Garden Shadow

I am not a scientist (although my current course on soils may turn me into one). Nor am I a psychologist; at best I’d classify myself as a horticulturalist. There is one thing I have come to acknowledge more then ever over the last few weeks… my dog’s intuition is more on point then most people I know. She came with the name Shadow and it suits her to a T – LITERALLY.

So, allow me to introduce you to #shadowruffruff.


(Need a laugh? Follow this Hosta lover’s hashtag on Instagram for guaranteed good times.)

Here’s the skinny. Shadow was surrendered to the SPCA in Prince George where her puppy life was basically non-existent; she was quickly moved to the West Vancouver division for rehabilitation. We fell in love with her photo on their website and promptly pinned it down Hwy 99 from Squamish to meet the then 2½ year old Black Lab x Boarder Collie. Instantly we knew she’d be a perfect fit for us and she’s been melting hearts ever since.

She is not stick or ball obsessed (thankfully). She didn’t swim until she was 4 and it’s only because there was a duck to chase. Her ability to find food and crumb around is so good she should be paid for cleaning the floor. She is extremely smart and loves to tell stories. She took up minnowing at age 10 and has been a pro field mouser for years. She is nearing 13 now and still loves to come on biking, ski touring and hiking adventures. She is showing minimal signs of slowing down. Maybe she’s stubborn like me. Grey hairs you ask? Nope. Only a few visible on her chin but most are hidden on the bottom of her paws. A lady never tells or really shows her age.

(Minnowing obsession, recovery biking, Chief Pascal ski tour & Rohr Mt. summit)

You might be wondering how this plays into gardening but be worried not for this hound loves veggies as much as the rest of us. When I crack my container snack vegetables she’s usually at my feet before the lid is off. I have to pack extra knowing she’ll eat half of what I brought. But don’t try to feed her kale unless it’s been massaged because she’ll look at you like you’re crazy! Smart dog. You have to watch her around the blueberry bushes, raspberries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes; anything at her level is fair game. She is a phenomenal forager. And, of course, all the thinned out carrots rightfully belong to her dirt and all.


Since my bike crash I have been tripping over her even more times then I can count. A friend gave her the nickname “Underfoot” for good reason. I have been spending most of my time in my garden healing my concussed brain because that’s what feels good and Shadow has been there every step of the way. Therapy dog. Keeping the cats out, barking at the deer and warning me when the bears are close long before I actually see them. Again, her intuition is impeccable on all levels. She is the keeper of my garden, paid in full with vegetables.

Besides, someone has to test out the fresh raked dirt to ensure its level.