I know that my dogs are not smarter than I am.

They’re terrible drivers, they don’t know a word of French and their most complex emotion seems to be “hungry.” Nevertheless, I have not been able to devise a way to keep them in the damn yard. This despite the installation and frequent fortification of a double-layered 7-foot-tall wire fence with closely spaced posts and strategically located strength-bolstering two-by-fours. They’ve gone over, under and through the fence, pulled it down, ripped it apart with their teeth and otherwise defied my repeated insistence that, “It’s OK now; there’s no way they’ll get out this time.”

See, the thing is, while they may not be as smart as I am, they have infinitely more patience and focus. They will sit and stare at a crust of bread on the table for hours at a time, waiting for me or my girlfriend, Alana, to cave in and toss it to them. They will gnaw on a hard-plastic chew toy or piece of bone for days straight until they get all the way through it. They possess a single-minded dedication that is frankly quite impressive. And, you know, it’s not like they have other pressing business to tend to in that backyard; if they want to dedicate several consecutive hours to chewing through metal wire, they’ve got the time to do just that.

I, on the other hand, have a million other things to do. And I am as easily distracted as, um, as a, well, I don’t know, something that’s really easily distracted, I guess; I forgot where I was going with that, because I started thinking about how weird it would be if horses could swim underwater like fish. Anyway, you get the point. In total, I’ve spent maybe five hours on making that fence impenetrable. Those dogs have spent probably 10 times as long proving me wrong.

There’s two of them: a 2-year-old, 85-pound black Lab named Douglas Fur and a 9-month-old, 50-pound Lab mix named Barkley. Between Douglas’ incredible strength and Barkley’s digging ability and willingness to contort himself through the smallest of spaces, they’re quite a breakout crew. What’s weird is that they don’t seem to want to get out so much as prove that they can’t be held in. Every time they’ve broken out, we’ve found them waiting by the door to get back in. On the occasions when only Barkley has made it out — he’s the nimbler, smaller one — he’s just sat there on the other side of the fence barking back and forth with Douglas.

I can imagine the content of their conversation:

Barkley: “Made it. Knew I would. Pat is so stupid to think this fence will hold us in.”

Douglas: “Oui, il est tres stupide.”

Barkley: “Wait a minute. Was that French? We don’t know French.”

Then there’s a pause.

Barkley: “I’m hungry.”

Douglas: “Yeah, I’m hungry, too.”

— The Indoorsman