George and Gracie LOVE the outdoors. If there is a human with them. They do require that they are familiar with said human. They prefer the female human but will take the male resident of the household. They have a BIG dog run in the back area but, again, a human must be with them.
This is not totally their idea. The area of their residence has a few wild things residing in the neighborhood. There is a California Grey Fox that the humans are very careful not to scare away. There are at least two bobcats that help keep the rodent population down. There are slithery things that forced them to get vaccinations so they can get to a doctor in time to get the regular anti-venom medication. (Whi
So having a human near is a good thing. For them.
It is not always so good for the human. There are things that need to get done and stuff that needs to be looked after. That limits outdoor time with a human. Even more limiting is the area for outdoor exploration. There is the big run but it is a bit away from the house and is not conducive to getting anything done. (Gracie says there is a lot to do if you like to chase lizards or make trails in the sage. She is quite adamant about this.) There is an small area on the side of the house but that is limited, for the most part, to doing one’s business
The humans, however, prefer to sit on the covered front porch and play on their computers or watch the sky change from blue to pink to orange to dark blue to night. George and Gracie are not impressed. They want to be out with the humans whether it is in the front or the back. They don’t care.
The problem has been that the front has no fence. While George and Gracie are very good at coming when called or whistled, they have occasionally been seriously distracted by a covey of quail or a cute little bunny. Since the humans are trying to do something other than play ball with the Cocker Spaniels, a trip to the front yard can be stressful. This is not acceptable to the humans.
The additional problem is that, being in a very rural area, not all the dog owners near us have taken the time to train their canines. Recently, it took the female human nearly half an hour to get a quarter of a mile down the road because of (as one neighbor human described) four over-stimulated, large canines. This occurred late at night and was quite exciting as the “over-stimulated canines” were biting at the tires and bumping into the doors of the vehicle that said female human was driving. There were four of them, they are quite large, and only one human so a calm discussion concerning boundaries and the notion of “going home” was not in the offing.
These dogs had come onto our property several times and were not violent in any way. It had been clear since they first appeared that they had sweet dispositions but were totally untrained and had no boundaries. They could easily knock us over, damage the house or, worse yet, harm George and Gracie. Their appearances on our front porch at night were a bit frightening. They were definitely a pack.
The final straw came when they ran up onto our front porch (human central, if you will) and tried to enter the residence to speak to George and Gracie. This human had never seen Gracie with her hair is spikes. George began the Cocker howl in an attempt, it is assumed, to protect Gracie.
The scene was not calm.
A blast from the marine air horn sent the four packing. But the humans and the resident canines were a bit rattled. There was no way the George and Gracie would be allowed in the front. There was no way of knowing when the pack would be loose or where they would come from.
By the way, discussions with humans who had the care and custody of the “over-stimulated” ones were pleasant but not rewarding.
The solution was a fence. A new fence.
Now there are great advantages to living in a rural area where people know people who know how to do things. Like build a fence that will keep the big dogs out and the small ones in a safe, large area. Turns out the the man who got our well in shape has a brother who builds fences. The well man lives just up the road. His brother lives across the street from an attorney that I worked with in Bakersfield. (Six degrees of separation?)
Our fence man designed and built a beautiful fence that surrounds the house. George and Grace can go front to back without any barriers. We do have gates that can limit them to a specific area, if need be, but for now they have the run of the place. And it includes the lizard tree in back as well as lizard hunting grounds in front.
George and Gracie are pleased. So are the humans.