We have a great back garden for our dogs.
|As demonstrated by our two lazy volunteers|
It's spacious, it's full of interesting shrubs and plants, there are toys and balls and squeaky things that can keep even the most finicky dog entertained for hours. There's even a little kennel round the corner my parents bought for Bingo, even though he never really goes in there. It's a pretty good yard. Unfortunately, thanks to the dogs, it can sometimes look like a World War One trench thanks to the dogs absolutely tearing the grass up. My dad often talks about the red hot poker flowers that used to be the highlight of the more colourful plants in the garden, now long destroyed by the star of this blog. He would always moan about how dogs were supposed to be colourblind. Ah well, dogs chew up stuff, that's just part of the package of owning a dog really. No big deal.
|All because Mollie dreams of a world without apples|
We also used to have a TON of birds frequent the garden on a daily basis, much to my dad's (my dad is a nerd) delight. From bluetits to sparrowhawks, my back garden really was a cornucopia of all creatures great and small. Mainly small. That is, until we got dogs. Now there are very rarely any animals stupid enough to come within ten feet of the little tornado with teeth we all know as Mollie, but you do get a few contenders now and again who dare to brave it for a few crumbs or seeds, or whatever birds like.
These things come very naturally to most dogs, but especially so with Mollie. I sometimes think it's a great waste having her as a pet, because, for all her trolling, she would make an excellent hunting dog. It's what she was bred for. As you will no doubt read with my tales about the various rabbits she's caught over the years, Mollie is very good at hunting. Bingo, not so much. He's like the charging bull; the heavy duty cavalry. If he were a character in MarioKart, he'd be Bowser or Donkey Kong. So he's not agile enough to catch rabbits, nor would he really know what to do with one if he did. Which is good! Let's keep it that way! But no, Mollie will indeed go after anything that moves and isn't bigger than her.
|But Bingo will hunt blue rubber balls within an inch of their life. As long as you throw them.|
So one night I was having a lazy evening in, with a few beers and a movie, you know the drill. My mum was flobbing about as mothers often do, just making sure that her dinner was on (she eats later than everyone else) and that things were in order for the night. Once she was satisfied everything was in order, she sat down with me for a while to watch the movie, and after a little while went out to the garden to have a smoke (boo hiss, mum, but whatever). Whenever she does this, my dad winds the dogs up by saying directly to Mollie: "WHERE'S YOUR MUMMY?" to which she immediately scrambles from wherever she is towards the back door. It is always guaranteed to work.
After around fifteen minutes, my mum returns and peers round the door at me.
"I think Mollie has something."
"Mollie has something in her mouth, can you check?"
"Like a stone or something?"
"No, like a thing. Go check it, will you?"
Sometimes I'll grumble, but I didn't at this because my mother is often at the brunt of Mollie's trolling. I went out in the garden and the security motion light comes on. See, she's a weird creature at night. My dad says she turns 'feral' because she is constantly running from shrub to bush, chasing moths and other insects of the night. She's not as receptive to people, and it gets really hard to bring her back in when she's really got a good forage on. But instead of this, I see her near our apple tree. As soon as she clocks me, Mollie stops dead in her tracks and sure enough, there is something quite large dangling from her jaws. Ugh. What fresh hell is this, I think. I approach her with a few steps, and see that the thing hanging in her mouth is in fact, a frog.
|Like this, but at night and with a frog instead of a newspaper.|
Ugh. My dog.
This poor foolish frog has been unfortunate enough to be in a garden at the same time as the most obnoxious springer spaniel ever. Not a good day for the frog. Obviously, I don't want her to kill it, and it's not her fault if she does; it's just one of those things. But it would give me a tiny hero ego if I did save it, so I approach her with a few tentative steps, and just like she did with the newspaper, she immediately runs off, shaking her head and absolutely thrilled that I give enough of a damn about this poor creature to enter into her one-sided game. I think. Chasing her won't work, and will just hurt the frog more. She's shaking her head and the frog is bouncing like a slimy ragdoll at this point. I'll have to distract her. I run inside and grab a dog treat. No dice, she still won't come near enough. But then! My mother appears at the back door with the cavalry - Bingo. She's wielding a few pieces of cheese in her hand, and Bingo is out just in front of her, sitting to attention with the cheese firmly in mind.
"Mollie!" She calls. I join her. We sound like high-pitched idiots. Now, Mollie has a little phrase she responds to well, and I only bust it out when I really need it, as I don't want to lessen the effect of it. This way, she knows it's a legit offer, and not a bogus one. We've got Bingo, we have cheese, and we have numbers. It's time for the magic words.
"Mollie - WHAT HAVE I GOT!"
Immediately, Mollie looks up, sees Bingo begging and knows there's food afoot. GOOD food. Miraculously, she drops the frog and bounds over to the source of the goods. I descend in and Operation: Save Amphibean is a-go. Fortunately, it wasn't dead, just a bit stunned. I let it through a gap in the fence to next door's yard, where hopefully it won't be foolish enough to return.
Fortunately, sometimes the old tricks DO work on Mollie. Still, this is really just another night with Mollie as your dog.
|Awwww, lookat the cute frog-hunter... !!|