Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mole People

Most any canine owner can commiserate with the problems of the relentless digging instinct in man's best friend. Thousands of ruined flower beds and backyards terraformed to resemble the surface of the moon are ample evidence for the pervasive jokes about and common knowledge of the fact that dogs just like digging.

Head bent over. Raise that posterior.

Wolfdogs sometimes get the added fun of a desire to dig amplified by the biological, genetic drive to design an actual, structurally sound, subterranean living space where they can retreat and possibly raise young. Their digging can range from funsies time tossing dirt clods everywhere....

We're just helping you plant more awesome citrus trees, Mum... (Source: Jennifer Reitman)

To the wolfdog version of a 5-star hotel, complete with authentic, naturally sourced construction materials that wouldn't be out of place in a Pottery Barn magazine:

Somewhere, an interior designer is weeping over not being able to turn that stump into a $15,000 chandelier.

More floor space than my first apartment, and probably fewer bugs,

A while back, I talked about Bast's ill-conceived, failed den projects.  He wasn't a great architect and so his den designs routinely collapsed into weird little trenches that I had to spend hours filling in. It looked like I had moles the size of schnauzers or something.

Bast won't be giving Frank Lloyd Wright a run for his money anytime soon.

Bast's Achilles' Heel was always his roofs. The loose, dry soil of our region just isn't great for subterranean lairs and his efforts always caved in. However, this summer, Bast must have hit the books. He and Zelda got to work and used a pile of discarded concrete in the back yard as a roof and together, scratched out a pretty nice Hobbit hole:

Since I worry about the concrete caving in, at least a couple times a week, I go out and jump up and down on top on the concrete to test its stability, figuring I would rather crush my ankle than one of my dogs. They've done a good job, however; the sides are neatly shored up and support the concrete pads, and all the chunks are balanced and secure.

At first, the den was Bast's domain. Anyone with four legs that approached got a stern growl, and two-legged invaders got disgruntled glares and ears that said, "Go away, I'm in my hidey hole." It took me a while to sneak up on him to catch him in there, and most times I just spotted two little black triangles peeking over the top:

Attempts to photograph him in the den made him uncomfortable, so I eventually just left him alone. Also, I suck at closeups and my camera focuses on weird crap, so I gave up.

Stawp, Mom, I don't want to be in your dumb blog.
Eventually, however, Bast let Zelda come in the den, and it has since become her favorite hideout. Zelda has always loved hiding in small spaces - one time, she hid behind the dryer so well that I panicked, thinking she had magically escaped the yard somehow. I ran around the block yelling her name like a dumbass before collapsing back into my house to find a pointy little face sticking out from around the silvery dryer hose. I've since learned to check all Zelda-sized nook and crannies before entering panic mode when she disappears, as she's usually wedged herself in some impossibly narrow gap.

Zelda is now 4 times as big as when we got her, but she still likes to be safe and surrounded by walls, so the den is her new hangout. She snoozes away her afternoons, often preferring to stay outside in the Hobbit hole rather than come inside to be in the air conditioning.

If I'm very sneaky, sometimes I can catch her in there and get the most adorable pictures ever.

Although I do miss having a neat, orderly yard, looking out to see Where My Wild Things Are is even better than a pretty lawn.


  1. They are so cute! Wow! That's a lot of redecorating going on! LOL!

  2. Your posts and your pups always amuse me forever and ever until the end of time. ;_; I come back every few months and read your old stories about Bast.