After working in the yard all afternoon these past few days filling in some holes and planting grass seed, Ruby is exhausted. At least this year, she didn’t follow two steps behind me undoing my work. Of course, I haven’t planted my flowers yet…
Now I’m on to other chores in the basement and she is quietly snuggling in. Can she get any closer?
“My uncle sent this picture of my brother Murphy to Mary. They were blah, blah, blahing about digging and some drain made in France. I mean, I’m looking at how gray he is and how fabulous that toy is and how great that hole looks for burying his treasures.”
“Any who, I guess he got in trouble. IDK, it’s what we do. I just don’t understand the draaama every time we make a new hole. Maybe, if there were some ground rules (ha ha, get it? I crack myself up), we could stop some of the draaama. Like, only dig in the gardens, not the grass. Or, never dig in the same place twice so the grass can grow. Or, never dig in the back yard where the kids play, only dig in the front. There are enough other rules you expect us to obey, so why not some pertaining to this? We’re smart. I am anyway. I could learn them and then decide for myself if they are worth following.”
“Poor Murph, he looks contrite. I don’t get that either. I mean, we dig. Get over it!”
While I was making this delicious appetizer this afternoon:
Ruby was making this:
You might remember earlier this spring she was trying to get her own pool by digging several large holes in the back yard. Well, here it is September and there is no pool so, it’s time to plant grass. I’ve got top soil and seed down and the sprinkler is on. Ruby is frolicking out there. Alone. It’s quiet so I decide to check on her. She has managed to flip the sprinkler over and create a huge mud hole for herself- right where I’m trying to grow grass.
So now the new grass is gone, the hole is back and I’ve got a dog covered in mud. At this point, I don’t care if I’ve got jalapeno juice on my fingers, she’s getting cleaned off. There will be no battle with the towel. She will sit nicely while I do it. She will not get mud on me. She will play outside quietly while she dries. She will stay away from the hole until the grass fills in. She will learn to do her own laundry.
I think they look alike. They also apparently communicate via Facebook or something because Murphy has started digging. My brother thinks it’s Ruby’s fault but I don’t know…
I guess he had to fill this hole in three times and Murphy is officially on the naughty list. But, Murphy hangs his head when called on it and won’t make eye contact, as if he’s ashamed. As if he knows. Ruby doesn’t know. She’ll dig that hole a fourth time while you watch!
As you know, Ruby loves to be outside. And to dig. I wish I knew what made some dogs diggers and others not. Anybody know? If I knew I would change Ruby to a non-digger. Immediately.
This nice new hole happens to be in the EXACT same spot as my beautiful perennial bulbs! I don’t see any bulbs now so, if her squashing the flowers while they bloomed didn’t destroy them, her eating the bulbs sure did. I guess I’ll have to wait and see if anything comes up next year. As with most things Ruby, I am not hopeful.
Plus, I think I have an even bigger problem now than the perennials. You can see she has begun to dig UNDER the cement. That worries me more than the loss of my perennials. Will she dig deeper and make a cave for herself? It’s raining and muddy today, so probably. Will something else move in there? Not until they have the cover of darkness and Ruby is inside. Will that cement section start to crumble rather than just crack? I’m gonna go with “yes”. Will I survive another 2 years with her digging? That’s a resounding “no”.
It’s funny, when Ruby was a puppy I really wanted her to learn to entertain herself for a little bit so that I could get a break. I couldn’t possibly pet her or rubber her belly all afternoon. And she wanted that.
I feel a little differently now. She does entertain herself, sometimes for hours, and it’s very nice. But then I get a little nervous and I have to go see what she’s doing. She is always very busy (because I trained her how to entertain herself). Sometimes she’s chewing the door mat. Often she’s back at the rock patio “gardening”. Occasionally she’s sampling the aluminum siding or she spies something in the grass that she wants. And, as you know, she’s determined so she digs for it. Sometimes deep. And if she sees me coming she digs deeper and faster so she is sure to get the job done.
I am particularly fond of this habit when it’s rainy and wet:
There is NO refilling theses holes while she’s inside by the way. First of all, my top soil and potting soil are gone. Secondly, she reopens the holes immediately after I walk away. It’s become a little bit of a competition. I don’t think I’m winning. Here’s a look at her current projects:
1. This one is in the middle of the back yard. She was probably chasing a cricket or something:
2. This one is at the base of a very old lilac bush:
3. This one is at the tree out front where the deer congregate to eat the berries:
4. This last one is right out the back door:
It looks like she may have eaten a little cement along with whatever bug was here.
We have a beautiful patio behind the garage that is made of river rocks and stepping stones. It has some patio furniture and a fire pit and it’s inside Ruby’s boundary. In the evenings it’s shaded but during the day it gets full sun. Often I don’t get back there and it’s behind the garage so it’s not in full view.
As you know, Ruby likes the rocks. In the course of her rock studies she discovered that there is black paper underneath used to keep the weeds away. She also likes the paper and has made it her mission to remove as much of it as she can.
Several days went by and I didn’t notice the “gardening” she was doing. Now, almost all of the black paper is in the grass. As well as a few more rocks.
Some dogs bury their bones. Some hide them. Some dogs are diggers and others aren’t. You can see which category Ruby falls into. Of course.
When the ground is covered with snow it is amusing to watch her fling it aside, create little mounds, work off a little energy. When the snow is gone and the spring ground is wet, it is less amusing. MUCH less amusing.
I figured someone would have some advice about how to curb this habit so I went to my usual places. My neighbor with the puppy doesn’t have this problem so she was no help. The experts suggested creating a “digging area” such as a sandbox. That didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t want it to be a large litter box for the feral cats. Somewhere else I read that perhaps she’ll grow out of it… I think she’s grown into it. Her holes are larger each time and she can make one in a flash.