A Sibe Quentin Maximum Security Breach

Sibe Quentin is a maximum security facility.

We have an eight-foot, chain-link fence on the perimeter. The fence has been trenched one foot deep into the ground. Dig guards – fencing placed perpendicular on the ground next to the fence around its edge further discourages digging. Our gates are chained shut with not one, but two padlocks.

Non-Siberian Husky owners consider this paranoia, but we are a breed built to run. We can run at 12 miles per hour for four to six hours without a break, easily getting 50+ miles from home before stopping to check our surroundings.

Since our ancient lineage traces back to the Chukchi Indians, a nomadic tribe from the Siberian part of Russia, we are quite comfortable being on the move and, when appropriate, turning on the charm to worm our way into whatever human tribe we meet.

In short, we can never be trusted off-leash or outside a serious fence. And a typical backyard fence of 3-4 feet can easily be jumped if we see something more interesting on the other side. It’s not so much that we ever want to run away, but that we are so curious about what is around the next corner or in the next county.

(For the record, every time Hu-Dad – or any serious Siberian Husky owner – says something like this, someone will inevitably mention that their Sibe is trustworthy off leash. Congratulations. You have the one in a thousand. And Hu-Dad can introduce you to 99 Siberian owners who thought their Sibe was trustworthy off-leash until, one day, he wasn’t.)

In addition to the exterior security, Hu-Dad has a two-door rule inside the house. At no time is any member of the Herd less than two doors from the great outdoors. That way, just in case one door fails, a second door still contains our wanderlust. Those rules apply to everyone – except Cheoah. She has exhibited such trustworthiness that she is in minimum security and only the one door rule applies.

Dear Hu-Dad - Please re-read that advice you just gave about a Siberian being trustworthy until they are not.
Dear Hu-Dad – Please re-read that advice you just gave about a Siberian being trustworthy until they are not.

Shortly after lunch yesterday, Hu-Dad heard the UPS truck backing down our driveway. He quickly confirmed that everyone was appropriately secured behind at least two doors. Except for trustworthy Cheoah who was napping on the couch in the den, a mere one door away from outside.

Hu-Dad opened the front door, carefully closed it, and greeted the UPS driver. Yesterday’s packages were loaded in Hu-Dad’s arms and he returned to the front door. He opened the door, spied Cheoah nearby, and told her to stay as he juggled packages inside. And he felt her fur brush his leg as she ran outside.

Tossing the packages to the floor, he turned to watch Choeah running up the driveway. His calls to her were ignored – Siberian Deafness had been engaged.

He raced up the driveway and spotted Cheoah standing in our road. We don’t have any traffic, so no real danger, but she needed to be caught. He turned and ran away from her, an old trick that usually works. Cheoah took one look at him and ran in the other direction. Hu-Dad took off after her, but she could easily outrun him. That senior status and former TPLO surgery didn’t slow her one bit. All Hu-Dad saw was her fluffy red tail disappearing over the hill.

Realizing that he had no chance catching her on foot, Hu-Dad raced back to the house, leaped over the jumbled packages, grabbed his Jeep keys, and started pursuit. He pointed the Jeep down the road over the hill where he had last seen our red-headed bandit.

Our woods are quite wild and full of dangers for dogs. In addition to the wildlife – bears, bobcats, elk, coyote, snakes, etc, – domestic animals like horses and cattle are quite adept at defending themselves. And farmers have every right to defend their livestock from stray dogs causing harm. Hu-Dad had the worst visions dancing in his head as he crested the hill where had last seen our red heroine.

Sitting in the grass on the side of the road, carefully planted in the shade, was our red fiend. Her look to Hu-Dad said it all, “Why did you stop running after me? Weren’t we having so much fun?”

Hu-Dad pulled up beside her, opened the door, and asked if she wanted to go for a Jeep ride. She jumped in, nuzzled the Hu-Dad, and wooed her excitement for a Jeep adventure. After a short ride, they returned to the house and safety.

For the record, Hu-Dad instantly applied the two-door rule to the Cheesewhiz.

Bummer. Back in maximum security.
Bummer. Back in maximum security.

26 Comments

  1. Susan on March 3, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    My mom and I used to do home improvement projects together before she died. We had a joke that the first step was always “Secure the dogs.” Not Sibes, but “shelter special” mixes.

    I miss my mom and the dogs.

  2. Debbie and Ruby on March 3, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Living with a furry Houdini is always a treat. We always watch the doors, use a special tie-in for the car and a special harness when walking. Learned the hard way over the years. Good thing they are easily loved.

