Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Tree That Ate Dogs...

At the end of October (near Halloween), I took a day off from work because I knew it was going to be an absolutely gorgeous day...and it was. The temperature was in the 80s, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and despite the lack of rain in months, the trees were at their peak for fall color.

I took a full day off from work because I wanted to get the rest of my potted plants in the ground before the first frost and that day seemed like it would be the perfect day to get a lot done. The thing is, no matter how fast I try to dig those plants in, I only manage to get in two at any given time. Two! Probably because my process involves some staring time, time spent imagining the best place possible for each shrub. However, once I start digging, those plans change because I either find an enormous tree root or solid rock beneath just one inch of soil and so....I move to another area where once again I spend some time staring and imagining. Bo and Tilly eventually get bored with me staring into space and tend to walk off with my digging equipment when any one tool is not in my hands. Then it's off to the car to see if I brought a spare spade or whatever because I almost never find those spades or gloves or small rakes or a new set of Felco pruners (!!!!) again. I just know that getting plants planted takes time but I had an entire day and I knew my obstacles.

But not the one that happened that day. I had planted a ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo') the day before and while I was checking on it, the dogs checked out a hole at the bottom of a nearby sycamore.

It wasn't that big of a hole but Tilly was compelled to stick her nose in it as far as it could go, and then she started to furiously dig so she could get in even further.

We all watched her rotate herself around like she was a drill bit and just like that, she was gone!

Once Tilly was inside, the other dogs felt they needed to get in there too.

Bella was next in line and although she is bigger than Tilly, she was pulled into the hole even faster than Tilly. In just a few seconds...

...Bella was gone too.

Mary was ready to get herself inside the tree too but I pushed her aside to see just where the heck those other two dogs went. I didn't want to see another dog disappear in the tree when the other two had still not come out! But I could not see them when I looked in the hole, I could not see them when I looked down thinking there might be a tunnel under the tree, I even took a look behind the tree to see if they had come out the other side. Nope. No dogs. Those dogs were somewhere in Narnia and I thought I better distract the other two by getting them away from that tree while Tilly and Bella figured out that maybe they should turn around and come back out.

I set off for the woods to dig in a spicebush with Bo and Mary right behind me.

Bo can be one of my favorite garden helpers because it doesn't take him long to go from this...

...to this.

I got that one shrub in pretty fast and managed to find all my digging tools when I was done too. I felt pretty good about that and felt hopeful that Tilly and Bella had probably made it out of the tree. Mary and Bo followed me out of the woods and down the hill but when we got to the sycamore, Tilly was at the base of the tree with just her head sticking out from the hole. I heard Bella's whimpering...from somewhere inside the tree at my height! Tilly was 10% out and stuck and Bella was 100% stuck folded up in some odd position behind but intertwined with Tilly. Tilly was the first one in but now the first one almost out. I don't know how they found a way to switch directions in there because obviously that hollow area was narrow. Digging a bigger hole to get Tilly out didn't work, holding a biscuit in front of Tilly didn't work, pulling on her legs didn't work. Mary and Bo even tried to help by barking and crying and inside the tree, the same thing was going on but not as robustly. It was awful.

I walked across the street to talk to their owner because I was clueless as to what to do. By the time I got there and told him the story about his dogs being stuck inside a tree, he pointed to the road and started to laugh and said, "You mean that dog over there?" And there was Tilly racing across the street to get to us.

But Bella was not behind her.

I said I'd be back if I couldn't convince Bella to come out and then told the dogs "C'mon!" and walked back across the street with the three Pied Piperettes while their owner watched me and his dogs, probably thinking..."cityfolk."

The dogs and I found the most mournful looking dog peering out from that hole in the tree. We all tried to coach her out but Bella just cried and cried. This was getting all of us upset so we walked across the street again, me and my borrowed three dogs, to let their owner know that Bella was seriously stuck. And when I returned, Bella had finally gotten herself out and was trotting up the driveway, a little gimpy but at least she was out.

Whew! Big relief for me and all involved but how many plants did I get in that entire day? One. Just one. This hollow tree business could be a new thing to add to my list of obstacles in getting things done so I put a large rock in the hollow at the base of the tree, leaving enough room for whatever was up there to get out and not enough room for any of those dogs to get back in...because they tried!!!!! After all of that, Bella and Tilly still had an urgent need to get back in there!

A couple days later I drove back to Kansas and stuck my camera inside the tree, hoping nothing with teeth would be near my hand, and took a photo with my flash. The photo showed nothing but hollowness. I have no idea what delicious smelling stinky fidgety thing is up there and I do not have the focused curiousity that those dogs have to get my answer.

I'm just happy I didn't have to title this post with the Halloween style title....."The Tree That Ate Dogs." That title at the beginning of this post is just a partial title. The full title should be "The Tree That Ate Dogs...and then Spat Them Out." A happy ending in one short title for one long post and one long day.


Pix at Under the Oaks said...

Maria that is crazy! Funny about the dogs but I never ever imagined a tree could look like that inside. It was smooth in there, very pretty in a way. Awesome. Glad none of the pups got stuck in there for long!

Maria said...

Pix-That was one of the weirdest days I spent out there. I could not believe losing not one, but TWO dogs in about two seconds inside a tree. Inside. I've heard of hollow trees but not so hollow that dogs could climb inside them...so darn easily. Sheesh. I am sooooooo thankful those dogs got out because really, what could anyone do to get them out which would not be extremely dangerous for everyone involved? And yes, when I checked to see what my camera caught, I was surprised to see just how smooth and long that tunnel was. And maybe a little disappointed that there was nothing staring back at the camera but then again. relieved!

Stem Cell Treatment for Dogs said...

Honestly, for 20 years in my life I'd never seen such tree. Anyways, your dogs were great. Continue to bond with them with all of your heart.

Murr Brewster said...

Jeezy peazy, that cracks me up. I would have been frantic, of course, but they're not MY dogs. You hafta love dogs, but I really do wonder about how smart they are. You can tie a dog to a tree with no holes in it and they will wind themselves around until they've got no slack at all, and they can stay there and whine all day without figuring out how to unspool themselves.

Then again, my cat got stuck inside the ceiling once.

Ellyn O. said...