the doo, do’s and don’ts of dirt

Never mind a little dirt, if the goal is splendid!

Fyodor Dostoevsky, author, The Adolescent (1875)

I may be undoing years of training my dogs not to dig in our yard. At the risk of trying to teach old dogs new tricks, for the last two weeks we have a crew digging all around our property. In a matter of hours, a stained and cracked concrete driveway, patio and walk were removed; in days, trenches were dug, and a sewer line was replaced. With people working outside all day, I haven’t been able to let the dogs wander in and out to relieve themselves – their “potty spot” has been graded and buried in yard debris for days now.

Taking the dogs for walks three and often, 4 times a day to keep them from soiling in the house, has meant threading piles of dirt and gravel and stepping through concrete dust. Comet is reaching an age where walking through gravel and rocks seems to cause him discomfort – he prefers to walk ( and worse, to relieve himself) on concrete. Dexter looks at me and then at the trenches, seemingly “Tell me again why you yell at me for digging up the yard?“.

For twenty years or more, my relaxation from a hard week’s work was working in the dirt coaxing plants to remain green and healthy. In the era of Climate Change, with poor soil and watering restrictions, it was labor-intensive. And keeping things healthy with dogs intent on peeing on them was continual work. For work like what is going on these days, I may have some memory of labor I did in my Twenties, but to obtain the result my wife and I want, I have experts.

On the other hand, as a dog-man, I am responsible to help my old furry friends adapt to new realities. For new concrete and new hardscape to remain unblemished, I have to teach them the doggy-doo, do’s and don’ts. I will require a resolute will – and my spouse’s assistance. Having again caught Dexter, in the middle of our bed, covers all kicked up, years after I persuaded my wife to keep the bedroom door closed while we were away, I will have to remain vigilant. I have found another use for my new video surveillance system.


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