The dogs, they have decided to look for other families to live with. I suspect they are feeling neglected as they don't get very much attention other than the daily, "Here's your food, dogs. Good boys."
Ever since they ran away on Memorial Day weekend I think they've been especially alert to weaknesses in the "keep-dogs-in-the-backyard" system.
Hey! they say, we can run away now! Cool! Let's go!
That time they broke the gate-latch hardware off the wood fence and bolted due to a low-flying C5 that was part of Memorial Day festivities. The parade marched right down a street one block away from us. Needless to say there were people and cars EVERYwhere so I'm very thankful the dogs were noticed and apprehended by a neighbor. She was able to persuade T-bird into our chain-link enclosure in the backyard (which is amazing because T has running away and living on his own in his genes and will not be caught unless he wants to be) but Jackson wouldn't get near her and ran off. Jackson later returned (which she also noticed) and allowed himself to be locked up with T-bird.
Then they got bored and dug/pushed their way out of the chain link enclosure but unwisely chose to flaunt their freedom directly in front of said neighbor's house. She immediately put them both in HER backyard, where they remained until Superman got home from where he was working. I was at my brother's graduation and didn't get back until even later.
A few nights ago we walked to Baskin Robbins for ice cream and took T-bird with us. Superman had the dog and I had the stroller; we didn't have enough arms for two dogs and didn't think Jackson could make it as far as we planned to go. On our way home we happened upon Jackson who appeared to be just setting out in search of us (he was heartbroken that we left him behind.) He had pushed between the chain link fence we have across the side yard. Superman pulled it back into place. And that, you may think, my friends, was that.
But it wasn't. Not by a fireman's hat.
Yesterday I attended the first of my sister's two graduations (homeschoolers are special that way.) Superman had to stay home in order to uphold his team's undefeated status in the church softball league. When he got back from the game, both dogs were gone again. Obviously Jackson had shown T-bird (who probably didn't need much showing) how to push through the already weakened chain link. Superman and his brother drove around searching for them and eventually found them just around the corner - they appeared to be returning home. I don't think they had been fed yet.
So they would be sleeping inside. I got home and let them out into the back yard for just a minute so they could go to the bathroom one last time before going to bed. They didn't have "going to bed" in mind and promptly left to continue their exploration of the neighborhood (since they had now gotten their dinner from us.)
I left the fussy baby with Superman and took my turn driving around looking for them. Everywhere I looked I saw cats, all smug and calm and none of which looked recently harassed so I judged that T-bird had not been any of the places I searched. So I gave up and came home to pass out on the couch because someone didn't make the bed (this stay at home mom stuff, sheesh, already I'm slacking off.)
Superman heard their collars in the side yard this morning and let them in the front door. The dogs look tired and pleased with themselves. T-bird has a bloody toe (?!) but other than that they appear to be fine. I hope all the cats in the neighborhood are fine, too. I am pleased that they think highly enough of us to return, but I suspect it might be just for the food.
The dogs share the same German Shepherd father, who was known for his ability to jump 6-foot fences with ease. I hope this is not what is next in store for us. I wouldn't think Jackson capable, but if there is a way for a 3-legged dog to jump a 6 foot fence Jackson would be the dog to figure it out, especially if T-bird had already gone and done it.