Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why I Have a Dog Part 2.

So I've already written about why I have Ida Done It Anyway - our little cocker spaniel house dog - who by the way now has two of her three legs in Rally Excellent through the AKC - heading for the final leg in a couple weeks.
But I haven't written about why I have dog number 2 - Don't Coddle the Barn Dog, A.K.A Millie.  And yes, that is her official name with the AKC Canine Companions - American Mixed Breed registry. 

Although we got her second, second hand so we're not sure exactly WHAT kind of dog she is, we were told she is half Australian Shepherd and half German Shepherd, both herding breeds with good instincts.  The Aussie I believe as she certainly follows the Aussie rule number one: If it's on the ground, it's MINE.  That includes gloves, mittens, unused soaker hoses, frogs, tools, and anything else left on the ground unattended.
Millie's job description was always to be:
  •  Live in the barn
  • Keep the barn, farmyard, orchards and production field from predators
  • Don't get underfoot
  • Don't bark unnecessarily
  • Don't bother the neighboring farmers
She's done a pretty good job of bothering the ground squirrels and gophers enough to keep them from the yard and production lot.  She has caught a mouse or mole or two and she loves chasing the birds out of 'her' barn.  She has befriended the chickens and loves them dearly.  She doesn't bark unnecessarily and thus far hasn't bothered the neighboring farmers except this spring when she also thought it was her job to keep the ducks out of the wet spot in the field across the road.

However, this canine has exhibited some unforeseen vegetarian attributes.  She showed signs of vegetarianism early on but now, with my personal vegetable garden in full swing - she has become the ultimate veggie thief - going so far as to forgo the expensive dog food the Boy purchases for her in preference for vine ripened tomatoes, peas, cucumbers and the like.

No veggie is safe:  (sorry for my shadow in the photos - I'm no photographer and catching her in the act is no easy task - she's gotten pretty sneaky)

Peas are good.

Cherry tomatoes grow right at mouth level - how convenient!

Vine ripened tomatoes are the bomb and she knows exactly which ones are ripe.

Speaking of choosing only the ripe ones, when it comes to raspberries, this dog knows a thing or two.  One day Tall Dark and Handsome was very concerned as Millie had 'blood' all over her head.   On further inspection the 'blood' was raspberry juice from a run through the raspberry patch.  On hot days, she goes out and lays in between the rows and eats what she can reach. 

Lately, as our mushrooms go into their fall flush, a mushroom has been just the thing for breakfast each morning.  That's what's left of the white stem laying on the ground, the head of the mushroom is in her mouth.

So far she has shown no signs of being an 'Herbivore' but that is only because she is not allowed in the herb production lot.  To follow Good Agricultural Practices and the Food Safety Rules we need to follow to pass inspection, no domesticated or non-domesticated animals are allowed in production areas - thus we need a dog that is trained to stay out of them and trained to keep other animals out as well.  A very important job on gardendwellers FARM. 

So - why I have a dog part 2 - to cull my tomatoes, to keep my from eating too many sweets covered in raspberries, to ensure that I do not have to spend too much time picking beans, peas, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes and to trim the mushroom bed.  Oh, and maybe to keep those pesky birds out of the barn. 

Don't Coddle the Barn Dog, AKA Millie, in her winter coat, taken January 2013.