Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors
Excellent! I think without a doubt that what you are doing is the correct way. Our fence (i'll take a pic of it later) has places where the distance between the vertical slats is enough for Coco to squeeze his butt through. We put up deer netting in that one area, (like your chicken net) and that solved that. Stray cats that come into the yard always do so by jumping over the fence. That is also how they leave, and when my guys are chasing the strays out, I always worry that they will try to jump over the fence. So far they haven't tried.
Literally 3 weeks ago, Coco went missing after being out for some time. It was getting dark, and we were both getting worried. I hopped on the lawn tractor and did a lap around the yard. (The lawn tractor is the one thing we can do to get them inside, they are both somewhat afraid of it, and if they are being stubborn about coming inside, all we *usually* have to do is turn it on, and they come running. So it isn't like I am chasing them with it or anything like that...lets just get that straight now.) But Coco likes to hide, in fact one of his favorite things is to make you find him outside. The shed doors had been open all day, and we both looked in the shed and didn't see him. We closed the shed doors and then she went over the fence into the field behind us, and I got in the car and started searching. I made a lap with no luck and came back. I got out of the car and then back into the yard and was calling him, she was still in the field calling him. I heard something over by the shed, opened the doors again, and there he was looking up at me, as if to say what took you so long. Wow what a relief. But I had to calm my girlfriend down and tell her not to yell at him, because in reality he did nothing wrong. He didn't leave the yard. He was rotten as all get out playing hide and seek, but she has sort allowed that to develop. It was frightening to say the least.
So my motives in sharing our experience with you is to hopefully save you some of the panic that can arise. Thankfully it has only been that 1 instance in almost 7 years. Come to think of it, for as rotten as they can be, our guys are pretty good overall.
Keep spending time with Murphy outside. Watch and observe him carefully and learn his behavior. I know our guys appreciate that they get to go outside, and I believe it enriches their lives. Don't be surprised if he brings you a mouse or mole every now and then.