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Gardening Puppy

Cricket has her paws on the red handled trowel

Cricket has her paws on the red handled trowel

 

            Cricket loves to dig. She has adopted a small red handled trowel as her own and whenever her grandma is using it, Cricket goes over to bark at it and try to steal it. She hasn’t figured out how to make it dig, but then maybe that’s not her intention. She’s angry at it for taking her job.

"You can't have it, Grandma!"

“You can’t have it, Grandma!”

            When she’s out with Grandma, doing the gardening, her job is to pull out roots and weeds. She’ll dig first with her paws and then grab with her teeth and pull. Then she runs back into the house, with four black feet and a black chin with a little bit of her original white hair showing through, and then she spreads the dirt around, leaving her water bowl muddy and her face smiley.

            She was getting impatient with the long winter this year and decided to dig random holes in the lawn. I had to watch her carefully to catch the crazy digging before she was a foot down into the earth. And then we had to replace the divots and stomp them down, like we were at a polo match.

            Ideally, Cricket would have her own garden, or a sandbox, to play in. But the endless baths that would result wouldn’t make mommy or puppy very happy. And she doesn’t just want to dig aimlessly, she wants to accomplish something.

Cricket's after-bath twist

Cricket’s after-bath twist

            Cricket and Grandma have different ideas on gardening. Their aesthetics are in opposition. Cricket likes holes. She likes digging through the top layer of grass to explore the rich, meaty underbelly of dirt. She likes to remove things from the ground, rather than add them. We have to keep her at a distance from anything freshly planted, because she will unplant it with relish.

            When we moved recently, we lost a full lawn of gardening space where Mom had planted berry bushes, and pawpaw trees, a full vegetable box, and sunflowers, and lilies, and hydrangeas, and strawberries, and on and on.

            In our new place there isn’t as much space and it has to be shared, which means, most of all, that gardening puppy does not get to participate. I’d love to be able to put her on the long lead out in the yard, but I’m afraid that would bother my new neighbors and I’m not ready to alienate anyone, yet.

For Mother’s day we went to the gardening store and bought four different kinds of tomato plants, and a purple pepper plant, to plant along with the things we brought from our last home. But Cricket keeps trying to climb into the new vegetable plot to “help.”

Butterfly likes to sniff the flowers, but she’s delicate about it. The only time she likes to dig is when she’s standing next to her food bowls, scratching at the wood floor as if she thinks more food is hidden underneath.

Butterfly, considering the mysteries of the universe

Butterfly, considering the mysteries of the universe

Hopefully, Cricket will be able to find an outlet for her gardening passions, one that doesn’t include unplanting the tomatoes, or rolling in the patches of poison oak the way the local cats like to do. But I think, for now, she’s happy that her Grandma is gardening again, getting excited about new vegetables and flowers, as long as Cricket gets to sniff each and every one and give her bark of approval.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

68 responses »

  1. There’s definitely something about white/light-colored dogs and dirt/mud!! They certainly do love each other. 😉

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    • Cricket is at her happiest when she is covered in mud. I used to have a black-haired dog and her favorites thing was to dive bomb into dead squirrel, so…I think I’ll take the dirt.

      Reply
  2. Cricket reminds me of the gardeners at Casa de Canterbury – focused, determined, muddy. 🙂

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  3. Good for Cricket! There is nothing better (well almost) then digging in the earth and coming up with a snoot full of dirt. And as a bonus, you get to track dirt into your human’s house. I personally like to jump up on the bed when I’m in that state. Life is good, Danny the Dog

    Reply
    • Oh boy! The only thing Cricket loves more than to dry off on her grandma’s bed after a bath, is to run inside and climb on sleeping Grandma with muddy paws. There’s nothing like the smell of dirt first thing in the morning!

      Reply
  4. Bless her….she has green paws ! it’s not easy when mum and pup have different plans for the garden…i know only too well!!! 🙂

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  5. Cricket definitely needs her own space and you have your challenges. Good luck.

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  6. Oh that was really Lovely , so very inquisitive ! Love them 🙂

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  7. I don’t get to uproot any plants in the ground. The wild ones have thorns (don’t mess with the saguaros) and the ones they plant are in pots and unreachable.They put them in big pots because anything yummy planted in the ground gets eaten by rabbits before I can get to it or the rabbits.

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  8. they are darling! especially butterfly – maltese? i just lost my maltese baby to congestive heart failure, and it broke my own heart…..

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    • Butterfly is a Lhasa Apso and she has a heart problems as well. She has to go for regular echocardiograms, but so far she’s doing really well. We knew a Maltese in our old neighborhood and he was just a sweetheart.

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      • I rescued Peanut from a puppy mill in Oregon. He was five weeks old, had both his back feet chewed off (he still had the pad on one foot, that is how he got around for the rest of his life). He had huge sores from fleas and was way underweight. Luckily, I had a great vet and she helped me save his life. He did live a long life for a little guy with such a bad start in life, but it still killed my soul when he passed away very recently. His ashes are on the mantle, along with all my other babies. He is greatly missed. Butterfly’s little face looks a lot like Peanuts…. enjoy him, and good luck with his heart problem!

