It feels like the gardening year is at a bit of a hiatus with little to do, so rather like the lead singer of a band in the middle of a particularly dull riff as the “guitarist goes off on one” as Claire would put it, I would like to take time to introduce an important member of my band: Fudge.
As Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters “so….she’s a dog”, but yeah she really is. She is my constant companion who loves nothing more than to come down the garden hunting out rabbits – or even rats. Which she rarely, if ever, catches. And then just buggers off for a couple of hours digging at the rabbit holes up the top of the field. So perhaps not quite such a constant companion after all, let alone constant gardener.
Mind you, she is a lot less of a liability than her sister (Truffle) with whom she was acquired after being abandoned outside a Dublin supermarket. They were the subject of a benign Extraordinary Rendition to bring them to the UK. We offered to give Fudge a good home while Truffle took up residence with mum and dad next door. Truffle ultimately proved too much of a handful: she had her own individual programme when it came to exercise and when out on walks would simply make a bee-line for the horizon which left her owner taking a solitary trudge back home to await her re-appearance at whatever time of day or night suited her.
Truffle was a source of comfort for my mother in her terminal illness, but after mum’s passing, Truffle was never going to get enough exercise with my more sedentary father and she has been re-homed. If her new owners want to feel they are spending time with their new pet in the great outdoors, I hope that they live on a saltpan somewhere and own some very powerful binoculars (or the world’s longest lead).
Fudge has a lot of energy to burn too, and although we are not sure of her lineage, we suspect some sort of terrier crossed with a boxer. Basically a scatter-brained dog who has bags of energy, and lists digging and jumping as two of her main hobbies. A gun dog she is not: she quakes at potential thunder (she can sense the build up of Cumulo Nimbus on the other side of the country) and will suddenly walk to the tightest “heel” if there is any sudden sound – be it gun, bird scarer, or clattering pans.
But she is the best, most patient dog to have in the house, and at least she does not dig up any of the garden: unlike my parents’ previous canine companion – Sambar – who had a penchant for carrots, which she harvested herself, therefore requiring the carrots to be fenced in on all sides, and top.
When Fudge came to us she had been named – along with her four siblings – after the Nolan sisters (I hope there were no males in the rescued litter). We decided to change to something of our own choosing as she didn’t seem to be a Bernadette. Naming dogs is even more random than naming children as there are no limits to what you can call a dog. There again, these days the range of children’s names has expanded to include pets’ names too, if some celeb choices are anything to go by, but we happened upon the name Fudge as it was sweet and light brown – (like her?)… And my parents followed suit with her sister, calling her Truffle.
Not that we always use their given names. Truffle was generally known by the kids as “special needs” (she would have kept educational psychologists in work for years if she were human) or on the day that they ripped up their bean bags, leaving drifts of polystyrene balls across the kitchen, “fuckwits” was the first name that came to my mind.
But now we are down to one f-wit, and if she does not have any other pressing engagements at the top of the field, she will keep me company in the garden and – as I said – occasionally catch a rat or rabbit. In fact she managed to tag a rabbit yesterday, but for the most part she takes up the role of Grommit to my Wallis, as we try to fulfil our respective roles in the garden.