Good Puppy Gone Bad?

We’ve always had a problem with the pups running away. TheGirl calls it “running for freedom”. Usually they can be found somewhere digging happily in a field. Recently we’ve also discovered – after endless drives around the neighborhood and surrounding areas – that they can find their own way home, thankyouverymuch. Still there was the specter of them getting hit by a car or digging up someone’s prize roses to keep us hunting down errant pups.

Because of the way the old garden was built, it was impossible to keep the dogs in if they weren’t on their leashes/a chain. That made me really sad. I envisaged them just hanging out at home without being encumbered by anything as ChessMan and I enjoyed our evening sip on the terrace in the fading sunlight. Instead they either had to be hooked up somehow (and prevented from trying to jump up onto the main garden wall to escape into the neighbor’s yard) or kept inside, the moist noses pressed to the glass while ChessMan and I attempted to enjoy life without them.

Now that we’ve moved, we thought we’d finally reached that stage of pup nirvana. We can cordon off the back part of the house surrounding the terrace, and – with the recent installation of a fence between the kitchen door and the carport – we’d been able to extend that area considerably. Now we could leave both the kitchen on the side and the terrace doors in the back open and – with the middle gate also open – they could wander around almost 1/4 of the house, including the pond.

Fun days those were! Both dogs just resting on the lawn, stretched out in the sunlight.

Of course, dachshunds aren’t the tallest of dogs, but their good friend, Bella, soon proved that she knew how to unlock the gate – off go Rocky and Bella. But if Bella wasn’t here, they’d be fine, right? Wrong.

Yesterday they somehow managed to get out of the yard. I have no idea whether they got the gate open themselves or whether ChessMan inadvertently left the front gate slightly ajar when getting bread. In any case, he was the one who noticed two tails rush pass out fence from the window in the pantry. Off we go in the car to retrieve them. We quickly found a little boy with Termi in his arms. Seems he had tried to get into their garden. We didn’t find Rocky for awhile, but finally (actually, the whole episode probably took only about half an hour) he made his way home on his own accord.

But, that wasn’t the end of the story.

Just minutes after Rocky made his way back into the yard, there was someone at the door. It was a woman we had asked if she’d seen the pups while we were driving around the village. Seems that later Rocky had gone into their back yard, and attacked their miniature goats. He bit one of the mother goats on the udder. One of the young goats didn’t fare so well.

Yes, Rocky bit one of her goats to death.

She was understandable distraught. But – quite honestly – so are we! I guess we humanize our image of our pets to such an extent that we feel crushed when their natural instincts come through. Dachshunds were bred to hunt. Both of ours have shown the predilection right from the start. Though they are as gentle as lambs (ok, much more enthusiastic, but gentle all the same) with people and other dogs, when it comes to cats it’s a different story. And there was that incident with Termi and the rabbit…(this story also eventually had a tragic ending, but Termi wasn’t involved).

Of course, we went over later to apologize to both her and her husband. Of course we will cover the cost of the lost goat.

But just as if one of our pups had accidentally come under the wheels of a car, we know that no amount of money can replace the sense of emotional loss you feel when you lose an animal that was (like) a pet. Especially, too, because there are children in the family…