  3. Jeanee on March 3, 2021 at 8:54 am

    THAT’S my girl!!! Us redheads have a lot in common.

  4. HokiePack on March 3, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Love this way back story! We have had several jailbreaks! So frustrating when they look at you and then take off in the other direction!

  5. Jean B Burkhardt on March 3, 2021 at 7:01 am

    Poor Hu-Dad and the Cheesewiz escape. I see my post above about our boy Bradley and since it’s almost 3 years ago-we STILL maintain a safe house-lol BUT he’s much better now. People who visit all know it’s door locked and he is secured before they come in!! No matter what he is so loved and we make sure he is safe! We got the love of a husky late in life but never regret it!

  6. Julie on July 18, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Does everyone else find that most people don’t believe you when you say they’ll run and not look back? Makes me very nervous about pet sitters, groomers, etc. When we adopted our one & only sibe my husband kept insisting it was just lack of training. Ha ha! She trained him.

    • Krista Ross on July 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      Once Huskys have freedom or think they have freedom, they are singular in thought – run!

    • Lisa on July 19, 2017 at 12:26 am

      Yes!
      “If you just trained your dog…” No, your desperate-to-please retriever or neurotic ankle-biter won’t run away because that’s not in their nature, not because of your “training.” My husky boy is far better behaved than most of them, but given the chance for Adventure! he’ll take it! He hasn’t escaped on me in many years, but he’s done it semi-regularly to dog-sitters and relatives who just don’t take my warnings seriously…. (his usual dog-sitters now are people who also have huskies or husky-mixes, because they Get It)

    • KJ Pierson on July 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Many say that! I’ve been lucky around here, the stores I deal with and the Vet office I go to seem to know the opposite. Largely, I would guess, due to the local rescue’s presence in the area. Eventually you hear the stories so many times and see the rescued/found huskies that it sinks in!

  7. Krista Ross on July 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I learned the hard lesson as a child, huskys like to run. Do not trust them not to. My dad’s pointed broke his chain right after my dad snapped a picture of me with our husky mix Lady. I had a grasp of her collar for the picture. She was chained. When she saw the pointer run, she ran too, dragging me down a hill with her, breaking her chain. I let go fortunately. She, as her dumb luck, didn’t get far. Her chain ended up wrapped around a tree 100 yards from the house. 3 year old me was crying thinking I lost my husky and I was all scrapped up. Those huskys!

  8. Ritakc on July 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    My heart is still pounding just knowing and having experienced the same fear Hu-Dad wrote about! Though we don’t have Sibes, we do have a dachshund that loves to escape and always finds adventure around the corner while we experience terror at what can happen to him (gator dinner here in Florida) or just not finding him! It is terrifying! So glad Cheoah is age at home and Hu-Dad can rest again! And thanks for tips to improve our security!

  9. Juno's mom on July 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I’ll bet Choeah was pretty proud of herself. Juno used to escape almost daily first thing in the am. What worked for us was adding lattice to the top of the wood fence. She saw it as unstable, not solid, and didn’t try to climb out anymore. Good alternative to a whole new higher fence. A neighbor would see me out after her and said ‘I see you’re out for your daily round-up.’

  10. Koda Hazel And Sue Verschneider on July 18, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Having had a Sibe named Rusty RIP BABY BOY, who could leap 6ft wooden privacy fences like the were ankle level to a me. And our resident Sibe clown Koda is our digger, so the we fall in the 99% of no off leash category.

    Each had gotten out on up a couple times and with living in the city, even if our street ends in a cul de sac, my heart stops. Rusty would keep on moving just short few steps ahead of us to prolong his out and about time. Koda now he runs like the wind when he’s gotten out. And like Cheesewhiz, oh you’re chasing let go! Is his attitude
    But all like C.W. All I have to do is race back grab the keys and drive up to where I see him….typically peeing on a bush at a neighbors and say let’s go for a ride and he’s “open the door let me In quick!”

    Thank goodness I can count both of their escapes on my 2 hands but it takes you to a whole different level of nerves when they are free and you can’t stop them immediately.

    Sorry you’re on max security Cheesy but safety first. In time I’m sure you’ll work your way back to minimum again.

  11. KJ Pierson on July 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

    My only red I’ve had Nakisha bolted on me out a door once and gave me much the same scare, but we were able to get her back.

    Chloe did the same once, making it threw a grown up area I would have sworn no animal even husky sized could have went through after slipping off her collar with my mom. After the initial burst of “I can run her down”, my brain laughed and grabbed my car. She stopped at the neighbors fence where he was at with his bulldog. My command to get in the car must have been like her being beaten for days on end, the way those poor eyes, ears then head dropped as she got in the car… If only it had been enough.

