When One Door Opens

Powell’s own dingo dog

By Lauren Lejeune
Posted 2/13/24

If you live on the north side of town, there is a high probability you’ve seen a domesticated dingo taking himself on a walkabout around the neighborhood. Well, not a real dingo, just …

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When One Door Opens

Powell’s own dingo dog


If you live on the north side of town, there is a high probability you’ve seen a domesticated dingo taking himself on a walkabout around the neighborhood. Well, not a real dingo, just Kai. 

Kai is arguably one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty biased seeing as I get to claim the red heeler, border collie mix as my own, but he really does look like he hails from the lineage of Australian dogs. He’s got the goofiest smile and gives the best hugs. Kai is quite the paddleboard copilot, fishing partner and a half decent trail dog. Most notably though, he is a master escape artist who has given me a run for my money for far too long. 

I ended up with Kai a few weeks before I moved into my house in town. I remember being excited to have another dog that was just coming out of his puppy stage and to have a companion for my elderly Lab, Koda. With the cold months just beginning to take off, the two boys got to hang out inside in the warmth and lounge around. The perfect winter life if you ask me.

Fast forward to spring and I kicked the boys out to the yard while I was at work. It was warm enough and I had no reason not to let them stay out. That is, until I came home and Kai was nowhere to be seen. I had no idea how he could have gotten out. The whole yard is wrapped in an almost 7-foot privacy fence and I didn’t find a single hole in the yard. Eventually I did find a spot he was shimmying out of and we were able to get it fixed, or so I thought. 

Kai kept getting out. Over and over. I think I spent more time driving around looking for my dog than I did at work. My roommates would call and let me know he was gone when they were coming home throughout the day. He was brought back to the house by the Powell police like some rowdy teen getting busted too, and just looked as happy as can be coming out of the car. 

It wasn’t an option to leave him inside all day either. When Kai was younger, he went through the classic chew-anything-up-that-I-can-physically-reach phase. If I left him inside while I was gone, I had to put everything up that he could reach and pray to the good Lord that he would leave it all alone. Eventually, he had to be out on a line (this ultimately led to the Great Flood of the Crawlspace).

We wanted Kai to be able to run around the yard and be just fine, so Nate and I did our very best to make the fence absolutely bomb proof. There was no way he could possibly get out. We took a drive up to Red Lodge and left the boys in the yard as a test run. It wasn’t long before I got a notification: “Great news! Your pet has been found!” via the Home Again microchip. I was astounded and at my wits end. I didn’t know what could be so interesting outside of the great big yard full of all sorts of dog toys and his very own buddy. 

There was only one way Kai could have been getting out: jumping the privacy fence. We got back to my house and collected Kai from the very nice neighbors down the street. I put Kai in the backyard and let him watch me go into the alley. When I called Kai’s name, I did not expect him to come flying over the fence — his feet didn’t even clip the top coming over. That was the moment I felt true defeat. 

Thankfully, Nate is one resourceful guy. He took some wood and chicken wire and extended the fence up. It honestly makes it look like a prison yard, but it’s better than the alternative. 

I knew months of true peace until this Sunday. Coming out of church, I got the call that Kai had been out and about and picked up a few blocks from the house. He just looked so smug when I picked him up, and upon arriving at home we discovered he was using the patio table to get enough air to make it up and over the fence. I can’t even be mad; he’s a genius. 

Thankfully, he’s a sweet pup and all who meet him leave with a smile on their face, but here is my public apology for the runaway dingo dog.