Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Digging-est Dog ...



Who scatters the newly planted wallflowers all over the lawn ? Who tramples down the newly emerged hostas in the spring ? It isn't garden pixies, or an errant child, but our gardening dog, Gus. Ever exuberant, ever youthful and ever irritating, Gus is always on hand to help rearrange the flowerbeds.


He is ten years old, at an age when most dogs have acquired a stately dignity, but he is still in full on puppy - mode. Rather than snoozing on the sofa, he is to be found pressing his nose against the window, crying to come out and join me in the borders.

His favourite garden job is digging and I have to say he is remarkably proficient. Undiscerning, but proficient. His favourite place to dig is in the greenhouse because it is warm and the digging is easy.
He unplants my young tomato plants and I replant them. I build an enormous Gus-proof barrier to stop him getting in, and he bulldozes his way through it.


Gus isn't fussy where he digs though, it can be in the middle of the lawn, or the middle of a flowerbed.

He never digs through the winter, when, to be honest, it wouldn't be a problem, because he is too busy playing at snowploughs, turning into a snowdog or paddling in puddles.



Yep! That black splodge is him ! Making like a snowplough !

The urge to dig begins, for him in spring and coincides with the start of new growth, which , of course, causes maximum damage to tender emerging shoots.


When he is excited, which is pretty much constantly, it is never enough to wag his tail, like other sensible dogs do. No. his preferred way of demonstrating delight is to career round the whole garden in wild circles, cornering precariously, and trampling everything underfoot.

However, I rarely see his face when he is out in the garden, as, more often than not, all I can see is his big black tail and rear end, as his head is either buried in a hole he is digging, or squeezed under the gate to get a glimpse of any passing dogs.


If not digging, he can be found rolling, waving all four legs exuberantly in the air, as he wriggles enthusiastically on anything smelly and usually dead.

We spend a lot of time bathing him and experimenting with shampoos and conditioners to find one which will render him sweet - smelling!

Would I change him ? Never. Exasperating, over enthusiastic and clumsy perhaps, but the most fantastic companion, even if he does squash the flowers when he comes to sit next to me as I work.





51 comments:

  1. You have made me fall in love with your Gus. We always overindulge those we love, right?

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    1. Ricki, I even forgive him for the ruined wallflowers !!

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  2. Always love to see a dog having a good life. You must be champs at the dog bathing ritual-no easy task.

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  3. Lovely post and made me smile - thank you. What a funny boy he is - such character in those photos!

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  4. He is a character Ali ! Larger than life ! It can be exhausting!

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  5. He is a handsome dude. No wonder you can tolerate him. I had a loving lab that was the same. He did finally slow down and become a more dignified old dog. Best of luck.

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    1. Hi Lisa. I had officially abandoned all hope of him settling down,but your tale has given me hope!

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  6. Your Gus makes our Murphy seem like an Angel!!
    We couldn't help but smile at the first two photos, I can understand why you love him despite his digging.

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    1. Hi Brian, Gus makes most other dogs seem like angels!

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  7. Dear Jane, what a homage to your dog! Judging from the photos Gus seems to be a very sweet boy and I am glad that you don't want to change him, even though his digging is a little bit, aaaehm, overly enthusiastic? We have a rescue Doberman since 10 month now and he has enriched our life so much. We simply love him and can't imagine being without him anymore. As a matter of fact we are even thinking of getting a second dog.
    Wishing you a nice Sunday!
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, second dog ? Think I can help you there ... ten years old, black, likes digging ...

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  8. I love this, Jane. And that first photo of Gus shows a dog who is guilty as charged and not worried about it.

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  9. Hi Cynthia and thanks! Guilty guilty guilty and couldn't care less! The evidence is all over his silly face!

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  10. You are so tolerant Jane - I guess love conquers all. (although I had a good laugh when I read your offer to Christina who is thinking of getting a second dog!I must say I have a similar problem on a smaller scale with Potter. She tries to dig under the deck, fortunately the lavender bush is very tough and well established and seems to survive the onslaught.

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  12. Hi Sue, I do get exasperated with him from time to time, especially as his 'sister' Ruby (border collie) never puts a paw wrong! Good luck with Potter and her attempts at decking!

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  13. OK, this confirmed my desire to have a dog. I have two elderly cats now and a husband who doesn't want a dog, but I'm hoping he'll change his mind. While I want my sweet kitties to live forever, I know that isn't possible. When it's their time to go, I'm hoping it will be time to adopt a sweet puppy. I know it's tons of work, but my kids are grown up and may even be able to help me. Plus, maybe a dog will help me chase away the overabundance of chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits in the garden. Gus is a little sweetie, even if he makes more garden work for you. :)

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    1. Gus will be delighted that he has convinced you to become a dog owner ! The extra work is well worth it , and I bet no chipmunk, squirrel or rabbit will set foot in your garden again!

