When we moved from DC to Indiana, our tiny bowling-alley backyard was so exciting! We had our own space! Outside! Emmett and Lucas would be so happy! But then…
For one thing, we realized that the yard wasn’t the suburban paradise we hoped for because they really didn’t want to be out there unless we were there, too. No letting them out to play – they’d just stand at the door and wait to be let back in. I actually wrote about city dogs vs. suburban dogs back in 2010.
The second thing was that maintaining the yard with two, then three, dogs took a ton of time and effort. And water. And money. And we just weren’t all that concerned about it. Clearly.
Those are “before” shots. Before Lucas’ diagnosis altered our perspective on how we use (or don’t use) the space we have. Before we decided to put in as many veggies as we could fit in our small yard. Before we spent all our May weekends tidying up the place.
Because here’s the thing: Lucas LOVES to dig. Since we weren’t growing anything, not even grass, he got to dig wherever he wanted. We only had a teeny tiny little garden that had no veggies in it, and he’d hop in there, dig down to the bottom, then hop back out. Well, after his amputation, we weren’t sure he’d be able to dig again. And we wanted to plant veggies and tidy up the grass in the hopes of cutting down on the dirt and mud dragged in the house. And, heck, he probably wouldn’t be able to dig, anyway. Right?
So, here are the “after” shots from the same angles as the before pics:
See that spot in the top corner on the right-hand photo? That’s Lucas’ Digging Spot! We realized that our sweet amputee would not only hop the fence to dig up the flowers and pee on the veggies, he also would one-legged dig up the whole garden in seconds flat!
So, I built Lucas his own place: a couple hostas since they’re so hardy and cheap, the arborvitae as a pee or hiding spot, then a big mound of dirt encircled by rocks (which we’re still gathering).
Well, the dirt mound’s not so big anymore… he digs it up daily! So, this weekend, we’ll buy more dirt to refill that space. Here are a few seconds of his one-legged dig:
Then! The funniest thing happened… Emmett and Lucas, our two cancer patients who we have lovingly dubbed Grandpa and Hobbles went CRAZY! They caught the play bug and went wild. This so rarely happens. It was hilarious and touching. Just what we needed, really.
If you have a dog who loves to dig, whether he’s got all his legs or not, make him a digging spot! It was worth every ounce of effort, and we are all–even Newt on her line–getting so much more enjoyment out of the backyard. It’s certainly not perfect. The grass will probably never grow in fully, and that’s okay. But it sure is fun to sit outside and watch Lucas dig!
What about you? Do you have digging dogs or lounging dogs? Is your backyard an outdoor oasis for you and your dogs? Or more rough-and-scrabble like ours?