With furnace and AC not operating now, we find it easier most middays to leave the sliding door to the patio and back yard open enough for the dogs to let themselves in and out. No doggy accidents and less stress on our knees. It also lets fresh air circulate, and few bugs take advantage.
We did get one surprise the other day, however. I'd been reading rather than having the TV on, or I might never have noticed. I heard a strange little noise from the lanai and would have dismissed it as the dogs, except that both had recently hopped up on the couch for a nap. Quick check. Yep, they were still there.
I moved so I could see the doorway, hoping it wasn't anything furry. Rabbits cross through the chain link with ease, but I didn't think they were bold enough to enter the house. Anything else with fur would be even less welcome: squirrels, mice, rats, even coyotes which might have managed to figure out how to climb our 6' fence. While I've never seen any of them inside the fence, if at all, except for one mouse in a trap, the imagination reaches for explanations.
There she was, right next to the open kitchen door. Nothing furry, thank goodness, but a female cardinal, pecking at the door mat, picking up the tiny bits of dog food that Ellie scatters messily about while she relocates a mouthful away from the bowl to eat. She's so bad about it that I refuse to refill the bowl until after a pair of hungry dogs clean up all the crumbs a day or so later. Now Mama Cardinal was helping with the cleanup, letting me watch for about a half minute before she flew back out the patio door opening.
Who knew cardinals liked dog food?