My dog is not an escape artist.

After five years of foster dogs and eight with my own pack, I can say this definitively. Gary Slim, the eight-year-old brindle, was an escape artist. He crept out through a gap in my picket fence using a loose board I would swear was fixed. Six-year-old Audra left through a closed car window. And through a ten-inch gap between the top of the baby gate and the doghouse doorframe. Spin couldn’t jump over anything… except the front gate. Rommel was a tunneler.

So Miss Kitty (Katherine Elizabeth Anne Dog, but only when I’m really mad), the twelve-year-old greyhound with the gimpy shoulder, is not an escape artist. She is dependent entirely on the kindness of others to enable her jailbreaks. Fortunately for her, my neighbors are kind. So is the UPS guy. And the mail lady. And a whole host of other people who cannot seem to figure out how a fucking latch works. And then there are the assholes who go around at night and open all the gates in our neighborhood, a sort of pointlessly benign malice that utterly mystifies me.

Escape artists are just that: artists. They pick their time and place. Gary Slim liked to go at 6:17 a.m. You know, right before the 6:22 bus to work. Romeo and Radish were strictly afternoon wanderers. Kitty doesn’t care. If the gate is open, she’s gone. Rain, snow, hail, sleet, dark of night… the US Postal Service could hire this dog. As long as they didn’t care if she stuck to her route.

When I added the Weimaraner to my pack, I thought she would help when Kitty got out. You know, because she’s a scent hound. The only thing that’s happened is that we confirmed that Kitty’s travel path strongly resembles that of Little Billy from Family Circus. The last time Autistic Dog and I tracked Kitty, we went all over the neighborhood in a four-block radius before finding her calmly inspecting the inhabitants of a very near neighbor’s urban chicken coop.

Kitty has never given any indication that she’s happier outside the fence. She doesn’t stand at the gate and look yearningly toward freedom. And she’s clearly not an escape artist.

She’s a performance artist working in the medium of abstract phone calls.

“Excuse me, do you have a really soft greyhound?” Not a brown greyhound with a blue collar, a soft greyhound. Sure, dude. On my way.

“This is the bar at XX and YYY…” That’s a biker bar. I’ll send The Boy right over.

“Hi, this is the coffee shop. Your dog just crossed a five-lane street to get here?” I’ll be there in two minutes. Can you make me a Valium latte?

“Hi, this is the bar at…” What, again?

“Your dog is in my yard. Not on purpose, I think. She was walking by and the gate was open, so I just closed it when she came in.” That’s my next door neighbor. He has the same name as the shitweasel, which for some reason endears them to each other.

“Hey, it’s the bar and…” You’re joking. Fine.

I just wish she wasn’t so enthusiastic about her art. It’s shortening my life.

She hates those PJs