After another flirtation with fiction, I have decided to give it a much-needed rest, and return to what is actually happening!
When he was small, Ollie liked to dig in the garden. As he usually made holes in the lawn, we soon discouraged him from doing this, and made it clear that it would not be tolerated. Although he still rooted around for acorns, and other windfall of interest, he stopped digging completely, which was a great relief. After some heavy rain a while ago, he was let out for his usual late night excursion, just before we go to bed. He was let back in later, and trotted past as normal, rushing into the living room to see Julie. As I locked up, I suddenly noticed muddy paw prints on the tiled floor of the kitchen, and realised that this was a lot more than usual, even after some rain. I looked out of the back door, and switched on the outside light. Next to the shed, he had obviously been digging. This was not a normal dig, that you might expect a dog to indulge in, it was more like a trench, a substantial excavation.
The damage was considerable. It stretched for a length of two feet, and was at least a foot deep. We were angry with the dog. He was cleaned up, told off, and sent to bed. Luckily, the mud was able to be cleaned up easily enough, once it had dried. Sure enough, the next day, he was at it again. He came in from a trip to the garden, with mud caked on his paws, and in the large jowls that surround his mouth. No amount of chiding would stop him, it seemed. I was constantly cleaning him up, before going outside, to fill in the holes that he insisted on digging. There must have been a reason, surely? I couldn’t think of one. We had no mice in the shed, and there had been no sign of hedgehogs, or other animals that might cause Ollie to dig. We continued to tell him off, and to consign him to the shame of his bed.
After a few days, he had stopped the digging, so we felt vindicated. Leaving for a trip away, Ollie stayed with neighbours overnight. On our return, we discovered a large molehill next to the water butt. A day later, another appeared, two feet into the lawn. The mole damage originated near the shed, so it was plain to see that Ollie had detected the mole, hence his previous digging. After this revelation, we no longer felt justified in scolding him. After all, he was only trying to rid our garden of disruptive moles. They are still here. Notoriously difficult to discourage, I have decided to just live with them. Hopefully, Ollie will too.