Now my neighborhood is..."culturally diverse", I guess. While it's improving, many of my immediate neighbors are of the "no-job-having" variety, and because they cannot afford air conditioning, cable TV or the internet, they spend their days sitting out on their porches, leaning up against their cars or congregating on the corners at each end of my block.
The other day, it was early evening and there were probably two dozen or more people in plain view just loitering on my block alone. I put the dogs out in the fenced back yard because I was getting ready to unload groceries from my car and didn't need to be bum-rushed at the door as I tried to carry the bags in, and as I went out to my car for the groceries, I saw two fast-moving shapes come tearing around the front of my house, one black and one black and tan. Murphy and Belle had gotten out of the side gate and were off on a chicken hunt.
Now many of my neighbors are so scared of them just because of how they bark out of the windows at passers-by that they cross over and pass my house on the other side of the street. They same neighbors, upon seeing the furry terrors actually LOOSE, vanished by the score in seconds. People RAN for houses or jumped into cars. Doors slammed. A whole crowd on the stoop of the vacant corner store just dematerialized like they were never even there. In five seconds, my street looks like one of those movies where the town is still standing but all of the people are gone.
Belle came right back with the first call, as usual. Murphy I had to go and get, walking after him for a block and just grabbing onto his collar and then leading him home. And as we walked home, Murphy prancing proudly with his head up and his tail wagging, people stood inside every doorway and looked out of pretty much every parked car, just fixating on him like he was one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, right there in living color.
I put the dogs up and re-latched the gate. I figured that either I hadn't secured it properly (unlikely but possible) or someone had popped the latch from outside.
Well this morning, I figured out how it got open. The dogs were out and I was making breakfast and suddenly I heard the latch rattling. I looked out, and there was Belle, up on her hind legs, pawing at the latch.
Damn, damn, DAMN!! She has actually figured out how to work the latch to get out of the yard...and Big Dummy Murphy was sitting right there, watching and waiting to follow her out.
So today I get to add a new second latch, this one higher up where she can't reach it.