Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fanatical Frisbee Fido

In this modern age, where self-proclaimed exercise experts abound and continuously expound their unsolicited and dubious wisdom through all forms of media, scarce any gardener will be unaware of the purported health benefits attributed to digging holes in soil to the point of painful arches or the lugging about on a regular basis of various potted plants and bags of organic materials weighing between 6 ounces and 20 tons.  Not to mention the aerobic benefits of sudden spurts of increased heart rate from snake-sightings and the mental stress that is purged alongside the profanity hurled at various garden plagues ranging from late frost to drought to hail.  Yes, gardening is generally regarded as good for your physical and mental health.  Why then, do others seem to want to keep us from gardening?

Many who revolve in the immediate vicinity of a gardener seem not to recognize the health benefits of gardening or, alternatively, they believe their own fitness regimes will benefit you more or are more important than the needs of your zinnias.  Take for example, my constant gardening companion, the intrepid Bella.  The lovable pooch is a frisbee fanatic.  Her morning routine for Mrs. ProfessorRoush and I is 1) wake us up by licking us enthusiastically chin to ears, 2) ring the bell hanging from the front doorknob so we will open the door and then stand outside in the chilled air sleepy and barely clothed while she pees, and 3) throw the frisbee as far as possible across dew-soaked ground and as many times as possible or until the neighbor catches us in our sleeping attire or lack thereof.   Sometimes she skips steps one and two and just wakes us by banging the frisbee into our face.

And it goes on all day.  Every time I turn around, she's waiting patiently, frisbee in her mouth or at her feet, for me to notice.  I'll be planting a shrub, step backward, and trip over the frisbee.  I'll be watering a container, feel eyes on my back, and turn around and there she'll be, frisbee in mouth, pupils wide with excitement.  I come home from work, ready to garden and gain some physical activity, and I have to play frisbee before I can fire up the lawn mower or pick up the pruners.  If, for an instant, rain or shine, she comes upon you sitting down or perhaps even moving slowly, her solution to your inactivity is to go find her frisbee.  The dog is as fanatical about exercise as Richard Simmons and just as bat-crap crazy.

All of this might make more sense if she was a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever, but Bella the mostly-Beagle is a stubby, short-legged, portly, thirty-pound ball of obsessive-compulsive canine cuteness.  She doesn't actually want to play fetch, she wants the frisbee to be thrown for her, but when she brings it back, she fights you for it.  She teases, dropping the frisbee from her mouth but always keeping a foot on it, never willing to let it go without a battle.  So we get exercise at both ends, from throwing the frisbee and from wrestling it back away from her.  Some might call that a win-win but that "some" would only be Bella.

In the meantime, I may not be gardening much but I'm getting plenty of exercise.  In fact, you could say I'm bedogged by the doggone dog until I can't do my gardening.  Deep down, though, I suppose I don't really mind.  My exercise time is better spent increasing the rate of tail wag in a happy pooch than it is in growing alliums for hail to destroy.  


  1. The first photo looks as if some sad Sarah McLachlan playing in the background, beckoning you to help the poor dog play.

  2. Yes but on the second one she has the same expression I've seen in photos of Rasputin and Charlie Manson.

  3. Dogs and frisbees! I think they're all born with a frisbee gene. They can't help it. Off topic here, but I am wondering about your tricolor beech. My climate is in some ways similar to yours. Hot, scorching summers, cold, snowy winters, clay soil in the north eastern part of WA state. Lowes has 3 in their garden center. They were probably all immediately snapped up, but just in case, I thought I'd check with you before I go back.

    1. Yeah...the tricolor beech is dead. Limped through summer and never survived a single winter. Maybe if you could start it out in part shade until it outgrew its area, but I'd consider it an annual.

    2. I'm so sorry - for both of us because I will most likely pass on buying one. I just bought a white fringe tree that I am thrilled about, so that will suffice for this year. Thank you for responding. Not sure if I have ever commented on your blog before, but I do reference it often.


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