The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


I have spent the last four days with a large friendly black dog. Digger minds the house when his owners are out earning the cash for his private medical care and top of the range food. The last comment is an assumption. They love him so I’m sure that’s it is true.

And he adores them. Ten minutes before they are about to return he gets up and yawns. Sniffs my hair and ranges over to the French windows. This is a handy signal as I know I have to shut Digger in the house so that they can open the five bar gate and drive in.

The first day was a bit messy. He is large.

He was asleep in the conservatory when I opened the garden gate and I crept into the house. Boots off at the front door. I worked away happily until I needed to venture into his domain. I called through the gap in the door:
“Digger – I’m your friend. I am here to make your house look better.”
There was a heavy thump on the other side.
Deep breath (both sides of the door).
I added, “Do you like ham sandwiches? I have some in the car.”

Gingerly, I opened the door. Our Min Pin dogs are small, about cat size. Digger welcomed me with paws on my shoulders and a refreshing hair wash.

He bounded around the room, returning every now and then to wash every other part of me as I set up the step ladder and got to work. Eventually he settled. But the hair washing continued on and off all day.

I took the hint and showered next morning before being welcomed Chez Digger. More of the same. I had to get quite firm with him and eventually he would lie outside, one eye observing the extraordinary human pet that resisted being cherished.

By the fourth day I finally twigged that waving my arms about encourages Digger to come and play. He mirrors the action in a particular boundy let’s tip over your tea onto the special rug sort of way. Many apologies.

His owners admitted that usually he is active and buoyant when they return from work in the evening. After a substantial walk at dawn, Digger generally sleeps all day. Since I started working he has been asking for quiet and lights out when they return, clearly exhausted. He has been beside me for four days. He has watched every stroke of the brush (neck muscle overdrive) and carried out numerous beauty treatments. Even Danny noticed that my hair now has much more body when I return from Digger’s Salon at the end of the day.

His owners only need to look at his coat to clock what has been going on. He has been transformed from jet black to piebald with the inevitable addition of daubs of white and cream paint.

Digger, you were a great companion. Thanks.

As I don’t have a picture of you I have chosen the Norfolk Broads. A beautiful spot that you might visit on holiday one day.

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