Minnie is my dog and, like all dog lovers, I consider her my youngest child - more like a grandchild, considering my indulgence towards her. She can do almost anything and I don't get upset at all! Lucky she is a good dog, even a garden helper and a hunter.
When I first found her and took her in from the field near our house, she was very shy and scared. She didn't even bark for a few weeks. But both me and my husband were patient with her and showed her how much we loved her, so she became, day by day, the master of our yard. She stays anywhere she wants, even though she has a crate. She digs everywhere, searching for moles or mice, or for burying her bones and toys.
At first, I thought I should make a fence around my small flower garden, so Minnie won't crush them all. After the fence was made, I realized that Minnie could easily jump over it into the garden. I thought, after all, what harm could a small doggie like her do? I have so many plants and they grow more and more every year, so what Minnie breaks off today, will grow bigger the next summer. And Minnie proved to be a smart dog, who understands when I say 'No!' or 'Get out of the garden!', so what more can I say? She has now full access anywhere in my yard and in the flower garden so she takes advantage of it every day.
Since summers have become hotter and hotter every year, Minnie's well-fare became my first priority, besides the plants in the garden. I don't forget to fill her water pot every day with fresh water, because the magpies and sparrows frequently spill it. They have their own water can, but for some reason they think Minnie's water tastes better.
When I come back home from the office at noon, I see Minnie coming out from the garden and jumping the fence - how else? She runs to welcome me and to get her pat on the head. I go inside and leave her waiting in front of the door, because she knows a treat is coming - a bagel or a piece of bread, not much, but she anxiously waits for it. She gets the treat and goes to eat it at her special place on the lawn.
I've been wondering, where does she come from, when jumping the fence from the garden? Sometimes I can see some broken stems out there, but not always, so where did she stay? She must have found a cool place, somewhere, maybe under the fir tree? It's not that easy for me to get in there - because of the crowded plants and trees, but when I did, I found Minnie's special place. It's under the fir tree, where she dug a hole big enough to hold her. Was I mad? Noooo...but I said a few blue words and then resigned! Have I told anything to my husband? Noooo, or otherwise he would have made me go in there right away and fill up the hole, so the roots won't get hurt - I'm sure that's what he would have said!
But that isn't the only cool spot Minnie has arranged for herself during the hot summer days. She also found the other fir tree - the one I have in the backyard - and she dug a big hole under that one, too. Again, no word to my husband, who is particularly fond of those fir trees and it would be very hard to convince him that they aren't hurt, because they are very tall and large and their roots are deeply buried into the ground, so that a small hole won't hurt them a bit.
During the years, I've learned that Minnie has a particular cool spot for each time of the day, considering where the shadow is, but also, if I am home or not. Whenever I am at home and stay downstairs, she likes to stay on the terrace, in front of the door. When I'm at the office, she stays under the fir tree in the front, so she can greet me when I come back home. When it's too hot even under the fir tree, where I'm not watering too often, she finds a cool spot inside the ditch lilies. For some reason, those lilies keep the ground cooler and their leaves are smoother than the plain ground, that's for sure. I have lilies in a few places around the garden, but Minnie didn't leave any of them untouched and she made quite a mess everywhere. She has a crate inside every ditch lily bed I think she might have heard me saying something about flower bed and that started her!
The thujas, which now have grown into large and tall trees, have large and good cool spots underneath where Minnie finds a good shelter. The oldest, which I trim every spring into a living fence, are the largest and the bushiest. For Minnie, that is her storm shelter, when we're not at home; otherwise we're taking her inside during any storm, because she is very afraid of thunder and lightning.
Minnie has a few stray doggie friends outside on my street (read 'field'). They are also searching for cool spots, which are many around the house and on the field. For some reason, they prefer the tall grass, where they sleep all day long, even if it is in full sun.
When the grass gets too dry, they search for cool spots near the fence and they move around with the shadow. One of their favorite spots is behind Minnie's crate, under this umbrella I made from a trumpet vine. Thus, they can stay near their friend and also in the shadows.
This is also messy for my garden, because by keeping the grass so close to my fence, it crawls inside my flower beds, from under the fence and that means more work for me. The strays also have crates, which I made for them, yet they do not use them during the summer, same as Minnie. I know that their nature call is powerful, so they ancestrally know what to do when they are hot. However, I can help them more by wetting their head with some cold water, which cools them off a bit. A vet told me about that and I hope he knew what he was talking about. So far, so good, no complaints from the dogs! Some days, when I come back home from the office, the dogs are all waiting for me, to fill their water pots and to water their heads. Minnie isn't that obedient though, when it comes to flea drops or watering her head. She runs away when she senses what I am going to do to her. How does she know that? I have no clue, only that she is very smart, and she can see the water in my hand. I find it hard to be smarter than her and convince her to come to me...for watering her head, when I know very well that she doesn't even like bath. But she comes, because she trusts me and she knows I wouldn't harm her in any way, no matter what she does. And my garden stands witness of it!