In search of ponies: Dogs have habit of running away

Sharna Johnson

Why do they do it?

I mean, come on. We’re nice to them, we give them treats, food, a warm spot to sleep and affection.

So what is it that compels a dog to charge out the door like the devil’s after him?

I found myself pondering this on the heels of learning Friday that the prodigal pooch “Bailey” was located and has been returned home after almost two weeks on the lam.

Bailey took off the night of Feb. 7 during a bathroom break. So committed was he to whatever this mission of his was, he even escaped the home of a Samaritan who took him in — probably delaying his return home by about a week or more.

While Bailey was out having a good old time, his family spent countless hours driving, knocking on doors, making phone calls, visiting the shelter and getting the word out.

And throughout it all, his boy pined, asking several times a day, “Where’s Bailey? When’s Bailey coming home?”

Now here’s a dog with everything going for him. He gets to sleep at the foot of the bed, he has a family who cares — including a boy who loves him — and a canine chum named Haas to play with. He has pretty much anything else he wants or needs, with the possible exceptions of access to girlfriends and birds to chase.

So why would he just up and run off?

It occurs to me, whether the naming was intended or not, he has some things in common with the jazz myth “Bill Bailey” who the greats have been crooning to and begging to come home for more than 130 years now.

There is also some speculation that perhaps he caught wind of the fact he was scheduled for “The Procedure” and that was the key in his ignition.

But that’s doubtful since it’s wasn’t his first rodeo.

In all reality, he’s just a pooch with an inner dog to amuse, for as it was so aptly put into a dog’s anthem by John Keats, “Ever let thy Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home.”

Canine understanding aside, I have to say I’m a sympathizer to his family’s plight.

It’s always easy to armchair quarterback these situations, but I know all to well that there are some dogs that refuse to be stopped by any and all reasonable measures to keep them near their food bowl.

Lord knows I’ve had my share with Gilligan, who can climb, burrow, chew, jump, sneak and charge his way out of the best home he’s ever had without a second thought.

So much in fact that the times I have gotten calls from someone who has collared the mutt, I am quick to say, “I know he looks cute and sweet, but trust me, I need you to tie him to something until I get there.”

And even with the warning, there have been several times I’ve gotten a second call saying, “Sorry, he got away from me.”

Oh I have so envied the owners of those dogs who patiently wait in the truck while they shop or those who laze around on the front porch all day seemingly unfazed by the wide open world at the tip of their paws.

But alas, the dog of my heart just wasn’t built that way and it sounds like Bailey wasn’t either.

And you just can’t hold it against them anymore than they hold it against us.

Every time I have gone to collect my buddy he has wagged and jumped in the car happy as can be, the look on his face saying nothing more accusatory than, “What took you so long? You found me in 30 minutes last time …”

I wish Bailey all the best, because I happen to know he’s destined for new tags, a microchip and some amputated parts.

And while those things will help — even if only in bringing him home sooner next time — If my Gilligan is any indication, Bailey’s family probably has a couple more adventures in their future.

That in mind, the only advice I have, is for Bailey …

If you’re going to keep it up, get really good at the puppy eyes because while we’re out combing the streets for you, the last thing you want your people thinking about are those chewed up favorite slippers.

One vice per dog please…