Thursday, September 3, 2015

Good fences, good outfoxing Eddy

This is the story of Eddy (our aged Fox-terrier) costing us a lot of money! Eddy started her life out belonging to John and Debbie when they lived in Marquard. When they moved to the Drakensberg in October 2008, Eddy boarded with me for a few months while the children built their house in the mountains. During this period we adopted Angie from the SPCA in the nearby town of Bethlehem. Angie was approximately five months old; a friendly, gangling black Labrador x. Eddy LOVED this new puppy and the two dogs soon became great friends. 

John and Debbie eventually collected Eddy. But Debbie said she noticed that Eddy wasn't happy; she seemed to be depressed. When John and Debbie visited us again for a weekend, they brought Eddy along for an outing. She and Angie greeted each other like long lost friends and spent the days playing together. After the weekend, John loaded the children - Eryn and Joshua (they only had two children in those days) - into the car. He put Eddy into the car and she jumped out and ran back into the garage. We found her quivering in Angie's tire-bed; her eyes appealing to me to keep her here. 

The rest is history...

Eddy has always been an escape artist. When we put palisade fencing around our property last year, we had doggy bars. Eddy merely jumped over the doggy bars, through the palisade and went walkabout in the street beyond. Last year we added treated wooden slats which slide in between the palisade fencing to provide privacy; but also to keep Eddy in the garden. The doggy bars had to be removed (we re-sold them to the fence -man) but that was no problem; Grant got an electrician i to add electric fencing to the bottom of the palisades. Eddy digs UNDERNEATH the electric wire and goes walkabout.

Can you see a pattern evolving here?? (Self-willed doggy has fun while owners cough up $$$) 

When we arrive back in SA in February, Eddy had sustained a slight injury on her right hind leg; the palisade posts are also sharp at the bottom and we surmise that she'd hooked her leg on one of these. She licked it incessantly until it became a large cyst which had to be removed under anesthetic at the vets. I assisted the vet at the time but got no discount on the bill. 

Eddy got over her leg op within a few days (I posted about this earlier this year) and seemed to calm down. Last week I posted her resting in the sun against the wall which is where she spends most of the day. 
Remember these pics: Eddy enjoying the warm sunshine against the wall? 
Eddy wanders around the garden while the gardeners work the wire magic against the fence

Earlier this week we noticed that she was sliding out under the fence (remember she'd dug the holes before) and going walkabout again. We were concerned that Skabenga would notice what she was doing, slide out under the fence while he's still small-ish, and follow her into the street. The age and stage he's at now, he'd been stolen in a flash. He's also not streetwise, so he could be hit by a passing car. 

We started to ask for quotes to build or insert something under the bars into the ground.  Three of our garden boundaries are palisade fencing measuring about 100m in total. Between Angus' garden and ours is a concrete wall with which we replaced the crumbling brick wall during 2013. 

The man who did our fencing, suggested we use doggy bars again - this time attached to the bottom rail of the palisade fence. His quote for materials and labor came to approximately R5000/US$470.  Grant phoned Elias, an independent builder from the township who's just repainted my dining room and pantry walls and ceiling. Grant explained to Elias that he'd have to dig a 200 mm trench along the fence and fill it with cement. Then top that with hollow bricks.  Eddy would not be able to dig through the cement and bricks. Grant priced the cement (on special at the  moment) and bricks which came to R2000; Elias' quote for the labor was R2000: a total of R4000/US$380. 

Both these options were far too expensive, considering the R25,000/US$2400 we spent on the fencing last year! \

While in Ladybrand (a town 80km from where we live in Marquard)  on Tuesday, Grant and I popped into the hardware shop. He'd thought about using a welded wire mesh called brickforce. We found 25m length rolls of wire which was 1.6m wide. The wire pattern is such that I suggested we cut lengthwise down the wire, creating an 800m width. If we bought two lengths, we'd have enough wire to do the whole fenced boundary = 100m. Our gardeners would dig a trench of 200m deep around the three boundaries, the wire would be placed straight up in the ditch and the top would be attached to the bottom of the palisade bars with strand wire. (called blue wire in South Africa) 

Cost of brickforce fencing, fuel to collect it and two days extra labor paid to our gardeners: R1400/US$145

Grant was so impressed with the  my suggestion, (not often that this happens, LOL!) that he immediately bought two rolls and asked the clerk to keep it in stock - we'd collect it within the week. Our car is too small to load these rolls into and the wire would damage the leather seats.  On Wednesday morning Grant borrowed a pick-up truck from a friend and he and I returned to Ladybrand to collect the rolls of wire. We loaded the wire off at home and drove the pick-up downtown to deliver to the friend's wife. Before we did this, we filled the tank with fuel. 

Are you all still following the pattern here? $$$
 John takes the one roll of wire...
...while Jacob brings the second roll

Grant had explained to John and Jacob what needed to be done and they set to work. 
Jacob holds onto the wire as John cuts it down the middle
Eddy walks away from all the activity!

While the men were busy cutting the wire, I took photos of the fence along the back of our yard. 

The gardeners had already dug the trench along here
The electric fence (turned off while the work is in progress)  runs along the bottom of the fence but proved no deterrent to Eddy
John guides the one end of the wire into the trench
 ...while Jacob sinks it from the other end
Grant brings the blue wire that will attach the mesh wire to the bottom of the palisade bars
Skabenga lies in the shade nearby! 

We're waiting with baited breath to see how/if  Eddy will escape through the back fence this morning. (she does this trick early in the morning) John and Jacob will be in today to complete the fencing between us and our neighbor on our right and the front fence. 

We hope that we've finally outfoxed the Foxy Eddy. 

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday here

Happy Thursday everyone! 


  1. Ah, our doggies do frequently complicate our lives don't they!!! But we love love them anyway!!! Hope all goes well!!

  2. That is one expensive dog and clever with it Jo. I will be interested to know if all this work and expense has worked.

  3. Hello Jo, Eddy is one determined dog. She may find another way. After the expense I do hope it all works. Have a happy day!

  4. Eddy is very clever, that's for sure. Do keep us posted!

  5. This makes me think of the old saying "where there's a will, there's a way". I hope this works!
    Have a great day!

  6. superb idea and a big savings in dollars.... hope you have out foxed the foxie lady.... wow has Skabinga grown while i have been away...

  7. it's always amazing how much a 'free' animal ends up costing us. hope eddy stays confined from now on and skabanga, too!


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