    I took her with me one day to return a computer I’d been working on after I got laid off, my only means of making money at the time. I was showing a former coworker how Chloe loved to dance around and play, she was harnessed, lesson learned from the collar incident. Little did I expect it would be the last time we played. Something happened, I barely remember, but she got loose from the carabiner (no…a simple fastener was too risky) that was holding her to the leash. Where we were in Johnson city was right next to a busy 4 lane. As soon as she was loose she did what all Huskies do best, she ran. Being pre-really broken body days, still in a sorta okay shape I dropped everything and took off. I managed to stay step by step with here for a few second until she hit that next Husky gear. Seconds later I saw where it was going from atop a hill and managed to turn as I heard what happened. All I remember is collapsing. I never got back up until the animal shelter, ironically behind the location where we were at had already came out to get her.

    Lesson learned. Huskies can never be attached too many times to their leash or to their owner/campsite/etc. A fence can never be too high/too buried. There never can be too many doors, too many safeguards between them and the outside world. Never doubt your instincts.

  12. Laura Yager on July 18, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Huskies’ only know 1 direction…. forward. My fluffy bottoms have broken through our 2 doors a few times. They HAVE to be on maximum security lockdown, for their own good. It’s neither cruel or inhumane to keep Sibes secure. Good work Hu dad. Can’t bat 1000 everyday!

  13. Marty on July 18, 2017 at 9:58 am

    For some reason, I started again receiving your posts. I just had a hip replacement last week and your story is the first one I see here in Oregon. I became familiar with Sibs through a neighbor/friend/BFF. She is a musher and has a dog or 10. My labs over the years have fallen for her sibs. Thank you for sharing your wonderful and entertaining paw buddies with us.

  14. Edie Chase on July 18, 2017 at 9:14 am

    And this is the reason why I can’t have a Sibe. Love the breed, but my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the stress. 😉

  15. Zoe on July 18, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Ok my heart dropped
    Then I knew she was safe I chuckled
    Then I remembered your story about the lights and the condition of your back and suddenly had a great appreciation for your Olympic hurdle jumps to get her and keys

    I have a Tibetan Mastiff … rule number one … never off lead. I get it …these dogs who hold so close to their primitive instincts

    Maximum security is necessary
    However, know we as your fans are still lobbying for AC for you

  16. Padma on July 18, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Oh, Cheoah! I hope Hu-dad’s heart has finally settled down. I’m so glad it ended well.

  17. Carolyn Rogers on July 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Oh my gosh, heart-stopping!!! I only have one door between mine and the great outdoors – and not too long ago, I was talking to the lawn guy and the door hadn’t latched and… out both went. My lawn guy gave chase but I told him nope, just stay calm, don’t chase them – went and got my keys and did the same thing. Want a ride? Worked with Maddox – but ol’ Shelby was a bit more savvy. He managed to grab her though and we got them back to the house. They have been taught to not go near the front door – but when it is just sitting there slightly cracked, what do you expect? LOLOL!!! I am SO GLAD Cheesewhiz was caught!! WHEW!

  18. The Painter Pack on July 18, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Oh do I know that feeling…the realization that even in your prime health (which I haven’t been for a long time) there is no way to catch a Siberian. Our last escapee was also a red head…come to think of it, it has always been the reds. LOL. Mya has never tried to run away….always good…until they are not.

    Glad it all ended well!

  19. Lori on July 18, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Oh CheeseWhiz!! You scared the life out of hu-dad and all of us!!! Phewwwwww….. I’m so glad you’re home safe and sound and under maximum security!! ????????????

  20. Kimberly Parker on July 18, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I empathize! I, too, have a two door/gate rule, but accidents happen and I’ve had to chase my furry fiends around town.

  21. Rambo Hemsworth on July 18, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Always the quiet ones you have to watch! Nice work Cheoah.

  22. Deidre on July 18, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I chuckle but have had the same experience several times. Amazing how fast they can sneak by!!!!

    • Jean Burkhardt on July 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      WE adopted our boy Bradley who is a husky mix back in May 2013. We are very experienced dog owners BUT not a husky! Well-our boy snuck THROUGH my legs and I swear it was only about an inch wide. He took us through a scary scary chase and thankfully an angel landscaper grabbed our boy’s harness as he saw my poor husband huffing and puffing trying to catch him. From then on-we have the SAFEST house in the world although I will admit-he made it through one more time! I am so happy your little red haired girl made it home safely as well!

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