Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Doggy Days of Summer

It’s another hot one out there. I have two forlorn looking dogs who gleefully run outside when I first open the door and then they stop and turn and look at me accusingly as if to say, “mummy, why did you make it so hot!”

Then they come in and flop down on the linoleum because it’s cooler and they’re sulking.

They don’t move much when it’s hot, even when the air conditioning is on. I’m trying to figure out if this is normal behavior or they’re getting lazy in their old age. They’re now a year and a half old so they’re technically not puppies although there are times when they still behave like they are.

Mostly, their puppy behavior is when they’re outside. I love to watch them run across the yard. There’s nothing that makes me grin more than when one of my little dachshunds sees me and comes running towards me. Watching dachshunds run is just funny because they have short little legs and such long bodies. It’s an endearing thing especially when they look like their grinning.

They also have a bit of a bad habit of running across my vegetable garden. I’ve tried to protect the plants with tomato cages and stakes but those aren’t much of a deterrent when a rabbit, chipmunk or squirrel has been spotted. No, those little furry critters are like crack to a dachshund and nothing else matters, especially not my tomato plants.

This is why I have one less tomato plant and another that is hanging on for dear life, protected by a tomato cage but still looking rather wilty. I even planted my veggies with a fairly wide berth for the Dachshund Race Track but, alas, it is to no avail.

Speaking of the Dachshund Race Track…fellow dog owners, do your canines also have a set route at which they run around the garden? My two girls have a very specific path that they take from the back door all the way around the garden. They don’t deviate from this path, no matter how fast they run. This is why their paws have worn the path into the grass and my vegetable garden and around the tool shed. My parents’ dogs also have a path so I’m wondering if this is usual.

Anyway, back to my tomatoes. They often get banged about by my little pets. I’m hoping this won’t damage them. I’m all about tomatoes this year. My mother kindly gave me quite a few plants for my garden. The only thing is that she grows several kinds- large and cherry sized but she doesn’t label the pots so I never quite know what type of tomatoes I’ll get until they actually appear on the vines. It’s quite nice- a tomato grab bag if you will. However, last year, I ended up with almost all cherry tomatoes so just in case, I went to this nifty nursery by my house and got a few larger heirloom tomato plants. I adore heirloom tomatoes. They’re yummy. They’re summery. They also incredibly pricy if you buy them from a store or even a farmer’s market.

Thus, I’m trying to grow my own. I just hope they survive the onslaught of the pups.

I’m also growing peppers. I have several healthy plants that already have some fruit on them. The other day, I noticed that a couple of my plants were not looking so healthy and the bottom leaves were dying. I couldn’t figure out why since I make sure they have ample water.

Then yesterday, I went outside and discovered that Sookie was laying happily beside one of the suffering pepper plants and was chomping on the leaves. I’m not sure what about the leaves appeals to her but she seemed quite engrossed in her nibbling. So far, the plants look like they’ll survive but they have less leaves below than they did before.

My dogs are strange in their tastes. Rory has become super finicky with food. She only eats chicken and duck treats. She doesn’t like bacon whether it be the doggie kind or the human kind. She likes pork chop bones but not the pork. She likes peaches and blueberries but doesn’t want to eat dog food.

I know, I should really feed her human food but it’s a bad habit that I shouldn’t have started. I still make them eat their regular dog food but I’m one of the bad dog owners who feeds them table scraps. This is actually becoming much easier now that Rory’s palate has become so fussy.

Sookie, on the other hand, will try anything. She doesn’t like everything but she’ll give it a whirl. She’s not the fruitarian that her sister is and doesn’t care much for peaches or blueberries. She likes the chewbones that have granola on them and will happily munch for hours picking off each piece of granola while her sister prefers the chewbones that are rawhide with a filling in the middle.

Sorry to blog about my dogs again but, like children, they show you something new every day. Today, they showed me that they’re now taking it rather personally that it’s so hot outside and even though they don’t really want to go for a walk, they’ll sulk until I take them on one and then, as soon as we’re twenty feet from the house, they’ll sulk because they’re hot.

There’s really no winning. It’s just the same when it rains. I get accusatory looks for that too- they run outside, stop dead in their tracks as they realize it’s wet and then they trot back inside, giving me the glare of disapproval.

Still, for all their temperamental, vegetable bashing, pepper-leaf chewing behavior, when we’re laying in bed in the morning right before the alarm goes off and I have a dachshund under each arm, snuggled up against me or when Sookie spots me and comes running across the garden with glee to throw herself up against me for a cuddle. ..it’s worth every chewed pepper leaf.

Of course, I may reconsider that if they start on the heirloom tomatoes but that’s if we ever get that far and they haven’t knocked them all over.

Happy Wednesday!

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