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The Curious Incident of Our Dog in the Night-Time

My wife woke me up at 2:30 this morning with the words, “Nellie’s gone.”

Mary had gone downstairs a few minutes earlier to let our dog Nellie out into our backyard. However, Nellie did not come back pawing at the door in her usual time frame, so Mary went outside to call her in.

Unfortunately, Nellie was nowhere to be seen. So the first thing we decided to do was to drive around our neighborhood, hoping we would spot her roaming the streets. At three in the morning, as you might expect, there isn’t much activity, so we had the streets to ourselves.

Having no success, we decided to drive back home, and then go for a walk through our neighborhood, hoping that might be more effective. Once again, no sign of Nellie.

By this time it was after 4:00 am, and we thought it might be helpful to take a break and begin our search again when it was a little brighter out.

Before calling it a night, we went into our backyard to see if we could see how she might have escaped, since we have a fenced-in yard. We then noticed that there were a couple of spots along the fence where Nellie had been digging, apparently over a long time period. I guess the holes had reached the tipping point last night, and she was able to slip under the fence and gain her freedom.

It sort of reminded me of Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption, who used a little rock hammer to chip away at the prison wall, just a little bit at a time, and 19 years later, he escapes through the tunnel he has dug.

Anyway, we also posted a missing pet message to the local web site, Nextdoor, and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. During that time, my wife kept checking the front and back doors, and then on one of those trips, at about 6:30 am, there was Nellie, waiting at our front door.

Needless to say we were quite relieved. We weren’t sure if Nellie would be able to find her way home. We have had her for a little less than a year, and she has never impressed us as having Lassie-like abilities.

But she did find her way back home. When Mary opened the door, Nellie ran in, jumped right up onto the couch, and has proceeded to essentially spend the rest of the day sleeping on the couch.

One of our neighbors had given Nellie the nickname “El Chapo” a few months ago, because of her fondness for digging holes. Well it turned out to be quite prescient.

I am sure we will never know what Nellie did for those four hours, but we hope that whatever motivated her to escape is now out of her system, and that she has no interest in furthering her legend as the El Chapo of the canine world.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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