Great, Just Great!

Isn’t it great to get your hands back into the earth and start planting again? Whether you have fields, flower boxes or gardens to tend, it does a heart good to break into the rich brown soil after such a long winter. Of course, it’s not so great to get your hands into the earth if a cat has recently squatted there, or a dog has deposited some toothsome treat beneath the crust.

We don’t have outside cats, but I know how unpleasant that can be, and as for the dog problem, sit back and let me tell you about it.

Upon exiting my house this past week I noticed my flower beds had been ripped up. Fresh dirt had been dug and piled right where I’d planted the precious tulip bulbs I’d faithfully carried home from Holland several years ago. Blast!


My eyes narrowed upon Chili, the family dog and bane of my existence. Well, not really the bane, but a few of her escapades are hard to forget; things like the day she methodically chewed a gaping hole into the drywall beside her bed, or the afternoon she took a leisurely crap, the size of a small badger, on my newly purchased area rug.

Photo by Aliyah

She looked back at me, tail wagging; the picture of innocence and good humor. I found my trowel and bent to investigate. It didn’t take much effort to reveal the shinbone of a recently deceased cow hidden in a shallow grave among the mangled remains of my tulips.


Keukenhof Garden, Holland

Then, as I was loosening the dirt in a large tub by the house, my trowel hit upon another obstacle. I’d been transplanting petunias and hadn’t bothered with my gloves. Oh, how I wish I had. Fishing about in the soft earth I grabbed what felt like an article of clothing. Granted, it was furry…

“Argh!” I screeched, tossing the flattened remains of a partially chewed gopher high into the air.

Double great.

Chili and my brother’s dog, Gibson, often get into scrapes together. Several times we’ve had to fetch them from one place or another.

This winter, as I was driving my school bus home after work, I glanced toward the house of a new neighbor to our area, and observed Chili and Gibson frolicking about in the field beside their garage. Drat. Those dogs were up to it again. Angrily I laid on the horn knowing if Chili saw the bus she’d run for home.

Photo by Aliyah

Honk, honk, honk! I leaned on it loud and long, but the dogs paid not the slightest attention. They gambled about in the snow, bowling one another over and moving onto these poor peoples front lawn to continue their fun.

With increasing annoyance I yanked the vehicle to the side of the road and slammed open my window.

“YOU BLOODY DOGS GET HOME,” I hollered at the top of my lungs. They paused to gaze at me with mild interest. “GET HOME,” I screamed, punctuating my sentence with further honking.

It was then that the homeowner strode into view. He lifted his arms abruptly in a time-honored gesture that left me in no doubt as to what he meant, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

And, it was then I realized they weren’t our dogs. The new neighbors owned two, almost identical hounds to ours.

Screaming bloody murder at dogs, who innocently frolic on their very own property, particularly in earshot of their owner, isn’t the best way to ingratiate yourself to the neighbors Helen.

Triple great.


  • You are hilarious! I love your writing and most importantly, it’s like we are almost over your shoulder watching ax you describe these events! Thank you so much for sharing your gift!

  • Kathy Burton

    Thank you for the laughs Helen. Love how you meet your neighbors.
    Beautiful dog.

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