I went out to check the greenhouse this morning and in the middle of one of the gardens was the little “Bug Crossing” sign I had put out the day before. My heart sunk. I picked it up and one corner of it had been chewed up. Now it’s garbage.

Of course I know who did it. The latest in a long line of garden destroyers, other people’s pets. Why is it that people think that all they have to do is buy a dog or cat and then they are good, responsible pet owners. Well, obviously they don’t think about being a good responsible pet owner or I wouldn’t be concerned about coming out and finding something else destroyed. 

The latest culprit is what looks to be a pit bull mix, with the appropriate name of Scooby (because he does look kinda like him). A pretty big dog with an aggressive temperament. He can be as sweet as can be and immediately turn tail and bark and lunge aggressively at me. I’m scared of him, but also angry and tired of having to deal with him.

Peeing bulldog
Dogs like training and with a little can become great buddies. Without guidance they can wreak havoc.

He has chewed up at least a dozen plastic plant containers, including a reasonably nice hanging basket. Killed a plant by grabbing the pot it was in and destroying it and then strewing the dirt (and the then just coming up plant) all over the yard. Running amok through the entire yard, oblivious of just planted gardens and tender little plants and leaving large paw prints as evidence. He pees on anything that is taller than a few inches, including food crops. Last, but not least, he chewed up my inexpensive but cute bug sign. 

He’s not the first and unfortunately, because I live out in the country with no leash law, probably not the last. I’ve dealt with numerous puppies destroying all kinds of things. Cats are not off the hook either, they pee in certain areas of the garden and kill the birds that come to my feeders. They killed the chipmunk family and continue to terrorize squirrels.

We bought this property to be our retirement oasis, but each time one of my neighbors gets the bright idea to get a pet, it turns into a nightmare. Only Bella has been a bright light. She was so easy to train to not touch things. Unfortunately, Scooby has taught her to chew up pots, as well. She never did it before he came along, never, but I caught her twice in one day chewing up pots. 

I think that everyone buying a pet should have to go through pet care and training classes in order to be able to bring them home. My sister in Germany had to do that in order to bring their dog, Lilly, home. They should, by law, have to have all shots and regular upkeep done. Neither of the dogs have rabies tags. Bella’s owners don’t even keep her free of fleas and ticks, I do that because she is so miserable without my intervention (not to say they can actually cause an illness that could kill her).

I always thought my main concern would be the bugs that were eating my garden. However, it is people’s pets that have been my major concern. I have to use vegan fertilizer. If I don’t I come out and find my plants dug up and strewn about the yard (they are looking for the dead whatever is in the fertilizer). Of course I don’t really mind this, because I’m a vegetarian myself, but if I slip up and get something with seaweed in it, I’m doomed. Of course some of this digging is done by the resident wildlife, the coons and possums. However, I’ve caught more than one of the neighborhood dogs doing the dirty deed.

Some people would say to put up a fence. That would be great, but we have an entire acre of land, which makes it financially impossible. Plus, it would keep Bella out, as well, and I love to have her come visit. We have a lot of fun and she needs someone to give her a little attention, since her owners completely ignore her (other than to feed her). My reply to this is my neighbors should pay for the fence, since it is their animals that are destroying my property and sometimes terrorizing me. (We had one dog that was so aggressive the owners finally admitted that they needed to get rid of it but not until it lunged at some teens that were innocently walking around the neighborhood.)

I’ve had a pet dog in the past. I worked with her extensively and taught her nearly 200 words. Everything from “No!,” to “Good Dog!” to “Want to play bubbles?” I lived in a third story apartment at one time and she learned the difference between “go up” and “go down” the stairs. When I married my husband we even taught her not to beg and to back up. She was over nine years old then. Dogs like to be trained. They like to know their boundaries. They like to have a job (of sorts). 

Cats are another thing. They could care less what I want. The only deterrent I’ve been able to find is a high powered water gun. I’ve been told powdered citrus rind put in gardens will keep them out, as well. I haven’t tried that yet, although I have some rinds ready to go.

Thank you for letting me rant. I invite anyone that’s fed up with critter problems to add their lament to the comments below.

Featured Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

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