“Bad dog! Bad dog!” She waved my finger in my face, frowning and angry, and I had no way to tell her the holes in the yard were there because an armadillo was digging the past few nights, not me.
My tail drooped. It’s annoying how my tail tends to do that even when I know I haven’t done anything wrong. She gets that mad face and talks sternly and my traitor tail just droops like it has a shame of its own.
I tried to tell her with my eyes that the damage done to the yard was done by a nocturnal creature, who only thinks it’s cute and harmless. My ears perked forward. “Please, please try to understand me,” my whine said.
She doesn’t own the place, it’s a rental, but she takes care of it well enough since she and I have called it home for the past five years. We’ve had lots of romps out there when the weather’s good, and I chase down snowballs when it’s cold. My favorite is when she blows through a small stick and these mysterious shiny, round things float up into the air. She laughs so hard as I jump and snatch at them, keeping them from flying away. We have good times here, so it’s my job to make sure she and this place stay nice and safe.
The night before, I’d been on patrol in the yard, making sure everything was as it should be. Porch chairs safe, check. Barbeque tucked away, check. Shrubs in place, check. My eyes shined bright in the dark and my nose made sure the only smells in the yard were the ones that should be there. Until something scratched at the back fence. I was completely alert in milliseconds, snuffling, growling, warning. But it just came through anyway.
It was an alien. Long snout, small ears perked up, claws that wouldn’t stop. I’d heard of this from some of the dogs at the dog park. It was an armadillo digging in MY yard, and it acted like it completely ignored me.
Perplexed, I backed off a little. I wanted to watch it for a while, get to know my enemy before I attacked, just to make sure it didn’t have any nasty tricks. Turns out, that was my undoing, because that armadillo dug as fast as it could into the grass and down into the dirt, grabbing at any bugs it unearthed. I bounded forward and barked, and it jumped straight up into the air, landed and shuffled quickly off to another part of the yard. Before I knew it, the armadillo digging had recommenced. I decided enough was enough. I was going to chase it out of my yard despite any tricks it might have. Full-on assault. I barked, chased, growled, swatted and it finally disappeared back under the fence.
I felt great and successful and proud of the night’s work, until the next morning when she came out. All she saw was something had dug holes around her yard, and I was the only creature in sight capable of causing such damage. Before I knew it, I was berated and punished, and she couldn’t understand my efforts at telling her the real story. She’ll find out, though. If that armadillo comes back to dig again tonight, I’ll be tied up, incapable of digging holes like that. Then, she’ll get someone to take care of the armadillo problem and she and I will be back to chasing shiny round floaty balls all over the yard again.