  9. Poor Cricket! There’s nothing worse than being a frustrated gardener. Sounds like she was a fantastic helper in your previous yard/garden. Hopefully, she can find an outlet for her green paw in your new home. Butterfly is so adorable. I just love reading about her gentle spirit.

    Reply
    • I wonder if “frustrated gardener” is the explanation for all of her grumbliness. Maybe if we could give Cricket her own patch of dirt and various things to plant, she would be as Zen as Butterfly. Maybe not.

      Reply
  10. This makes me wonder if my Annie digs aimlessly or to explore the underbelly of the earth. I’m hoping that fifty holes would be enough exploration?!

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  11. Ha. My greyhound loves when we’re gardening too, but sees her role as entirely supervisory, I.e. she lies elegantly nearby keeping a close eye on the sweat and toil…

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  12. So cute that she wants that trowel. Funny little thing. What a cute post and best of luck getting gardening done whilst keeping Cricket clean:)

    Reply
    • She likes to steal the trowel, but she’ll only bark at the digging fork because it’s so tall. But once it’s done digging, she will run into the hole and try to pretend she did all of that digging herself.

      Reply
  13. Adorable! I hope you are enjoying settling into your new home and making new friends. I’m sure your gorgeous pooches are helping with attracting nice new friends! : ))

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    • The dogs are trying to make friends with the cats downstairs, but it’s not working. Even the blind and deaf cat will have nothing to do with them!

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      • Oh dear! Monty has a similar problem with our neighbour’s cats… He thinks all creatures want to play. The cats DO NOT agree… Monty is still mystified by all the hissing, and showing of claws and teeth!! : )))

  14. Thankfully Luz Maria and Sr. Diego do not dig but they love to crawl under the ramp that leads to the front door. I am fearful that some day one or both will meet up with a creature from the surrounding woodland that may have discovered that under the ramp lies wonderful protection from the elements. Hopefully, if that happens, it will not be a skunk but I always keep the products on hand for the de-skunk recipe. 🙂

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  15. I don’t know what it is about the smell and feel of dirt to dogs especially puppies. I’ve got plenty of “helpers” in my garden too.

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    • Cricket needs a white lab coat for her trips outside, so she can pursue her scientific studies more formally. I bet she can discern more from a pot of dirt than some silly microscope can.

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  16. I love gardening puppies! That is what gardening so fun!

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  17. Cricket has similar habits to our Gemma! They look alike, too. Can Cricket stand or dance on hind legs for long periods at a time, too, or is that a Gemma speciality?

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  18. Gardening with dogs. What wonderful memories I recall, what wonderful memories you shared.

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  19. Midnight hasn’t gotten the hang of stay out of the flower beds. When I am weeding she is good and just lays by me.

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  20. Thank you for visiting blog.
    I will link to Japanese blog that of animals and a great you who.
    It regards the future…

    Reply
  21. You have quite a fan club going here. The dogs Cricket and Butterfly are too cute. I bet they are a wonderful source of entertainment. A blogging friend, Just Rod, sent me your link. His blog is a really good one and he has written 3 posts about his dogs. The stories are so well written. You might want to chek him out. The link is below.

    ~yvonne~

    http://reflectionsinpuddles.com/

    Reply
  22. I am a digging tunnel-maker dog so I appreciate what you say. Happy paws – Nutty x

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  23. Very cute – we have a Lab that has dug herself a tunnel!!!!

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  24. Yes, but how to harness her powers for Good? 😉

    Oski loves to dig in the sand when we take him to the beach. He’ll dig himself a hole and then shove his head and shoulders into it. Pop his head out and then dig deeper like he’s trying to measure himself for a tunnel. Who needs cable when they have pets?

    Reply
    • I think Cricket would be an excellent assistant to a demolition crew. I see her in a little pink hard hat. She likes to climb on my lap when I’m watching TV and get in my face. How dare I be entertained by anyone but her!!!

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  25. Cricket is so cute! Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my “Leftovers” post.

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  26. Thanks for visiting my blog. Cricket and Mini would be great friends. Mini only digs to bury her belly when she’s hot. Or sometimes, she will dig in the sand at the beach with her nose. She doesn’t like gardening, she just likes to be the ‘boss’ of everything and everybody..love how you write and can’t wait to read some more.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I will have to tell Cricket about this belly cooling system, she’s always looking for new reasons to dig. And we have to go back to the beach someday soon, if only to bark at the seagulls. They probably missed us.

      Reply
  27. It’s not easy to write about dogs in the way that you have in this piece, but you managed to make it very interesting. Aside from your writing style, I was also interested in how Cricket interacts with a yard. We don’t have much of a yard at our home, so the dogs don’t get to express their “digging instinct” in the way that Cricket did (until you moved).

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  28. Our Maltese cross Chicki has a thing about running water. Whenever I turn on the garden hose she goes crazy and drinks as much as possible from it…I’ve never seen this behaviour in my other dogs but I’ve heard about on television.

    Reply
    • Cricket loves to drink the water as I pour it into her bowl, but Butterfly steps back and waits until the water is completely still. I think Cricket is feeling depressed lately, because the maintenance men get to mow the lawn and she’s not allowed to follow in their footsteps and bark like a crazy person.

      Reply

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