Three times in the past couple of weeks, I have found gates open that I thought I had closed, gates closed that I thought I had opened, Martin penned when I thought I’d let him out, Martin out when I thought he was penned. Three times in the past couple of weeks, the dogs have woken me up in the wee small hours – pawing at the bed, letting out single woofs, scratching at the door. On at least one of those occasions, the motion detector lights on the barn were on, but I could see nothing that might have triggered them. I was beginning to think I was losing it - my mind, that is.
But today it all makes sense – though I can’t say that I am happy about what I found out. I came home to see two men standing by my fence line at the back of the pasture. Martin cautiously watched the intruders from his pen near the barn - not where I had left him. With dogs in tow, I hurriedly trotted to the back of the field to find out what was going on.
I discovered two of my neighbours busy repairing the fence. Sometime during the night, someone had cut away sections on both sides of my field, and the next two fields over. They had used the newly-made access for hauling off tools and dirt bikes from a neighbour’s garage…..slipping through my neighbour’s pasture, down my pasture hillside path , across near Martin's old tree, onto the panhandle drive that parallels my pasture, and out to a waiting vehicle.
I should have known something was up last night. First Belle barked to go out at 4:00 A.M.; then Charley pawed at the bed and scratched at the door; then Belle, Oliver and Charley insisted that 4:30 was the right time to get up. Ironically, the one dog who really believes she must protect my property from all human and critter invasions and who regularly bursts through the doorway barking her very loud “GET OUT! GET OUT! THIS IS MY PLACE! NO INTRUDERS!!! SCRAM!!” is Sadie….who was fast asleep on the couch all night long!
Turns out this is the third time in two weeks items have been stolen from this neighbour. This time, they disturbed the neighbour who chased them off and got a good look at the car. And that allowed him to confirm a hunch....a junkie who he recently kicked out of the house is apparently taking revenge by having her friends steal anything not tied down at her former residence.
The days coincide with the days I found my pasture gate wide open (and on one occasion Martin locked into his pen) ….they were apparently trekking right through my pasture, into my yard, and down my driveway. But last night they decided it was safer to cut whole sections of wire fence out to create access closer to the back of the pasture. It’s quite possible my motion lights and dogs had startled them earlier this week. If it is the people we think it is, they are afraid of animals – dogs, llamas and alpacas!
I guess this morning I was too darn tired to notice the cut fence. Thankfully my neighbour did, and was able to marshal Martin back down to his pen so he wouldn’t wander on out. Then he corralled another neighbour and together they had just about finished repairing my fences for me by the time I got home. What good neighbours I have!
We’ve now established our own variation of neighbourhood watch, with phone numbers programmed into cell phones, vehicle descriptions, and full permission to let our dogs bark as loud as they want.
Sadie is demanding a raise in pay….more dog treats…. if she has to get off the couch at night to investigate every little sound.