Updated: Aug 6
Life's a party — a garden party — for our little man @davetheyorkie. Dave is a character to say the least. Among other things he is a veggie-loving pescatarian insectivore. His primary diet consists of fish, fruits, vegetables, and the odd CBD doggie cookie to settle him down when the world is just way too exciting.
He loves bugs too, and worms, and moths, and beatles — especially the squishy or crunchy ones that provide an extra sensory experience. Bees are especially attractive, though he has learned the hard way, to control his appetite and curiousity.
At this time of year, as late summer folds into fall, the garden is a virtual smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables, and creepy, crawly, flying things to chase, take down and eat.
He knows instinctively, that our resident birds and squirrels are not to be chased or otherwise disturbed, so he leaves them to their own even when I’m not looking. They in turn are not afraid of Dave, and will come within inches of him sunning himself on the pavers.
What he lacks in stature, he makes up in cuteness and dogged determination. He can devastate a lawn in search of Japanese beetle grubs, on par with a racoon — rolling back turf and digging holes so deep that the mud stretches clear past his ears to the top of his head.
He can scale a 24-inch high garden bed blindly, with ease from below, re-organizing his body in-flight on approach, so that all four legs land squarely on terra firma without crushing any growing things.
He can pick individual cherry tomatoes at the peak of ripeness, choosing just one from a crowded vine but not damaging its neighbours. I let him get away with a juicy crunch or two, but won't let him eat much raw tomato (absolutely no unripe tomato - see AKC safe list below). He loves harvesting (or stealing stealthily from the harvest basket) and chowing down on celery, broccoli, corn (especially corn, though he has a hard time reaching it), peppers, lettuce and spinach, herbs of all sorts, carrots, beans, peas, fennel, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and sweet potatoes.
Honestly, most of the fun is in the hunt, and in the super fun 'crunch' vegetables make when torn apart and spat out all over the ground. The actual eating is secondary to the sport of it all, but I keep a close eye out regardless, for attempted gluttony.
Dave really loves baking potatoes, and while he will steal away and eat them raw if he can, its not a good idea. Potatoes contain solanine which can cause problems for some dogs.
Though Dave is a veggie dog through and through, he also loves fruit. The mulched beds below the dwarf apple and pear trees, and between the rows of gooseberry, currant, and blueberry bushes, are regular stops on his morning rounds. Both of us look forward to the sugar baby watermelon harvest.
Most of all though, Dave loves me. We are true garden buddies.
He is especially lovable during our early morning scouts, when his puppy-cut coat is drenched from wandering through dewy vegetable and perennial beds far taller than he — his already tiny body shrinking virtually by half. He runs ahead to find and point out anything new that transpired during the night, stopping and turning frequently to make sure I am following his lead.
He makes me belly laugh, seemingly on purpose, with his antics. What a sight we must be, the two of us chasing each other through the garden, along the narrow paths his tiny paws have worn into the grass along the fence.
Now that our three children are around less and less, Dave sticks closer and closer by my side. He may do so because there is more quiet and free space around me now, but I think he knows intuitively that there is room in my mummy heart that can only be filled-up with tiny person cuteness and unconditional love.
I must keep a close eye on him however, as he will overdo it with the fresh vegetables, sometimes eating things he shouldn't, or eat too great a quantity.
To be on the safe side, I keep a reminder list of beneficial or canine-friendly produce close at hand. Visit the American Kennel Club website for current and comprehensive lists of yes and no fruits and vegetables, and check with your veterinarian to learn breed-specific recommendations and restrictions that may apply to your pet.
For sure Dave qualifies as a tiny person, and I couldn’t love him more than I do. We all love him. As my husband is wont to say, “Dave won the pet lottery when our children chose him over his puppy siblings”
Animals, like Mother Nature are so very, very wise, and so very intuitive. This applies equally to animals, vegetables, trees, insects, fungi, and yes Yorkies. We can see this clearly when we slow down, focus openly and completely, and pay attention to patterns and nuance for longer than a moment.
Permaculture founder Bill Mollison suggested that we “observe plants and animals in all their functions (in nature, over time), practicing protracted and thoughtful observation”
I observe Dave, and Dave observes me, and together we are the perfect little garden party family.
For regular updates about veggie dog Dave and his antics, follow us on Instagram @upfrontandbeautiful.
Until next week, happy gardening!