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Publisher’s message: Of Moles and Dogs

Ryan at work digging for moles.
Ryan not sure he wants his photo taken while he’s trying to work.

(Publisher’s note: I received a lot of personal positive responses on my Brownies column with requests to do all I can to help lighten everyone’s mood. Ask and you shall receive … my attempt No. 2 for your Sunday reading chuckle.)

Spring arrived like a fire-breathing dragon this year.

For numerous reasons.

But what hasn’t changed are the moles on my property who leave raised tunnels — some of which extend into the dog yard.

This makes Ryan, very, very happy.

What you might not know about almost 13-year-old Ryan … he has quite a nose. And he’s not afraid to use it.

He is also my “free” varmint exterminator.

In the winter, he takes it upon himself to be the basement animal control officer;  in the spring, he’s the dog yard mole man.

And, he takes his job very seriously.

A close-up of Ryan’s work site.

So, despite all the other changes in our lives, the annual mole tunnels began to appear on schedule. And Ryan has been on the job. He considers this his essential service while I continue to bring you the news.

Although he’s yet to dig up one this year. It’s just a matter of time. Then he will proudly trot around the dog yard with it as I try to get him to drop it.

His lack of success to date is not for lack of trying. So, he’s put me in charge of re-filling the holes he digs (as his human assistant) after furiously excavating his dig sites.

You may remember that Ryan is now deaf. And, I think it was much easier for him in previous years when he could hear. He’d pick a spot, stop and listen, tipping his head from side to side. When he was sure he’d located his prey, he’d pounce and begin feverishly digging. 

Nine times out of 10, his efforts resulted in finding his quarry. And, I felt bad when he’d get one because if you’ve ever seen a mole up close, they’re kinda cute — in a varmint sort of way.

And no, Ryan never eats them. That’s not part of his business contract.

A broader view of Ryan’s work site.

He is served cooked chicken and pumpkin and vegetables for dinner. Why on Earth would he actually eat a dirt-covered varmint? It’s not like he’s on “Survivor” or “Naked and Alone” or some other crazy reality show where they eat whatever they “catch.”

No, this is Ryan’s Critter Control Service, he’s digs them up and dispatches them, but I have to dispose of them.

And, unlike the mice, which he treats like a cat would—catching them and dropping them to catch them again until game over, moles are treated  as special unwanted invaders in Ryan’s territory.

So, you might be wondering, what does Buzz do while Ryan’s feverishly “working”? He stands behind Ryan, getting hit in the face with dirt, hoping a rock will appear during the trenching process. Then he swoops in, snatches it and races upstairs with it in his mouth.

By the time I get up there, he’s stretched out on one of the many dog beds in the living room with the rock sitting in front of him. He doesn’t chew them or play with them. He brings them inside for me to pick up and examine. And to his credit, Buzz has amassed quite the stock pile  — as evidenced by the number that I’ve put back outside on the porch. (I’m waiting until later in the spring when he’s not looking and I can release them back into the wild.)

So, during this annual spring mole invasion, it’s the Eastern variety, mostly. But sometimes a star nosed one will make its way into the dog yard. For Ryan, feverishly digging through those large mounds of dirt is double the fun. But for Buzz, it means the possibly of bringing to the surface even better and larger rocks.

Maybe Buzz is a geologist in training.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I must catch up on my assistant duties — filling in a few more holes in the dog yard.

Until next time, please stay home, stay healthy and stay positive.

Buzz’s rock haul waiting to be taken to a new location.
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9 thoughts on “Publisher’s message: Of Moles and Dogs”

  1. Awesome! I could sure use a mole finder like Ryan. The rock collector is new to me. Could you train one to pick up thousands of black walnuts?
    Thanks for a chance to look away from the intensity of life inside 4 walls.

    • This breed can be taught to fetch up just about anything. Contact me during black walnut season and I bet Buzz would be more than willing to help you.

  2. Great story. Thanks for bringing a smile to everyone. What great boys you have. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Fun! My dogs also love to dig up the mole tunnels. Thankfully they haven’t caught one in recent years. Unfortunately they do manage to murder at least one raccoon each year. Sigh…

  4. Not everyone knows that Welsh corgis are not only herders, but “ratters” – instinctively drawn to digging up varmints. So we’ve seen our share of this behavior, too. And when I was young, our family had a German shepherd that dug up rocks and carried them around in her mouth, to the extent that it wore her teeth down to nubs. My father, a geologist, thought it was great. Thanks, Lisa, nice diversion. Keep it up! 😊👍

  5. I read your fun story to our dogs (Blue Heeler /Australian Shepard mix, and a Border Collie mix) in the hopes of them picking up some mole catching tips. But alas, while they are wonderful at the yard ‘branch/stick pickup and fetch’, they don’t appear interested at all in moles. Thanks for the fun read!

  6. My husband’s standard poodle also is a great exterminator of moles. She does not eat them so I have to be careful when walking in the yard.

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