Saturday, May 7, 2011
Old dogs, new tricks: The hole truth
Ever since Ben padded into our home and hearts in May 2002, he has been a dream dog.
I say without exaggeration he was housebroken in a day (or two) and learned to sit, stay, lay down and shake hands in about 45 minutes. Ben never chewed anything other than his toys. He's never wandered from our (fenceless) backyard -- even when he sees his two- and four-legged BFFs -- unless invited. He continues to amaze us with his quiet intelligence -- from waking us up when he's going to be sick to locking himself in the bathroom on windy nights. I suspect he might have done the Number Two Son's homework once or twice as well.
He is loving, affectionate, protective, a gentle friend and confidante.
See? Dream dog.
Except for the three holes that have appeared in my daylily flower bed over the last year.
Ben has never been a digger. In the 10 years he's been with us, there's been nary a hole in the flowerbeds or lawn. Ben's more than happy to patrol the Back Forty for an errant squirrel or cat or follow sunspots for the perfect nap. His soccer and tennis balls keep him endlessly entertained.
So imagine our surprise, one day last summer, when we discovered this big boy perfectly carved out under the arbor vitae by the backdoor.
And a sheep dog with dirty paws to boot.
Ben looked suitably guilty and contrite when we scolded him and told him "No more digging!" But then proceeded to add a master suite last fall.
He looked convincingly reformed when we scolded him (again) and told him (again) "No more digging!" And then went ahead and added a guest room sometime earlier this spring.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Construction of the canine equivalent of Ben's man-cave has ground to a halt. My daylilies are making a noble effort to emerge from the piles of dirt and plant detritus Ben has flung all over the place.
And Ben? Even though it looks like he's dozing in the sun, paws twitching lazily, I think he's dreaming of (plotting) the next perfect hole.
Perfect dog. Hah.