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  14. Hi Jane, I'm in love! Gus is so cute! He has such enthusiasm for life.....he must make you smile a lot! His fur looks like it can hold all sorts of sticks, leaves and dirt.....bathing must be a project, but, so worth it. There's nothing like a good dog.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind words. Happy Gardening!

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  15. Hi FF, you're right - there is nothing like a good dog ... and Gus is NOTHING like a good dog!! :-) He is, however, full of character and fun and love!

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  16. Hahaha... you have a garden helper!

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  17. Taking care of the garden as only a good dog can do ;-) I can't say much - Betty came terribly near smashing my just-planted rare (or at least uncommon - is there a difference?) Vernonia yesterday... still not sure it will bounce back... the Vernonia, that is, there's no doubt about Betty! Dogs are great! After all, she was only giving me an enthusiastic greeting :) All the best to Gus!

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    1. Hi Amy,I think Gus and Betty must be related! All the best to her !!

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  18. Dogs! My solution has been to post and rail the orchard and add stock fencing in an attempt to save my flower and shrub beds. Not a resounding success as each of them find a hole or way out. This time of year is taken up eating and fighting over the biggest aspple srop for over 20 years.

    I was warmed by your lovely photos much of which I recognise myself in my garden. They absolutely love snow do they not??

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    1. Thank you for comments, David. Ah, the apple crop! We had a lovely G.S.P. years ago who always had a windfall in her mouth, which she would drop on to our knees, for us to throw. There was a seemingly never-ending supply of windfalls, so the game had no end !!

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  19. As they say. :Lock you partner and the dog in the shed for 4 hours and see who is happier to see you when you come back!! Dog wins unconditionally every time.

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    1. Hmmm! Might have a tidy shed at the end of the 4 hours so definitely worth considering, whether the partner is happy or not!

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  20. Such fun, you must love him very much! My old dog, long gone now, used to help in the garden too, but at least she helped to carry the tools back to the shed afterwards!

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    1. Hi pauline, I do love him ... most of the time !! What a clever dog yours was to help you to tidy up!

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  21. He sounds rather wonderful - expensive on the plants, but wonderful!

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    1. Hi janet, rather wonderful ... and rather naughty too!

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  22. Absolutely lovely photographs. You can't help but love him can you?

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    1. Thanks Sue. Mostly I love him... sometimes not so much !!

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  23. Awww, I absolutely love this post, I've chuckled all the way through, especially at the photo of his gorgeous face all covered in snow. Archie isn't a digger at all, he used to snaffle under ripe tomatoes off my plants when he was a puppy as well as decapitating my flowers, but he grew out of those naughty habits. He is like Gus in one way though, he loves rolling around in anything smelly! As you say, they're such great companions though, we wouldn't be without them.

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    1. Hi Jo, Archie looks like a real sweetie! Can't believe he is a closet tomato snaffler !

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  24. He's gorgeous! I love the photo of him with snow all over his face. We once had a dog who would dig in the garden and tear up our loo rolls. His huge redeeming feature was that he would fetch us beer. The can would be a bit drooly, but you can forgive an awful lot of a dog who makes sure you have a drink in your hand.

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    1. Hi Sarah, now you're talking! I wonder if I could teach Gussie to wield a corkscrew...

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  25. Gus is such a playful sweetheart :) Except for the digging I bet he is the best companion ever! Hi Jane, thank you for your comments on my blog, it's so nice to meet you.

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    1. Hi Rosemary, 'playful' is a very kind way to describe his digging antics! Nice to meet you too, and I enjoyed my visit !

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  26. Could hire him out as a Rotavator:-)

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    1. Hi Rick, I think I could give up the day job if I did that, as it is what Gus was born to do. He could also offer a snowplough service during the winter months!

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  27. My Blackie one of my threee Hooligans is an evil twin to Gus. She is on a mission to eliminate all critters. Levi and Patches were covered in red clay mud earlier this week and I with my work schedule haven't been able to go and see what they got into. Levi had so much mud on him that his underground fence collar control had a half inch caked around it. And he's normally not my digger. Hope to venture out today and see what damage was done. Happy New Year.

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    1. You have my sympathy! Red clay sounds as if it is difficult to wash out of dog fur !
      Happy new year to you !

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  28. Training our dogs and preventing them from digging stuff takes time, that is a given. But with enough patience and attention, you will be able to produce a well-behaved fur baby. I did it myself. You can also learn supplemental information from this article: http://dogsaholic.com/training/how-to-keep-dogs-from-digging.html

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  29. A good pitbull master is one who knows the breed and handles the dog properly. Pitbulls do not tend to be friendly toward other canines even though they like people. dog videos

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  30. In creature covers, Rescue Remedy for canines and felines helps their restoration. Taken off alone either in the wild or wandering the city, the two felines and puppies will return to their non domesticated states. https://www.homyden.com/spittlebug-control-identify-prevent-get-rid-spittlebugs/

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I really welcome comments and have learned much from them, over the years of leaning over the virtual garden gate ...