Recently when it was snowing and blowing, I let the ornery boxer Val and the old dog Chester out in the back yard without putting them on the lead.

I know what you’re thinking — as many times as I’ve done that and they’ve gotten out, you’d think I would have learned not to do that. I honestly thought they wouldn’t get out, as cold and miserable as it was.

And sure enough, as soon as I closed the door, Val jumped the fence and Chester pushed the gate open to get out. Gosh darn it, I thought, I’d better go after them before they get too far and the snow gets too deep.

Before I even put my coat on, I saw Val climb back over the fence to get back into the back yard. We didn’t know she could do this.

We knew she could get out, as she uses a board halfway up the fence that holds together the wooden sections to leverage herself up over the fence. But because there isn’t a board like that on the other side of the fence, we didn’t think she could get back in the same way she got out.

But she was fooling us. Apparently the only reason she had never climbed back into the backyard was because she didn’t want to. She wanted to be out and about, chasing squirrels, barking at the neighbors and passing cars and making my son and I chase her around the block. She must think it’s such fun to get us all worked up.

But the blowing snow and the extreme cold must have been enough motivation to get back to where it’s warmer.  I Couldn’t blame her — in the short time she had been out, it looked as though icicles had already formed around her mouth.

By the time Val made it to the back door, the old dog Chester had joined her there, deciding too that the weather was too frigid and  terrible for this nonsense. They both looked sad and pathetic and genuinely sorry that they had run off.

So I let them back inside, patted them on the heads and told them they were good dogs for coming back. The stupid dogs weren’t as dumb as they looked.