Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pets in the Garden-In Trouble!

It has been awhile since I have mentioned our little pets here in Tennessee. Our newest addition to the gardens here in Tennessee is Bella. Bella is a five year old mixed dog. Who knows what she is mixed with, but she looks a lot like a rottweiler. She has the sweetest personality and is quite active. Isn't she cute? We are pet sitting her until my oldest daughter completes her Army training and can finally have her girl Bella back. I am not sure when that will be, but hope it is soon because guess what Bella likes to do?

See that dirty snout and face? She is a digger. She loves digging shrubs and goes back time and time again to the same hole to make sure she gets all the roots dug up and exposed. At least that is my feeling on the matter. She is a bad ole girl for doing so and I'll have to work on that habit. You can tell she is very ashamed of herself with those half closed eyes and guilty look.

Bella is also a bit bored when we are not at home. See what we came home to after a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge? It was not a happy time. This foam used to be a doggie bed for Link, but not anymore. Bad ole Bella! I think she did not want the old man Link to sleep comfortably, but that is okay since he is allowed on a chair.

Not to be outdone by all the dogs, Orkin, my sweet little orange tabby lives in the garden too. Here she decided to park herself inside one of my cages housing peonies. She is wondering why I am snapping her picture for sure. Isn't she cute too? What you don't see under this kitty, is the peony she is sitting on:(

I am not sure which is worse, dug up plants, torn doggie beds, or sat upon plants. What do you think? And what kinds of trouble have your pets caused....

in the garden....


  1. Good morning Tina, well, I may be biased in the favor of the kitty, but the dug up plants is the worst. Have you thought of crating her when you will be gone? I really have no ideas about that, but would not tolerate ripped furniture of any kind, you are a good mom to keep her, even though that face is sweet with the half closed eyes. We only have Hazel the plant eating cat and Kitty who can open doors to go outside, he even leaves them open so he can get back in! But he can't unlock them. HA
    Tired tired tired of this cold.

  2. Do I have trouble with pets in the garden? HA! I can sympathize with you about the digging, Spaz is a digger too. Knock on wood but I may have broken her of it. She also has broken shoots on plants in the excitement of chasing a squirrel through the garden. You are a good momma to babysit Bella.

  3. Bella is such a sweet looking fur baby. She is only doing what dogs do, dig! :) Orkin looks like she is in jail. Too funny. I have been watching CC and OJ playing in my yard this morning. They have just as much land and an entire horse pasture to play in but for some reason they prefer my yard as their playground! It is driving my cats nuts this morning as they are running from window to window watching the Cat Show....

    I was up early this morning as I could not sleep. Too much on my mind of what all I need to get done by this weekend with possible over night company.

    I am with you Frances, what is with this cold stuff this early? We have been below freezing the past 11 of 12 days and not normal for us here in GA. We normally only have a few days of freezing in all winter and it is just starting! Argggg, I fear it is going to be a long winter….

  4. I don't have any pets--but I do have a precious grand dog! Allie is the best--she helps me rake leaves, deadhead flowers, plant tulips...oh I could just go on and on......ha,ha,ha!!! But goodness how I love that dog!
    Your pictures are so cute, especially the one of Bella in trouble. :)

  5. Tina,

    I don't have dogs and I have an inside kitty....also a plant eating cat. But I can imagine your frustration.

    To add to Frances and Skeeter's comments...What is it with these freezing nights and mornings! It feels like zone 6a weather!


  6. As I sit thinking....thats pretty good, she could be digging in the cat spot! She is a generally well behaved dog, and looks pretty intimdating.

  7. Thankfully, we've been lucky with our dogs through the years--no terrible digging problems so far. Occasionally, one of our dogs will dig under a shrub to find a cool spot in which to lie during the summer, but if it isn't too bad, I let it go. Otherwise, if they are digging in a place I'd rather they didn't, I'll put down large rocks and that seems to discourage it. I also try to encourage other forms of entertainment--like balls, rope-tugging, and going for walks.

    We did have trouble for awhile with "separation anxiety" with the schnoodles, who would tear and chew things up while we were gone, but we crated them for a couple of weeks whenever we had to leave the house, or at night, and they settled down.

  8. I sympathise. Luckily I've only got three cats so I don't get the digging problem - at least not on a big scale. They do, however, have other annoying habits of their very own!

