Richard Oliff: Alfie’s great escape

A trellis was the only thing to stop Alfie
A trellis was the only thing to stop Alfie
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Alfie is an intelligent dog.

A Shih Tzu and a Wet Highland cross terrier: beautiful yet infuriatingly determined.

Firstly we built a 6ft high fence between our neighbours and ourselves, partly for privacy and partly to keep Alfie from wandering off.

We quickly discovered the gate attached to the fence was positioned too high and that Alfie could escape by crawling under it; this was duly rectified.

Within days we appeared to have lost him, only to discover his backside disappearing across the field to the rear of our garden at a pace that suggested that if pursuit were not imminent then it would be “goodbye Alfie”.

It was this event that prompted the replacement of the less adequate rear fence with a more substantial structure; one with no obvious or tempting gaps.

Oh how we all stood in the garden admiring our new fence, so much so we were confident enough to let Alfie run free to join us in our smugness.

No sooner had his paws hit the lawn when a he spied a cat’s tail in the corner at the top of our new fence.

He was off at terrier speed, rear legs immediately up and pushing from the bottom wooden bar. All in one motion he’d managed to get his entire body to the top.

This did not bode well.

From what we could see there was a minor adjustment that needed to be made without having to rebuild the entire fort. This done, surely our little Steve McQueen stood no chance.

How wrong we were!

With a good run-up and a decent lick of speed he simply leaped up, pulled himself to the top and he was off again. The builder stood in the garden and scratched his head. “Trellis”.

“What?” I asked.

“You need trellis at the top,that’ll stop him.” Sure enough, it was trellis that saved the day. We’re just waiting for Willie the Tunnel King to appear!