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Great, just great!

Gardens, dogs, they're all great!
Gardens are great...just not for dogs. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Isn’t it great to get hands back into the earth and see the garden growing? Whether you have fields, flower boxes or gardens to tend, it does a heart good to break into the rich brown soil. Of course, getting your hands into the earth is not so great if a cat has recently squatted there or a dog has deposited some toothsome treat beneath the crust.

We don’t have outside cats, but I know how unpleasant that can be, and as for the dog problem, sit back and let me tell you about it.

Exiting my house this past week, I noticed my flower beds had been ripped up. Fresh dirt had been dug and piled right where I’d planted the precious tulip bulbs I’d faithfully carried home from Holland. Blast!

My eyes narrowed upon Chili, the family dog and bane of my existence. Well, not really the bane, but a few of her escapades are hard to forget; things like the day she methodically chewed a gaping hole into the drywall beside her bed, or the afternoon she took a leisurely dump, the size of a small badger, on my newly purchased area rug.

She looked back at me, tail wagging, the picture of innocence and good humour. I found my trowel and bent to investigate. It didn’t take much effort to reveal the shinbone of a recently deceased cow hidden in a shallow grave amongst the mangled remains of my tulips. Great.

Then, as I was working the dirt in a large tub by the house, my trowel hit upon another obstacle. I’d been transplanting petunias and hadn’t bothered with my gloves. Oh, how I wish I had. Fishing about in the soft earth, I grabbed what felt like an article of clothing. Granted, it was furry…

“Argh!” I screeched, tossing the flattened remains of a partially chewed gopher high into the air. Double great.

Chili and my brother’s dog Gibson often get in scrapes together. Several times we’ve had to fetch them from one place or another.

This past winter, as I was driving my school bus home after work, I glanced toward the house of a new neighbour in our area. I observed Chili and Gibson frolicking about in the field beside their garage. Drat. Those dogs were up to it again. Angrily I laid on the horn, knowing if Chili saw the bus, she’d run for home.

Honk, honk, honk! I leaned on it loud and long, but the dogs paid not the slightest attention. Instead, they gambled in the snow, bowling one another over and moving onto the front lawn to continue their fun.

With increasing annoyance, I yanked the vehicle to the side of the road and slammed open my window.

“YOU BLOODY DOGS, GET HOME,” I hollered at the top of my lungs. They paused to gaze at me with mild interest. “GET HOME,” I screamed, punctuating my sentence with further honking.

It was then that the homeowner strode into view, lifting his arms in a time-honoured gesture that clearly said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

And it was then I realized they weren’t our dogs. The new neighbours owned two almost identical hounds to ours.

Triple great.

Helen lives on the family farm near Marshall, Saskatchewan, where she works as an author, columnist, and in education. Find her online at There, you can learn more about her humorous Prairie Wool Books, or newly released fantasy series, Runestaff Chronicles.