My new Buddy here at Cathedral Drive Farm has taken to digging potatoes like he was born for the job. But being a German Shepherd I suppose there’s any number of things he might be able to turn his hands to, or rather, his paws.
Since Buddy arrived a couple of weeks ago I’ve heard Shepherds were bred to be working dogs. So I spent some time trying to figure out what work I might get him to do. I’ve taken him for walks around the garden in hopes he would regard that as priority territory. So far so good, just the scent of him seems to have encouraged the previously brazen raccoons to keep their distance, and whatever it was that was gnawing on the young pumpkins – porcupines, more than likely, I’ve been told.
Buddy, has made himself at home and fit right in: my daughter Lily, granddaughter Mirabella, elderly mother, Beatrix, and I have all fallen in love with the affectionate, good-natured “good boy.” And we can tell the feeling is mutual.
When I’m outside he’s never far away, and always curious about what I’m doing. That’s how I discovered how quickly a Shepherd catches on to something new and wants to get involved in the work.
Buddy was with me as, fork in hand, I went out to the “cool garden” to start digging Yukon Gold potatoes early this afternoon. He watched closely as I pushed a fork into the edge of the first hill and lifted the potatoes out of the ground. He was still watching as I dug around with my hands to find any still buried in the soil. Despite the extended drought the crop looked good: nice size, yield and smooth, well-formed, golden potatoes. I was pleased and impressed with the results of my organic approach to growing potatoes, including the use of straw to deter Colorado potato beetles, the major pest threat.
Meanwhile, as I was thus off in my little self-satisfied reverie, Buddy was hard at work digging a little deeper in the same place. Sure enough, he turned up another potato, and then another.
From then on it was me and my dog, digging Yukon Gold potatoes like a well-seasoned team.
If I said, “good boy, Buddy” once I said it a hundred times as we dug a whole row, about 100 pounds, or 45 kilograms. Back in the house a little later, he got a special-treat reward.
I’m not kidding; he was a big help, and morale booster.
I suppose digging potatoes is a far cry from more complicated police work, like sniffing out drugs; but right now, I feel like Buddy is worth his weight in gold as a working companion.
We’re all happy he’s here.