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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.