Pettigrew has a thing for long grass.
He enjoys munching on the bright green, tender shoots. In our backyard, he gravitates toward the edges, where the lawn mower doesn’t reach, and is content feasting on the blades left to grow luxuriantly there.
This, of course, is perverse, because grass does not agree with his digestion. It strikes me as an odd instinct for him to seek out foods that make him sick.
One of my neighbors calls this sweet grass. Maybe. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t tasted it.
Pettigrew also delights in wading through tall grass on our walks. Beds of lioripe draw him into their leafy depths. Blazing a trail, the blades falling under his paws only to spring up after he passes, I imagine him out in the wild, stalking prey. This is his moment for adventure!
Occasionally he does startle an animal hiding in the shady cover. At those times he seems as surprised as I. When the ground in front of him erupts in movement and sound we both jump. Perhaps I shriek. I’m not saying I do; I’m not saying I don’t. I will say that I have a strong startle reflex and leave it at that.
I am less delighted when Pettigrew decides to do his business amongst the fronds. Unlike other dogs, he never kicks dirt over his waste. I think that’s why he chooses these densely vegetated areas. He’s trusting the plants will cover his tracks.
I’m not sure my neighbors agree with his strategy. So I wade in after him, plastic bag draped over my hand, to remove all traces.
Since, as Pettigrew planned, the leaves discreetly hide his waste, I do my best to mark the spot before I enter and then count on my nose to let me know when I’m close, but not too close. I step gingerly, fearing that my next footfall will land not on solid ground, but on something warm and squishy.
So far it hasn’t happened.
A simple solution could be to redirect him whenever we come upon an area of tall grass. But that seems cruel. He enjoys it so. It also would mean a heightened level of awareness on my part when we are out walking.
I confess; I tend to daydream.