dimanche 20 mars 2011

Garden dog

Fia's sticks

Fia gardens, too. There's nothing I do that Fia can't do, too. Almost nothing; she doesn't drive, for example, and she waits patiently for me to feed her, rather than tearing into the very accessible pet food bags.

Good dog, Fia. Good dog.

She watches me for long stretches of time, stretched out in the shade of whatever tree, shrub or structure is available -- a recent discovery is the unwanted and unfortunate hollow under the big rhododendron I planted a few years back; at least is has a use, even if it represents a failure to plan for settling correctly --, and she learns what gardening involves and decides what parts of it are appropriate for her. It will not be surprising to anyone who knows and loves Labrador Retrievers that with all the pruning I have been doing this month, she had found her use: stick retrieval.

There were piles and piles of sticks that she watched me carry laboriously down to the burning pile, and she considered this. Sticks. Carrying. Sticks... carrying...

"I can do that!"

She didn't say it. I heard her think it.

And then I saw the consequence of her realization: sticks everywhere. Garden Dog was picking up the sticks out of my piles as a dog can, in her mouth, and carrying them up to the top terrace lawn, while I went on with my Edward Scissorhands imitation, cutting, cutting, cutting and making ever bigger piles of sticks that Fia busily diminished according to her abilities.

Naturally, given what one Labrador Retriever can carry in her mouth, I didn't notice until I staggered up the stairs to get a glass of water and found sticks littering the lawn, all the way from the stop of the stairs, along by the fish-pond-in-the-old-fountain, on to the steps to the French door and then strewn around the terracotta tile floor. Some were shredded, like McDonald's lettuce, only with more fiber.

Rapide's bed is full of shredded sticks at all times. Like having potato chip crumbs in your bed.

Thanks for the hand, Fia.

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