  9. Tina,

    Awww... they're both such cuties! I do empathize with your dilemma and have only a bit of advice given to me by a dog trainer friend.

    Your granddog is bored and probably suffering some separation anxiety. Bella IS so adorable! Just look at that sweet face. :-) The good news is that this is a temporary pet sitting arrangement.

    If you were close by, I'd loan you a nice, wire kennel crate for when Bella must be left alone. When used as a "dog house" instead of jail, dogs actually like the security.

    We used our crate for Charm for the first few weeks after we adopted her. Being a retired racing greyhound, Charm had lived her life in a kennel, so it wasn't a big deal to her.

    You could try giving Bella a Kong filled with goodies (like Peanut Butter) that entertains her for a long time--like before you leave her in the house.

    As for the separation anxiety for when you leave her alone...don't talk to her when you leave the house. Don't talk to her when you return. If she greets you enthusiastically, ignore her. Go about what you do when you get home (at least for 10 minutes), then you ask her to come to you. She's just worried when you leave and you need to show her that you don't need for her to worry about you.

    Hoping for the best!


  10. Good morning all!

    Frances, We may crate her the next trip. I didn't mention, but BJ is missing a big chunk of his cheek and I think he and Bella got too rambunctious. Your kitties sound so fun and smart but all I could think about is I hope Kitty doesn't leave the door open in the cold!

    Racquel, I figured Spaz would be giving you a run. What a pain they are sometimes! Bella is a good girl and basically my daughter's daughter, so she gets lots of love from us all. Hopefully she will go to her momma soon!

    Skeeter, Don't go to any trouble for us-okay? Plants in the room-I'll feel right at home. It is coming up soon! Orkin was so funny this day! The things she gets into. I still don't know why she got in this cage and just sat there.

    Linda, I seem to remember the granddog-your son's and he was on a trip to Australia? I remember how much fun you had with her. Want another? Just kidding:)

    Gail, Dogs are a whole other dimension in the garden, I much prefer the cats I think (except for BJ). I think this weather is normal. It is December. I kind of expect it this month and next. Don't much like it, but it is winter. Keep saying, "It is providing the cold to my peonies and bulbs for a massive spring bloom. Without this cold, no peonies and no bulbs. Bring on the cold!:)"

    Dawn, She is so intimidating looking for sure. Should've seen us bringing her down and everyone was scared when I would walk her. But what a sweetie. She is really good-but hyper. Can't wait to see her with Christine, who is doing very well.

    Susan T, I put big rocks and wire fence down on my hydrangea-and the silly dog moved outside of the area and still dug! Boy I tell you, those pets. You know they are so worth it for the companionship and it sounds like you have some good ones. I do have a large crate and I think I may bring it out. My daughter said it is okay. Otherwise I will be worried whenever we leave. Since we've been back though she has been good. Just bored like you said I guess. My thoughts are with you all. I do hope everything is okay.

    Easygardener, Welcome! I see you all the time on Blotanical so I am very honored you stopped by here. Hmmm, I am wondering, what possible annoying habits can those cats have? What would the cats say? I love kitties. Not sure if they have a bigger spot or the dogs, I think the dogs. Guess I have to deal with their habits then. Sigh.

    Cameron, Thanks so much. Bella is a sweet dog. My daughter got her as a pup 5 years ago and diligently worked to train her to be perfect-or almost so. The good thing we have going is Christine did WARN me on Bella's digging. That helped. I may crate her and do so appreciate your offer of a crate. Charm is your dog's name? And a greyhound? I bet she gives the deer a run for their money!

  11. Bella is adorable. I guess you can't get too mad at her with a face like that - even a dirty one. Poor Link - where's he gonna sleep now?

    My dog loves to dig up and roll in poop. Usually right after she's been groomed. Charming, huh?

  12. Wow, what a mess that sweet Bella made! I've had friends whose dogs acted out when they were upset --maybe she was worried when she was alone? Me, being the non-pet owner aren't quite sure what to think of the kitty in the cage, hahaha. She does look quite content though:) Another brisk day --busy yesterday too. Hope all are doing well --see ya later! Ciao!

