Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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I’m sure you all know that the most utterly classic sin —

It’s practically axiomatic that the greatest sin anybody can possibly commit on a farm is to fail to close the gate. Right? I’ve known that all my life. I think I was born knowing that!

Well, on Saturday evening, I got home, let the dogs out, prepared their supper, let the dogs in, called the laggards (“All good dogs can come have supper!”) and … the youngsters did not come in.

Of course sometimes they are busy digging holes or whatever so I called again. Then I went and looked. No dogs out in the main part of the yard. Then I went and looked around the corner. No dogs at the back of the house … but Leda standing by the wide open gate, looking up at me. (“Did you say something about supper?”) It turns out a guy had come over to do stuff in the yard, and he had failed to latch the gate.

This left Conner and Kimmie missing.

So I called Leda in and shut the gate and grabbed the phone and called my mother and gasped something like “Gate open! Puppies gone!” and dropped the phone and grabbed two leashes and ran for the door and ducked around to the side of the house with that gate and peered into the woods …

… all in one breathless rush, exactly as expressed above …

And saw two white tails waving about 100 meters away.

So I recovered something resembling wits and called the youngsters in a cheerful tone. Conner came bouncing toward me and Kimmie stayed exactly where she was (which turned out to be investigating a scattering of bones and feathers; I have never been happier to see the evidence of a hawk kill). I put Conner on leash and went and got Kimmie and came back to the house in time to tell my mother — who had run over in her robe and slippers — that everything was all right.

Then I posted vehement comments on Twitter and Facebook. Then I tried to recover my nerves, which took some time and required chocolate and much petting the dogs.

Then I spent some time deciding upon the appropriate wording of a sign to post inside each gate. Something like this:

But more … expressive. Perhaps something more like this:

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4 Comments I’m sure you all know that the most utterly classic sin —

  1. Elaine T

    That’s a very expressive face on the forceful sign. Use it.

    Which puppy is it?

    Glad they hadn’t gone far.

  2. Rachel

    That is Ishmael, my most reliably photogenic dog.

    Glad they hadn’t gone far.

    So was I, you betcha. I went from OH MY GOD to Look, There The Are!!!! to safe, whew so fast and so violently I practically had whiplash. Took quite some time for the adrenaline to subside.

  3. Evelyn M. Hill

    A (substitute, not the regular) employee of the electric company came by to check the meter, and he opened the gate where my dog was. Then he saw my dog there and fled, yes leaving the door open. (I was sitting indoors just by this gate, so I can verify the dog did not bark. Indeed, the dog was rather puzzled by his behavior, since she had neither barked or done anything else but gotten up, wagging her tail at the thought of company.)
    What irked me most about that was not only did he open the gate where the dog was (as opposed to the gate where the meter was, which was clearly marked) but the dog gate was CLEARLY marked “dog inside”. AND had a picture of a German Shepherd, in case the person trying to enter was illiterate.
    I think making a sign with a Threat Direct might be a good way of getting people to notice.

  4. Rachel

    What a total jackass. You’d think any adult human being would have better sense — and a guy with a dog phobia might pay attention to signs! “They’ll never find your body” is probably too subtle and indirect for such a person.

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