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It became obvious to me soon after I began writing this column which member of our family would win if Stars and Stripes held a Zich family popularity contest. Glory, our devoted dog, manages to get into even more trouble than the boys and me.

She has even received what could be called “fan mail” on several occasions.

I haven’t written much about her escapades since we moved to Virginia last fall, but those of you ready for a report of the ridiculous should be more than satisfied with this week’s column.

I got so carried away when I began reminiscing about my pooch that I wrote too much to publish in one column. Next week, more Glorious news is on its way.

As most of you know, Glory spent much of the summer roaming freely among cows, horses and other smelly things on my parents’ farm.

That didn’t stop her from becoming an oversized housedog again when we settled into our new home.

All it took was an open door and air conditioning to coax her inside. She sniffed every inch of the place before giving it her stamp of approval by pooping in Jimmy’s bedroom.

Then she spent as much time as possible catching up on hours of sleep missed while getting dirtier by the minute and barking at the wildlife and not-so-wildlife on my parents’ farm.

It did not take long for something to happen that caught Glory’s full attention, however. Within days of our arrival, the landlord provided a fence for our large back yard.

Ron and I expected her to be leaping with joy after spending two years tethered in Carlisle.

Instead, her first leap was right over the fence, by means of a nearby pile of firewood. Ron and the boys moved the pile of logs to prevent future escapes, but it was only a temporary solution to the problem.

As the weeks and months passed, Glory came up with many, many ways to get out of the fence and explore her new turf. Every new neighbor I met had already met Glory.

Her method of escape involved digging a hole under the fence and scooting her massive Border collie self underneath it. Ron used various things to block her new escape routes, all to no avail.

One morning, I watched Glory move some wooden blocks Ron had desperately wedged between the fence and ground. A quick swipe of her paw was all it took to open the path to freedom.

By the end of 2006, she was a “Wanted Dog.”

I found that out while mingling at a neighborhood Christmas party. A distant neighbor said local animal control officers (dogcatchers) had stopped by her house the week before, asking if she had seen a white and black dog running around on the loose.

There was no doubt in my mind whose dog was out of control and wanted by the local dog police.

Ron insisted that Glory become a doggie-on-a-rope until we could do something about the problem. I purchased two doggie chains and hooked them together so she could at least have a little bit of freedom.

The problem has not been solved yet but appears to require professional intervention in the form of a different “type” of fence. I promise to keep you updated on how my favorite escape artist reacts.

Another recent issue with Glory was not something I could write about until we had found a solution and enough time had passed for me to find it laughable.

We barely managed to control it, or “them,” without having to seek professionals.

“They” were hungry, multiplying fleas that invaded almost every inch of our home.

Read “Life on the Home Front” next week for the details of how Glory’s little itching problem evolved into a full-scale family project resembling a military exercise.

I have decided to call it Operation Flea-Free. Stay tuned.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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