My love of gardening and my belief in its transformative powers in facilitating individuals to live more creative lives is well documented in my new book Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, published by Warner Books.
However, only my family and close friends know about the other great love of my life – dogs – and in particular, my two dogs, Molly and Sassey. They are both Australian Terriers sired by the same parents, but in different litters. These two girls came into my life rather unexpectedly last year when I visited friends in Phoenix over Christmas vacation.
Milo, our first family dog who had literally grown up with my children, had died unexpectedly a few weeks prior to my planned trip. I was devastated! Just by chance, I called a few breeders of Australian Terriers while in Phoenix and one of the breeders wanted to find a home for the runt of the litter, Molly. Needless to say, I scooped her up, brought her home on the plane and was more than delighted to have this little, quiet girl prancing about my house.
A few months later I called Molly’s breeder in Phoenix to see if he had another litter in the works. He told me that he did not, but that he was willing to give up Molly’s older sister Sassey because she had turned out not to be show dog material. Of course, I couldn’t say ‘No’ to such an offer and before I knew it, I was at the Philadelphia airport picking up my newly adopted daughter, a voluptuous mahogany colored Australian Terrier.
Sassey seemed a bit confused on the ride home. But, the moment I opened the door and Molly got a look and smell of her, the two sisters have become inseparable. It has been over a year since both of these sweethearts have come into my home. They are an integral part of my life and just like me, they love the garden.
Every time I am working in the garden, particularly in the front yard which is filled with climbing roses and bushes, Sassey and Molly take in a deep breath, enter another realm, sniff at the air, look at all the birds, bees, butterflies and worms flying and wriggling about. In that moment, I know that they have connected with nature. What can I say? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Keeping Your Plants and Your Pets Safe
Plants that can be hazardous to pets:
American, English and Western Yew, Apricot, Almond, Peach, Wild Cherry, Japanese Plum and Apple and Balsam Pear Trees; also English ivy, Jasmine, Virginia Creeper, Asparagus Fern, Caladium, Elephant’s Ear, Deiffenbachia, Philodendron, Poinsetta, Mum, Umbrella Plant, Aloe Vera, Butterfly, Whorled and Swamp Milkweed.
Keeping Your Furry Pals Out of Your Yard:
Stop using fish emulsion fertilizer, bone meal and blood meal. Both cats and dogs are attracted to the smells of these organic products. If you do decide to use them, try to cover up the smell of them with a bitter apple spray that can be sold at pet stores.
Protecting Flowerbeds and Planted Areas from Fido:
Spray newly planted flowerbeds with Hot Pepper Spray or spread ground hot chile peppers around the beds in order to prevent dogs and cats from digging. It is the ingredient capsicum, the hottest part of the pepper, which repels most animals and rodents. Also, check organic gardening sites such as: www.GardensAlive.com to see the products that they offer.
To keep dogs from trampling on planted areas, use the hot pepper spray as suggested or put up a fenced in area in yard for your dogs to romp in.
Pesticides and Chemicals Pose a Threat to You & Your Pets:
All chemical pesticides are not only harmful to our animals but to our children, other individuals, the environment, and ourselves. Whenever possible, use homemade remedies or buy organic supplies. Keep all domestic animals away from newly spread fertilizer and any pesticides.