Yesterday my worst fear came true. In fact it’s probably one of the worst fears any dog owner has.
I got home close to eleven last night. I didn’t notice anything peculiar about the gate on the west side of our house. I got out of the car, went inside, and immediately let the dogs outside to go potty. Again, I didn’t notice anything wrong. I just opened the backdoor, let them out and went back in the house.
While the dogs were outside, I got settled in. I removed my work shoes, put on pajamas, and decided what I wanted to eat. I also put food in the girls’ bowls so they could have their supper. That done, I figured sufficient time had passed and I opened the back door. Normally the sound of the backdoor opening is enough to bring the girls running. I didn’t hear them.
“Come on inside now,” I sang. Those words always brought the dogs running. No dogs. No sound of their tags. Silence. It was then that I looked to my right and saw that our gate was wide open.
“Oh no!” I screamed. I ran out of the gate calling their names. “Haley, Molly.” I clapped my hands.
I heard the jingling of their tags. Haley came running down the street (she likes to potty in the neighbors’ yards, especially those across the street) and Molly emerged from the shadows of our next door neighbor’s tree. Where they had actually been I’ll never know.
I was so relieved when I saw them. I thought I was going to cry. I secured the gate and welcomed them into the house. They danced at my feet and then sat down when I held up their food bowls.
I called my husband and asked him if he’d left the gate open. He told me no. “Stupid kids,” I said. Mind you, I don’t hate kids. I just don’t like when children exhibit rude tendencies like: screaming at the top of their lungs late at night (okay, so I did this when I was a kid), or leaving their toys on your property/in your driveway, or ricocheting their basketballs off the backboard of the goal which may or may not result in the basketball hitting your car, or entering your property without permission.
He told me that I didn’t know it was the next door neighbors’ kids. I was positive it was them. Who else would go in our backyard? Sometimes the electric company went through our backyard, but that is only to carry ladders in order to access the street light behind our house. They’re also pretty good about latching gates.
The only thing I could think of is the children next door were playing with a ball or some other toy and it ended up in our backyard. Since no one was home (I’m assuming they knocked on the front door first to check, but we know what happens when you assume) they decided to get the toy themselves, forgetting to latch the gate behind them.
Honestly, I don’t care if the kids go in the backyard to retrieve something. I just care that they don’t latch the gates behind them.
I hate to think what would have happened if a car came down the street while my girls were loose.
It was time to put an end to people going in our yard without our permission (this is the second or third time our gate has been left open since the family moved next door). This morning I went out and bought two locks–one for each gate (come to think of it I should have bought a third lock for our back gate). Before I left for work earlier I attached the locks to the two front gates. Now, if the kids have to get something out of our back yard they’ll either have to jump the fence, go behind all of the houses and enter through the back, or they’ll have to come to the front door and ask us/wait until we get home.
My husband is all for keeping the toys hostage in our garage if we find them on our property. I’m all for the kids asking for them back as I have no use for children’s toys. I think both of us are ready to move out of the city and into a place where the houses aren’t near as close together.
Until next time…run like someone left the gate open.