I went out to a concert with my younger daughter last night, and when we got back we found Perdita in the road. The only explanation is that she had jumped up, grabbed the handle in her paw, pulled the handle down, and then pulled the whole door towards her. She can do something similar with doors inside the house, pushing the door away from her, but it was the first time she had done it like this. She was not trying to run away; she just wanted to be with her people. When I got her back in the house, she spend quite a while standing in my lap and licking my face. Which was a nice gesture, I suppose, if a bit intrusive.
Anyway, this was a problem, because she much prefers being in the garden than the house when I am out, but that is simply not safe if she has got the hang of opening the gate and setting off down the road to try and find me whenever she feels in need of company.
Several solutions presented themselves, only to be rejected. Bolt the gate (but that would prevent people getting in). Put a Perspex guard around the handle (awkward to use and ugly). Cut the handle short (painful to use and ugly). Re-fix the handle with an offset of 90 degrees (physically impossible and ugly).
The answer was to replace the handle with a knob. Not easy – it involved several trips to the architectural salvage yard and the locksmith, as well as handiwork by yours truly – to find something that would remotely fit, and then adapt it. But at last achieved.
Surely, not even Perdita will be able to turn the knob?