Marty’s photo of the day #2805: Al-dog-atraz is back! Lucy is 15 years old, and we got her at the Humane Association 13 years ago. The reason her original owners abandoned her became obvious the first time we left her alone. We came home to a house totally destroyed. Every interior screen was shredded, blood was everywhere from shattered glass, and she etched deep scratches into the top of our kitchen table.

At that time, Deb was campaigning for the Montana State Senate, and I was involved in outside political activities as well. No way could we stay home with her all the time. I quickly bought a sturdy indoor kennel for Lucy to stay in when we were gone. That kennel lasted about 15 minutes before she escaped, pried open the sliding door in the room she was in, and destroyed our house again.

Needless to say, Deb and I had a serious conversation about returning Lucy to the Humane Association. Ultimately, we decided that we would be hypocritical animal advocates if we did that.

So I searched far and wide to buy the strongest metal kennel made. Then we left Lucy alone for a few hours. She didn’t escape, but she came damn close—strategically bending bars in an attempt to achieve her goal. That sent me to the hardware store, and I reinforced every metal joint with heavy duty pipe clamps—Al-dog-atraz was born!

Lucy never escaped from Al-dog-atraz, but I think if given enough time she would have done so. Ultimately what cured her separation anxiety was getting her a puppy. Once we did that, we were able to put Al-dog-atraz into storage, and Lucy never destroyed our house again.

A side story about Lucy is that she has bad hip dysplasia and an inoperable tendon—hanging by a thread—that the vet said would soon rip and she’d never be able to walk again. That was 10 years ago, and she’s still going strong.

Now that Lucy is 15, she has bladder control problems. The vet gave her pills to help, but we still had to clean up after her each morning. We eventually put her in a bathroom, leaving the door open but blocked with a baby gate. Lucy thought the baby gate was a great toy and proceeded to destroy it. Just like old times!

Bringing this story full circle, I have brought Al-dog-atraz out of storage, and it’s working like a charm. We put Lucy in it only at night, and she has been sleeping straight through without wetting the bed. To an outsider, one might think Lucy now enjoys Al-dog-atraz. But I know better. Her little brain is working overtime, planning one last feat before she dies of old age. . . . An escape from Al-dog-atraz!