Thursday, July 7, 2011

Invisible Fence

The last few years I lived in NJ, I had three dogs in an apartment. No yard, no fence. Being that two of these dogs were young, enthusiastic and large (Peanut and Pumpkin, a Mastiff and a Dane,) attempting to walk more than one at a time was suicidal. I did a lot of walking in those days.

When I moved home in 2005, my first significant investment after buying the house was fencing the yard with a beautiful, white vinyl 6-ft privacy fence. Keeps dogs in, keeps people out. Perfect! It was expensive, though, nearly $10,000 for materials and installation combined. I was stunned by the cost, but I was not overly fond of the idea of going for 12 or more walks per day for the rest of my life, so in went the fence.

It's been a life-changer, really. That may sound overstated, but I spend more time outside, the dogs spend more time outside, we all spend more time together instead of going on many individual walks, they have the freedom to chase and play, and perhaps most useful, when a wrestling match breaks out inside, I can yell, "Take it outside!" and kick them out of the house.

Unfortunately for my neighbors, this fence gives me such a sense of privacy, that I forget there is even a possibility that someone might be only feet away on the other side. This exposes these poor innocents to my long conversations with the girls, which are two-sided in my head, because I know what they are saying back to me, but probably seem one-sided if overheard. "Where's Phoebe?.......Well, I don't know, Petunia.......Phawn, can you wait one minute?......Pumpkin Pie! Who are you talking to?......Petunia, that was very rude. Be nice to your sister, please.......Phoebe, you are such a goose butt......Phawn, what are you eating?.......That's disgusting........Can somebody go find the big white one and bring her inside?......Petooooooney! I miss you! Do you miss me? You do? I know! Come inside, then!......Bedtime! It's an all pee!"

And then there are my squeals and shrieks when saving toads, baby birds and bunnies from becoming chew toys: "Leavehimaloneleavehimaloneleavehimalone! I'm so sorry Mr. Toad! Those girls aren't being very friendly! Let me move you under the bush."

Most alarming, I'm sure, are the times when a fight breaks out. It's not often, but the truth is, Petunia is a bully and Pumpkin is an ambulance chaser, always trying to jump in on someone else's misfortune. When they do scuffle, the most effective way I have found to stop them is to scream as if I am being stabbed. In their desire to protect me, they (usually) stop attacking each other to see who is attacking me. However, if you can imagine the growling/barking/yelping of a dog fight, interspersed with the blood-curdling screams of a grisly horror flick, it can probably be unsettling to the poor sap trying to read the paper on the patio next door, as I discovered one day when a frightened voice interrupted, "Oh my goodness, are you okay?!?!?" She must have thought I was being torn limb from limb. I'm sure the cordless was in her hand, her thumb over the 9.
It's a whole different concept of "invisible fence." The fence itself is as visible as can be, but it makes the outside world disappear. And that has turned out to be worth far more than $10,000.

1 comment:

  1. Baby talking to cats is NOT ridiculous...
    Enjoyed the posts, keep 'em coming.