Lexie happily ran into our backyard. Her mission: find a rock suitable for a school project. Of course the puppy and her imagination side-tracked her and soon the mission was forgotten in favor of playing.
We live in a safe suburban neighborhood. Our backyard has a 6 foot tall wooden fence surrounding it, so we have never hesitated to allow the kids to play in the backyard unsupervised. And so it was Friday evening when Lexie was out playing in the backyard and my husband and I were inside watching a TV show we had recorded from earlier in the week.
Sometime later she came in crying. She had opened the gate to investigate a sound on the other side and our 7-month old Cocker Spaniel, Katie Bell, had escaped. She wasn’t coming in to tell us about the escape though.
When the puppy ran out of the yard, she worried about her getting lost so she took after Katie Bell, who ran into the street and in front of a car. Luckily, the driver didn’t hit her. Lexie then followed her down the street. She was not only afraid of losing Katie Bell. Lexie was worried about getting in trouble for letting her out of the yard.
Lexie followed her, not realizing that running after a dog only makes them think they are playing a game. She ran into a classmate and that classmate’s parent, and they helped her round up Katie Bell and get her back home.
While all this was happening, my husband and I were oblivious. We were just watching our TV show, assuming she was in the backyard playing.
Through her tears, I tried to explain to her that we were not necessarily mad that she let the puppy escape. Katie Bell is fast so if you open the gate, she will get out. It has happened to me two or three times. What concerned us more was that she didn’t come tell us about it right away.
Like I said, our neighborhood is safe, but I don’t want my 7-year-old wandering around it without our knowledge. The times she plays out front, I am constantly glancing out the window to make sure everything is okay.
We tried to explain to her that if something had happened such as she got hurt no one would know where she lived. And if Heaven forbid someone had taken her we would have no clue.
Still even after explaining to her our worries all she could think about was losing the puppy. I love Katie Bell, and she is my dog but Lexie is by far more important.
Not that it should happen again as Lexie swears she will never again open the fence gate, but we stressed to her that she needs to come get us, so we can help her catch the puppy.
And I do think this lesson will stay with her quite a while. She insists it now is a sad core memory. (Those of you that have seen Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out will understand.)