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It was The Great Escape all over again.

My son and daughter-in-law have a beagle, Tilley, who does what dogs do — she digs.

She digs under their fence and, despite their best efforts, manages to get out every few weeks. And she takes Zorro, the little Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, with her.

When I was leaving work, Brandi, my daughter-in-law, called and said the little escape artists had done it again. Tilley had dug under the fence. Zorro had returned; Tilley was on the lam. Usually, they’re inseparable.

My DIL asked if I would drive down her street, where she saw Tilley

running around. Tilley wouldn’t come to her, but she couldn’t chase her because she was alone with my 6-month-old granddaughter. My DIL thought if I opened my car door,

Tilley might jump in.

I cruised down the street and saw Tilley running. I parked in the middle of the street in the dark and opened the passenger-side door. I called Tilley, and she ran up, but she wouldn’t get in. She barked her deep, beagle bark, but if I reached out for her, she ran.

I opened my driver-side door, and she came to me again, close enough so I could just barely scratch her under the chin. Any forward movement from me made her run, though.

I scrounged for something to lure her and frantically searched the car. I dug in my ice tea and pulled out a squeezed piece of lemon and offered it to her. I rummaged in the center console and found a tin of breath mints. I rattled it, hoping she’d think it was dog treats. She didn’t fall for it.

Normally, I have a little leftover lunch. Not this day. I spilled the contents of my lunch bag on the passenger-side floorboard. I had empty coffee cups and an empty container that had stored pineapple, and I noticed that the bag smelled like curry from leftover Indian food a few days before.

She was not enticed by any of that, believe it or not.

I said, “Come on, baby; come on,” and patted my lap. Normally, the sweet-natured Tilley is all over people, licking or pawing for attention.

I moved to the back seat. She got close again, and I considered grabbing her by the floppy ears, but I didn’t want to hurt her. I ended up with my car running and all four doors open.

My daughter-in-law was in her driveway, and I told her we needed to switch places. I’d watch Kennedy; she could chase the dog.

When I went in the house, though, Zorro zipped past me. I might have said an “ugly word,” as my Nano called them.

I really pictured myself being my daughter-in-law’s hero in this dogscapade, but I made matters worse. I spoke to Zorro in a firm voice, which he ignored. He joined Tilley, and they gallivanted down the street.

My daughter-in-law took over the chase while I played with Kennedy. After a while, the door opened, and Brandi deposited Zorro inside the door; “One down!” she said, and she ran back out.

Next, she came in with a latex balloon that had slowly floated through the front yard straight up to her face. Creepy. We both thought of the clown in the movie IT.

It was getting late, so I finally just gave Kennedy a bath. After a while, I heard the clicking of Tilley’s claws on the wood floor. She was home.

Brandi had put dog food in her car, left the door open and hid. Tilley jumped in to get it.

Tilley, who also needed a bath, nonchalantly curled up on my sweater on the couch and went to sleep — dreaming, I’m sure, of her next escape.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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