One of the reasons we were most excited to buy a house and get out of our tiny apartment was the ability to have a fenced yard for the dogs. At that time it was one singular dog, but one leash instead of two didn't diminish the fact that walking down three flights of stairs and across two blocks to huddle in the tiny strip of grass next to the dumpster for a round of emergency night-shits when it's snowing and hailing at the same time gets a little old. It was old the first time; the 40th time it was murrrrderrrrrring you.
We made sure our house had a little yard where our dogs can roam and romp, with a gate that closes across the driveway to contain the madness within. Yards are also nice things for small people, and building things, and probably for having a bounce-house some day since Jon has disallowed me from getting one of those huge trampolines because he thinks I would die.
He's not wrong.
Once every few months we forget to close the gate before we let the dogs out, giving those two assholes free reign of the entire neighborhood and all the delicious stray cats contained therein. The first time it was when Nico was still alive and Bang was, well, exactly as pesky as she still is every day, so very pesky but several years younger. We had come home late from running errands and in the midst of unloading grocery bags and hanging up coats and jesus dogs, stop jumping on my spine, leave me alone, we sent them out the back door without a second thought.
Ten minutes later I went to let them back inside and bless poor stodgy old Nico he was still sitting right by the back door, looking as stoic and immoveable as a mountain. Bang, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen, but that wasn't immediate cause for alarm because she reguarly becomes trapped in the yard by a scary bush or a stick and won't move.
I stepped outside to call for her in the darkness and waited for the tell-tale sound of a really fat pig snorting under a boat but there was no answer. As I rounded the corner I pooped my pants because the gate was open and oh my god - hyperventilate - lost! injured! dead! etc.!
I shouted for Jon and we ran out front just in time to see her trotting placidly a few feet down the sidewalk. As soon as she saw us white faced and panting she ran over and did a dance of pure joy and happiness that said clearer than any text message, "Oh HEY GUYS. GUYS. GUYS. YOU GUYS. I'M HAVING A PUPPY PARTY. WALKING. PARTY!!! Hooray!" And then because I couldn't stab her I rolled my eyes so hard I almost fell down and we all turned and went back inside.
She was just taking herself for a walk, you see. On the sidewalk. Like a person-dog.
Unfortunately we two imperfect humans have not gotten any smarter so we still leave the gate open every once in a while because we're forgetful morons. I do find it enormously comforting that she only walks on the sidewalk and has passed this wise, wise wisdom on to Harlan, who is less adventurous than Bang but somewhat more adventurous that his predecessor, so each time it happens we just shake our heads and say, "That's our dog, just taking herself for a walk again. DOG." and then I don't talk to her for a week.
On several highly embarrassing occasions we've been sitting on the couch watching television only to hear a knock at the door and SURPRISE! it's our neighbors holding our stupid dog who has wandered down the sidewalk looking for new best friends to pet her. This is not my favorite thing about her, but it ranks higher than vomiting poop into Jon's shoes and that time last week when Harlan found some motor oil and drank it, so as long as they stick to the sidewalks I will accept that this is our fault and withhold all the stabbings.
We hadn't had one of these fun little incidents for quite some time until last night, when it suddenly occurred to me that the dogs had been outside for more than half an hour and the fucking gate was totally open. I dashed outside only to see those two idiots sprinting happily towards me up the drive, followed by two kindly neighbors walking their dog who said that they had found them circling the block over and over and over in an endless loop because they refused to cross the street.