Monday, July 25, 2011

OMD! (Oh My Dog!)

Even after he was caught red-pawed, he rests with a clear conscience.
It's not unusual for me to wake up in the morning to find that the sliding glass door that leads from the bedroom to the patio is wide open. 

My family dog and garden companion/nemisis figured out long ago that he could unlock the door with his nose and then push open the door if he really needed to get outside to hunt a squirrel playing on the fence or to bark at the mail man (who, by the way, is a man so I'm not being sexist in this case). 

This "talent" my dog has means that we have awoken to many surprise discoveries.  One morning many years ago we awoke to the sound of our dog gnawing quite loudly on the (mostly) decomposed skull of a deer.  On the gross-out meter, that ranked pretty high.  Much higher than today's treasure which was simply a rolled up pair of my socks that had been buried in the yard somewhere.

Annoying yes, but it could have been worse.  It could have been Chip or Dale or even Alvin, Simon or Theodore.

I have been reading "Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens that Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit" by Scott and Lauren Ogden.  While some of the book's blunt opinions may rankle those of us that tend to collect certain types of plants, there was at least one section of the book that resonated with me.  That would be the part where they note how difficult it is to grow a garden with multiple dogs.  While I only have one dog, I think he does the damage of two so I quote this section knowing that the spirit of the quote applies to my experiences precisely: 

". . . [Dogs] often develop pack behavior, establishing regularly patrolled routes that become promptly evident in paths worn through beds and lawns, and torn and broken limbs marking trails through shrubbery.  Plant-rich gardens can't easily develop alongside such rambunctious animals; excluding them from areas with intensive, vulnerable plantings is usually the best course."  

I agree.  My garden would be much better off if I could exclude my dog from specific areas, but my yard is small already and given that I can't even keep him inside our own house, I don't even bother trying to restrict his boundaries within the backyard fence.  I have waived the white flag and surrendered to the fact that as long as I have a dog living here I will also have an imperfect garden. 

The good news is that today's damage wasn't permanent.  The picture below shows where the X on my dog's treasure map was.  It's annoying and it delays the inevitable filling in of this newly renovated patch of earth, but I will survive and my garden will live to see a better day.  My socks, on the other hand . . . 


  1. Nice blog! Oh about your mom, she might not read your blog, but somebody's mom will. You are safe though because you have to know a little of what is going on to get it.There is no dog in my garden, but I still have holes too!

  2. Hi Becky. When I first created my blog I really didn't expect many people to read it so I didn't worry too much about what I called it. I just hope it doesn't offend anyone because it was all meant in good fun. Anyway, I'm curious about the holes in your yard. Do you have some pests to deal with?

  3. Hi Becky, my first time here to your blog. I too have written on Pets in the garden, There is always a lot to report because their antics are sometimes legendary. Anticipating their moves is a test of wills and mind. My two were large also, but my yard is small, yet my Akita did in a squirrel and a few birds, not to mention all the plants in between.

  4. Hi Gardenwalk. Thanks for checking out my blog. My dog is getting older now so the frequency of his destruction is decreasing but he still has his run-ins with local wildlife. Most recently he woke me up at 3:00 a.m. one night because he had cornered two raccoons in our peach tree. While he was rushing around below them he destroyed some calla lillies and broke branch off an Emerald Lace Japanese maple. But I'll give him credit for guarding the peaches.

  5. Hehe, I HEAR you!! I too have such a dog - one that does the damage of two! The worst damage he ever caused was destroying a complete flower bed because he got the sniff of the mole that had taken up residence there! The plants were destroyed, but so was the mole. (luckily I hated the plants and it was a great excuse to re-plant). The joys of sharing one's life with a Dog!

  6. @GardeningBlog - that gives me an idea. I wonder if my wife would let me spend a little extra money on the yard if I made it look like the dog went crazy in a flower bed I've been meaning to rearrange . . .

    @Greggo - Woof bark, yap yap yap! :)

  7. LOL! Welcome to gardening with dogs! My dogs are very helpful in the garden. They till the soil, speeds up composting by breaking branches into smaller pieces, eats up the weed ...