  13. Yup, Bella likes to dig and my yard has had many BIG holes from when Christy lived here and even after she got her own place and would come and visit and would bring Bella. Bella is hyper and always has been but she is a sweetie and Christy has done a great job with her. She also will tear all the stuffing outta her toys if there is a little hole. She just loves pulling foam out of things. Right about now I would trade you pet sitting Christy's 4 cats for Bella. With 4 of them and they being inside cats, I have to scoop the litter boxes 2 times a day. Since they are on different types and amounts of food I have to sit with them 2 times a day and make sure they only eat what goes to the right cat. Be glad when it is over!! But am very proud of what Christy is doing. What we don't do for loved ones!!!! Sure am glad Terri-Lynn took the terror Compost or I'd still have 5. You know we have at least 4 more months to go and chances are good it could be a year, longer if she gets sent overseas. Oh what terrible thoughts I can come up with:( I thought Elizabeth was going to take Bella to graduation with her. Has that changed?

    Orkin is also a cutie pie!!

  14. I forgot to say but it is good to see Bella up close as I do miss seeing her.

  15. JGH, She is sweet, I guess I should go easy on her. Linky gets an armchair now. Lucky dog he is! Your dog-yuck! What is it with dogs?!

    Anonymous, The Ciao gives you away each time-good thing for us! The kitty is funny. She is a hoot at times! She hates Bella which is a funny thing, loves BJ (who quakes when she comes around). Hard to judge animals at times. It is a brisk day, calling for more cold tomorrow after the rain. I am relaxing today-and it feels so great! Actually, I have one more exam then breathe easy, but staying in is relaxing. Have a great day with the kiddos!

    Mom, You are SO good to take all those cats. I will surely take Bella over the cats and scooping any day so I got the good end of the deal, especially with having the other dogs. I am just glad Bella gets along with everyone. Yup, what we do for our loved ones and you know best. Hopefully Christine will get these critters back soon, but if not, we are prepared-you too I think. Compost hasn't slowed down? Bad ole girl. Hopefully she does and Terri is good for taking her. Liz is not taking Bella to graduation, Bella will be fine here and it is no fun traveling with the critters. Christine will be back here soon enough visiting with her girl. I can't wait to see how she reacts to seeing her mommy soon. Bella is so different from my dogs, in addition to being hyper, she is not a dog you can sit and pet, like the goldens. Of course we don't pet the Stinker much. It has made me so much more committed to the goldens it's not funny. A good experience.

  16. Tina,

    OMG! I know Bella is a digger, but that is just obnoxious. Christine had her down to be a Rottwiler, German Shepherd, Collie Mix. The looks of a Rottie, the stance of the Shepherd, and the energy of the Border Collie. Other than the digging thing, she is a great dog and I always enjoyed my time with her.

    And cats. Cats are just as mischevious as dogs. They just hide it better.

  17. No real problems from pets here-once in a while the cat uses the garden as her litter box, but that's not too bad. I would crate the dog or at least put her in a bathroom etc. while you are away. As for out side...leash!

  18. Tina, you have your hands full don't you? We just have one inside cat who likes to eat pointy leaves (like spider plants) and then throw up (always on the carpent, never on the linoleum, why is that?).
    But we will always love these cute faces just the same, won't we.

  19. Hi, Tina--I stopped by your blog to check the following thing and had to weigh in on the pets. I agree that you should crate her when you're gone (or contain her in a room where she can't do much damage), with toys she enjoys--Kongs are great. As for digging, the only way to control it is to go outside with her and scold her or distract her when she starts--dogs learn better when you reinforce (or NOT) what they're doing, not when they have to figure things out after the fact. Anyway, the pictures and the pets are adorable--lucky Bella to have you!

    (My word verification in "luvve"--seems appropriate!)

  20. When I 1st read the title of this post, I thought it said "Pests in the Garden." But then I've always believed the difference between a pet & a pest is only the letter "s." My Borzoi used to run, hell for leather, through the garden after the squirrels. After she broke an Oakleaf Hydrangea for the 3d time, I moved the shrub. She also used to like to lay in the Hostas at my old garden. Of course I still miss her.
    I agree with the suggestion that Bella is having separation anxiety problems and is bored. Boredom is often expressed by digging. One way to break a dog of a bad habit, such as digging, is to use a shake can. You fill an empty pop can with screws, bolts, or nails. Then you hide. When you see her digging, you toss the can near her. She gets startled by the can but doesn't associate it w/ you. If you do this every time she digs, eventually she will stop digging, even when you're not around. (At least that's the theory.) Good luck.

