Dear Mister Smelly Dog...

Dear Rusty, Mister Smelly Old Dog, a bit lazy, a bit slow, sometimes a bit of a needy nuisance. Let me reaffirm what a wonderful dog you are. You are such a good dog. So well-behaved! Soooooooo good.

Tuesday 8th December

While gardening today we disturbed a mother duck with six teenage-sized ducklings. 'No' I bellowed, and yes - Rusty stood still while the ducklings scattered into the garden and the mother squawked in fright.

 He loves his tennis ball.
Rusty the Dog

Young Winnie, however, chased the duck, intent on catching (and killing, I guess). And she didn't stop when I called her. She wouldn't come back to me.

As it happens, Mrs Duck got away, and gardening is temporarily suspended until order is restored and she floats back down the water race, collects up her family, and moves on to a safer place. Winnie is in disgrace in her kennel - not for her instinctive dog behaviour, but for being a brainy one-year-old Border Collie and choosing to disobey my orders. MY ORDERS! The alpha female, totally ignored.

 By the pond.
Winnie and Henri Martin Roses


And while I'm on a dog rant, let me tell you about yesterday. Yesterday was the Naughtiest Dogs' Day ever. It ended with me escorting two not-listening, reluctant, stinking dogs back across the neighbour's paddock. Winnie and Escher had been 'visiting' a distant dead sheep. Gross!

Dear Rusty, benign dog of eleven mature years, is far too old and wise for this anti-social and dangerous behaviour. He doesn't jump or push himself through the boundary fences. Rusty stays on my property and comes faithfully when I call him. He is my old-dog hero.

The saddest thing? Dodgy dog behaviour gets me in a bad mood and puts me off gardening. I enjoy pottering around in a dream, and I don't like being constantly on edge. Where's Escher got to? Where's Winnie? It's easier to abandon tools in a semi-sulk, retreat with the dogs into the house, shut all the doors, and poke at the jigsaw. So sad!

 No irrigation on this.
The Frisbee Lawn is Dry

Yesterday I did lots of watering and trimming things, as the garden moves into summer. Parts of the garden are desperately dry. The Aquilegias are over, so are most of the foxgloves, and now it's the Delphiniums' turn. Still the roses bloom on and on, and many of the so-called later ones are now in full flower. Others need complete dead-heading.

And of course I'm finding lots of weeds and forget-me-nots, and can easily fill the wheel barrow in ten minutes. That is when I'm not retrieving naughty dogs from next-door. Grr... Right. I'm off to do a duck-check. Cross fingers. I hate it when garden creatures get killed.

Wednesday 9th December

Again we are off to the dog park. My dogs need to appreciate how terribly nice I am doing this every morning. Is this too much to ask? I do it for their happiness and their social lives. And in return... I expect them to have... A Good Dogs Day, all day.

Thursday 10th December

Aha! First the dog park. All the dogs are getting ready for Christmas. They have Christmas clothes - some are going to dress up as reindeer, others are Santas, and there are a couple of fluffy little elves. The little dogs are going one by one to the groomers so they will look their best. Mister Smelly Old-Dog goes to his groomer on Monday.

 In the archway.
Bantry Bay Rose

The Inner Dog?

When we came home from the dog park I attached big Escher to a long lead on a stake. I tried to explain that he hadn't been naughty - rather, it would ensure that his good inner dog would remain dominant. Too deep? Anyway, I was able to weed the Island Bed - hello Forget-Me-Nots and Wandering Willy (Cleavers) and listen to the first session of the cricket. So sweet - the other dogs always lie down with Escher when he's tied up.

Disheartening but I'm On Top of It : There are colonies of weeds to remove from the top-soil compost added to this garden over winter. And I reckon the birds have spread the Wandering Willy everywhere. Everywhere! As usual, I am blameless...

Heartening : Escher did a really good thing when we went over to the pond for a swim. He jumped in and scooped up a stray duckling. Then he brought it to me, dropped it on command, and it was unhurt. Phew!

Friday 11th December

Dear Rusty! We have come home from the vet with an additional course of arthritis treatment. But oh boy am I proud of myself. I can tick the weight-loss box, and the vet was pleased with my deluxe telescoping pet ramp and my exercise 'restraints'. Rusty carries his own tennis ball around in his mouth at the dog park, and this stops him being too silly.

 On the dry Frisbee Lawn.
Rusty Resting

Dear dog. I hope your general pain level goes down and you have a better quality of life. Just take care, and no silly running or grass slaloms, please!