frick and Frack”…lol… where there is one, there is the other; and the only difference is Petro is bigger, white with dark spots, typical Harlequin colors. Fable has more black and has white on her face and feet, almost Mantle coloring. So, I got out and helped track them down.
It was cold, raining, and reminded me of all the winters I went to the field in the Army because the cold was trying to set in my bones even as I was riding around in a warm car with Houston, Fable’s brother. They look almost identical, as I would learn while I was riding through nearby neighborhoods and speaking with people who had seen the two escaped Danes; everyone would say, “Oh good, you found one!”
Now, ask yourself, “What would I do if this were me?” Think about that for a bit. These dogs are so loved that their human mom left work to find them and we, the community, pulled together and searched with her. It is not easy going door-to-door and house-to-house asking strangers, “Have you seen two huge Danes running amuck?” or “Have you seen two dogs the size of ponies?” It is because we live in a world where evil has touched our lives, or we have witnessed true evil, that many folks do not want to get involved; and I really expected that to happen here. Well, here in Athens, Alabama, that was not the case. Everyone that I met or spoke with about Petro and Fable were on Facebook updating the sightings and posting where they were seen. Thanks to one resident calling me, we were able to pinpoint the location where Petro was found. In fact, because of this person, we were able to track Petro and bring him home safely. Fable, was the smarter of the two. She got cold and found her way back home where she waited for her human mom to come home and let her get warm. Petro refused to come back at first; but we believe it was because he was looking for Fable. He kept running to us and then back to the woods. By his body language, we could see he was searching for something. Dogs are the funniest characters God could have given us, in my opinion. This can happen to any of us who have dogs, whether they are big or small. There are those who look at a dog and think, “Eh! It’s just a dog…” and that is their opinion for which they are entitled to.
I shared this with everyone to thank all who helped and to also talk about what we can do to secure our fences. There are many evil-minded people in the world that would not hesitate to take someone’s dog or let them loose from their yard. To prevent things like this from happening, I always place chains and locks on my fences. No one is just going walk up to my property and let my dogs out, and I really wouldn’t advise it due to the fact that the person opening my fence may not make it off my property until I return…lol. If I come home and find a person being sat on by a Great Dane, I am not going to call them off. I am going to take their picture and post them all over the internet with a headline, “This is what happens to stupid people doing stupid things!”
Another idea I always tell people is to take a walk along your fences and look for signs of digging. Dogs are fast diggers. There is a funny picture on the internet that shows a yard with huge holes all around, and in one hole, there is a Belgian Malinois peering over the edge with a title saying, “I think my dog is infantry!” How do we cure diggers? One way is to fill the holes almost back up, and then place their own poop on top with a dusting of dirt for camouflage. In most cases, your dog will be like, “Ew! Really?!” and take the hint. Another method I have used is lava rocks. By placing lava rock at the top of the hole and then lightly dusting it with dirt, your dog will get a painful digging experience when starting to dig in that same spot again. One last method I have used is chicken wire. This is quite effective because not only will it cause pain in the paw pad, but the dog cannot dig past the wire.
Okay, we have covered most possibilities of escape, but there is one more. What if your dog can get over the fence? There are many ways to stop this. One is an electric fence, and it will not discriminate against who or what it shocks — so keep that in mind. Another is electric shock collars, either remote-controlled or sensor-controlled. One more method I know of requires a huge piece of PVC pipe with a smaller pipe in its middle held up at the top of the fence by a cable. It is designed to cause the escaping dog to roll back into the fenced-in area and also keeps critters out. I have seen a farm in Texas use this method effectively.
So, let us all keep our canine family members safe out there. Taking preventive measures can save lives; and always remember, in most cases your dog is more terrified of being lost than we can imagine. Strangers who mean well will try and approach a dog, and most often, the dog will run away. If this happens, be sure not to chase after them. They could panic and run into traffic getting hurt, killed, or causing a traffic accident. Communication, in all cases, raises the likelihood that your dog will come home safely. I am thankful that in this instance we had a happy ending. Granted, it took a couple of hours, but we all pulled together and got Petro and Fable home.
By: Joel Allen