When my father-in law goes out of town, we dog-sit his Great Dane, Rufus. Given that Bryant kept our dog, Lucy, for an entire year (while The Great One watched our cat, Trixie, who has still never forgiven us for retrieving her from the comfort and quiet of The Great One's apartment), and that my mother-in law loved that dog as if he were a child, we don't mind being his second home when Bryant needs to go out of town...
I never grew up with big dogs... or any dogs (except "Puppy Pillow") for that matter. Aimee, on the other hand, can't remember a time the Allen Zoo didn't have a Dane. She, better than I, knows just how big, smelly, and slobbery a big dog can be. The first time we had Rufus over after her new living room furniture was delivered, I thought she was going to have a cow. Given that we have three boys, a dog of our own, not the biggest house in the world, and that Rufus is an old Dane (8, going on 9) with bowel issues, the Bucher landscape gets altered considerably. And to preserve her couch and carpet, part of that altering involves new sleeping arrangements.
I mentioned the bowel issues, right? Nothing worse than a 150 pound dog with bowel issues.
Anyhow, the biggest challenge we face when Rufus stays with us that he has to go out in the middle of the night to deal with the said bowel issues. But the only way you'll know he has to go out is by locking him in a bedroom where you are sleeping, so he has to wake you up. If you don't do this, he'll just take care of business somewhere in the house, go back to sleep, leaving you with an unpleasant gift to deal with in the morning.
Since he can be loud, and the last thing we want is for him to wake Eli (who will use any excuse to not sleep), Xavier moves to his brother's room, and I sleep in Xavie's room, door shut, with both dogs. That way when Rufus wakes up at 3:15am, like he did today, I'm the only one who gets rousted out of bed.
So, the dog wakes me at an ungodly hour, I stumble out of bed (thinking things preachers ought not to think), and let the dogs outside to their business.
Just so you know, we don't own a fence. We bought one of those invisible ones for Lucy, but never were able to get it to work properly. All we own is a chain and pole stuck in the ground. Rufus, being ancient for a Dane, doesn't need to be chained. ON HIS OWN, he'll go out, do his thing, come back in, and go back to sleep. Lucy, though, is another story. She's part lab and part greyhound, so she loves to explore with her nose, and run... fast... and far. And even though she's half Rufus' age, and a quarter his size, she's the leader of the pack.
It is 3:15 in the morning. I am not thinking clearly. I let the dogs out, shut the door, and go back to bed knowing that Lucy or Rufus will bark to be let back in.
Only... it dawns on me, that I have forgotten to use the chain.
I pop out of bed as quickly as an overweight, middle-aged pasty white midwestern pastor could, rush to the back door, just in time to see both dogs disappear into the night.
Since I sleep in my boxers (yeah, I know... to much information), I have to pull on some clothes. The only thing readily available are a pair of swim trunks Aimee folded and left on the dining room table, and the long-sleeve button down oxford shirt I wore yesterday.
And so it was, me, holding two leashes, venturing forth into the night, dressed in swim trunks, an oxford shirt, and a pair of pink flip flops, looking for two dogs who have made a midnight dash for freedom. All the while I am silently praying that the township police department have better things to do than patrol Sandy Lane in the wee hours of the night.
Eventually, I switched from foot to van, and found them just before 4am, wandering slowly back from wherever they had gone back to the house. Rufus, out of shape and older, was laying down in a random front yard panting like it was 120 degrees outside. I hustled them into the van, and got them home.... thankfully, not once having to produce identification or taking a Breathalyzer test. We got home, they drank about a gallon of water, I locked us back in our room, and listened to Rufus pant for another hour. Good times.
I'm going to look at fencing material, today.
Note: No wife or son or dog was harmed or wakened during the making of this story.. but dad is a little sleepy.