My humans escaped their enclosure today. The four-foot-high fence that surrounds their run is usually sufficient to keep them contained as humans are poor climbers and can barely jump at all. However, a downed tree had compressed a section of the fence, lowering it just enough for them to get over it. I knew right then that I was in for a long, frustrating day.
At first, they stuck close to the fence, no doubt seeking the comfort of familiar surroundings. I was even able to draw them back inside a few times, but since I was unable to repair the fence, they simply climbed back out again. So annoying. Then they began to wander off and my annoyance turned to concern.
You see, these humans are far too tame to survive on their own in the wild. They can't even hunt! I've attempted to teach them to provide for themselves by bringing them injured prey to practice on, but they are so inept they have not yet managed a single kill. If I didn't bring them fresh prey several times a week, I am certain they would starve. But I digress.
Once loose in the woods, the inexperienced humans chose the most difficult path possible through the trees, making enough noise to attract every predator for miles around. Still, they moved surprisingly quickly for such large, cumbersome beasts and soon had distanced themselves far enough from the enclosure that I feared they would not be able to find their way back. (Humans have an extremely poor sense of direction and horrible eyesight.) I followed in their wake, trying to direct them back toward the run, but have you ever actually tried to herd humans? It's impossible!
I called to them continuously, warning them of their impending doom and encouraging them to return home, but they just kept moving deeper and deeper into the woods. Reluctantly, I followed. After all, I've invested almost three years into training this particular pair. I wasn't about to lose all that hard work. I simply had to get them back to safety, somehow.
Thankfully, the terrain eventually grew too steep and rough for them to continue. But did they simply turn around and head back they way they'd come? Of course not! Silly creatures managed to get themselves into the woods yet could not figure out how to get back out. Fortunately, now that they were hopelessly lost, they were finally willing to follow me. I attempted to show them the easiest path back, but humans are stubborn and, I think, not terribly bright. They kept going the wrong way. Often it was necessary to sit at the obviously appropriate spot for several minutes before they would grudgingly give it a try. Still, we gradually made progress though they frequently fell behind, forcing me to wait for them to catch up.
Finally, the enclosure was in sight. Another tree had taken out the entire corner of the fence. (I really must do something about that.) Anyway, I figured once they were within view of home, they'd manage to make it back easily. I was mistaken. Though I showed them how to run along the log, directly back into the enclosure, they took a much longer, more difficult route through the underbrush. By now I was exhausted from chasing them through the woods all afternoon, so I just settled atop the fallen tree where I could keep an eye on them, trusting they would find their way back inside on their own. Eventually, they did, though it took them several tries to actually reach the opening.
Finally back inside the safety of the fence, I followed them long enough to make sure they returned to their den without further mishap, then found a quiet place to settle down for a bath and much needed nap. Keeping humans as pets is seriously hard work. They require constant supervision and are always getting into trouble. Lucky for them that they are so darn cute.