The joys of living with an escape artist

Helo the malamute

The post that a facebook friend of mine made this morning about her husky escaping reminded me of some of the fun times we’ve had with Helo escaping.

Like is common with many northern breeds, Malamutes have a natural predilection to run.  As animals that have been bred for centuries to want to travel great distances, the idea of living within one person’s house or yard is a little distasteful. So begins the saga of Helo escaping.
The first time was when I was dogsitting our friend’s dog Sophie, and I left all 3 of the dogs out in the yard while I got distracted by something inside.  When I went to bring the dogs inside, only Boris came to the door, and I realized that Sophie and Helo had tunneled under the fence.  Boris never wants to leave.  That time, someone probably 15 houses up caught Sophie, and Helo kind of hung around his buddy til I made it up in my Jeep and lured them into it with treats.
The second time Sophie and Helo tunneled into the next door neighbor’s fenced-in yard, and were pretty easy to collect.
The third time was a bit more dramatic.  It was a lazy Saturday morning, and I was in my pajamas.  We are talking slippers, PJ pants, no bra, and an XL t-shirt with a picture of a wolf on it.  I opened the gate to go to the side of the house and drop something in the yard waste, but it did not latch behind me, and Helo bolted.  Boris stayed in the yard.  So I closed the gate, and ran after Helo.  There were 2 old men walking toward me, and I yelled at them to grab my dog.  They didn’t.  Then I realized what a psycho I must look like – I was running down the middle of the street in rainbow pajama pants, slippers, no bra, and an enormous t-shirt, with what must have looked like a photo of my dog on it.  Totally crazy lady.  I ended up chasing Helo for a few minutes (I am out of shape.  Keeping up with a dog bred to run is not something I’m capable of), and then lost him.  I went back to the house, grabbed my car and a container of treats, and started driving through the neighborhood.  40 minutes later, I spotted him.  I threw the car in park, jumped out, and tried to coerce him to let me approach him with treats.  He got all skittish, split, and I nearly cried.  Until I saw that he was running for my car!  I had left the door open, and he was so excited to go for a ride that he jumped in!  But when I made it back to the house, he didn’t want to get out.  I’d open up the back door and go to grab him, and he’d hop into the front seat.  Close the back door and open up the front, and he’d get in the back seat.  Craig watched all of this from the window and said it was like watching the 3 stooges.  I eventually made it back into the house with him, and all was well.
Helo and Sophie, busy NOT escaping
The fourth time was the worst.  It was early December, already very dark out, and pouring down rain.  A friend of mine was over, and we were going to be eating dinner as soon as Craig made it home from the gym.  I let the dogs out and went to pull something out of the oven.  A few minutes later (it really wasn’t more than 3-4), and when I called them back inside, only Boris came.  Helo was nowhere to be seen.  I threw on some sneakers and went out with a flashlight.  Instead of finding Helo, I found a hole under the fence, into our neighbor’s yard, which is not fully fenced.  So I threw on a hoody (it was close-at hand), grabbed a flashlight, some treats, and took off.  I found him on the next street over pretty quickly, but couldn’t catch him.  It was the greatest game of keepaway ever for him.  I was livid.  He ran right up to someone getting out of their car, and I begged them to grab him, but they didn’t try very hard.  I slipped on some rockery or stairs in someone’s front yard and sprained my ankle pretty badly.  Luckily, I had enough adrenaline flowing that I was able to keep chasing him.  It was rush hour and he was headed towards a pretty busy street.  Luckily, Craig was on his way home with his friend, and they both found me and joined in on the chase.  Helo did make it out to the main road, but Craig and I were finally able to trap him, and get ahold of him.  By the time we made it back to my car, my ankle was hurting so bad that it was difficult to push in my clutch.  But we got home, and I elevated and iced my ankle.  I wasn’t able to put real weight on it for 2-3 days.  The next day, I got a crutch, and hobbled out into the yard to refill the hole that he had dug. I found 4-5 different holes in various stages of completion, all in secluded spots in the yard.  He had been planning this jailbreak for some time, working on holes bit by bit.  That little shit made a premeditated escape.
The fifth, and most recent escape was when Craig’s mom came to drop of something for our yard, opened the gate, and Craig came home at the same time and let the dogs out, not knowing that his mom had opened our gate.  Helo took off, made it out to the main street, and hid behind a landscaping truck that was stopped at a light.  Luckily, the landscaper saw him, and gestured wildly to relay that information to Craig, who managed to sneak up on him.
Soooo… the combination of insane intelligence, forethought, predilection for adventures, and looking like a really terrifying creature are the perfect storm of extremely frustrating escapes.  In my experience, people are always willing to grab the 40lb German Shorthaired Pointer, but want nothing to do with grabbing the collar of an 80lb hulk of a dog that looks like a wolf.

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