  21. Cats are much more garden-friendly than dogs. You're wonderful parents to babysit such a bad doggie - and at such a cost!
    When my daughter was younger and had a dog, I returned home one day to find the dog had dismembered my daughter's favorite Raggedy Ann doll. I barely managed to put the corpse and parts into a paper bag before the kid got home from school.
    Fortunately, the doll hospital was able to repair the doll, who still has a place of honor on her bed. Looks like your dog's bed however, will have to go to dog bed heaven, if there is such a place.

  22. I truly sympathize with you on this. I have a huge bear of a dog (english mastiff) who adores being in the garden with me, problem is..he doesn't appear to understand the concept of paths whether cement or dirt, he simply walks through the garden every time. He also enjoys sitting on plants-but the most heartbreaking thing that happened was this year. i had this gorgeous blue delphinium which was so incredibly healthy and tall and it was just on the verge of blooming its head off when one day he walked over it and broke it off at the dirt level...OMG I wanted to cry. And the cat..he insists on running through the garden and hiding so that the mastiff chases him, trampling everything in his path..this is when he isn't using the garden as his litter box. So..I so understand. i've got no advice as I myself have not been able to control my own pets..LOL

  23. For me it's more like: what don't my pets get into in the garden. If there's new dirt, they dig. If there's a dog bed in the house, as you described, they eat it. If there's something new, they're on it in a heartbeat. But I love all my pets: kitties and doggies and fishies!

  24. Yamaotoko, You described this girl perfectly! Now I know what she is. A good dog all in all I guess. You are so right about the cats too:)

    Beckie, All great ideas for this girl. She will hopefully calm down for me.

    Cindy, Yes, I love them all but what a chore to feed them all! The rabbits/cat/birds/and now four dogs. Sigh. It is okay. We must love em for sure. Was it sunny today? I hope so as I fear some snow is headed your way. Stay warm!

    Cosmo, Thanks so much. I appreciate the help. It was driving me crazy but it is the same on all blogs I fear. Pets are great aren't they? My one little dog doesn't make think so when he bugs me like he is now. Bad dog is NOT allowed in the computer room.

    MMD, You got it exactly! I never thought of that-Pest-Pet-works for me. Your poor hydrangea, but it is so nice that your dog knew how much you loved her. I'll work with Bella a bit.

    WS, I agree cats are so much more garden friendly. I don't even mind the cat using the gardens as a litter box. Beats cleaning one inside. Your daughter's poor Raggedy! I hope my sister doesn't read this as she loves Raggedy Ann. Glad she was fixable.

    Rhonda, With a huge mastiff I think you do good to even garden! My goodness what a bunch of a dog and no wonder the delphinium did not stand a chance. Sounds like fun at your house.

    Brenda, It is clear from your blog how much you love your pets. They are lucky pets to have such a loving home and quite beautiful (think Nemo:). I do hope Robert got the opening closed up since it is so cold.

  25. I have to say, Heidi, our 5 year old yellow lab does a pretty good job staying out of the flower beds everywhere, except for the back yard, now that the flowers have died down. There is gravel all over the back yard, including the planting areas. The short little fences are not keeping her out. When we first got her she was quite a digger, and she still does a little, but so far it's just dirt she's digging.

    Now, the squirrels under the bird feeder have scratched out whatever plants were growing there. I told DH we need to move the feeder, as my beds are not wide enough to have bare dirt there!

    I hope things are going better with your grand dog!

  26. Bella is cute but definitely a bad doggie. Our dog is a digger too. She has dug holes under the picnic table and if I plant anything new in the yard she knows and digs it up.

  27. Oh dear, those cute pets are creating a lot of havoc aren't they? Mine can get into quite a bit of trouble too ~ my dog more so than my cat. It's hard to get mad at them tho, they're so lovable and cute.

  28. Sue, I don't have a lab, but a golden lab and I think these dogs are the best! You have reaffirmed it by saying your 5 year old has gotten better. Time seems to make dogs perfect for sure. One thing I found to keep the dogs from my gardens (except Bella of course), is to either raise the bed or line it with rocks with a trench. It is easier for them to go around. But I do also use short fences. Now on to those birds...

    Dot, What can we do with those dogs? They can be trifling at times.

    Kathleen, I keep telling myself they are so cute so how can I get mad? But