|Evidence of the destroyed trellis!|
|Pip on Hedgehog watch!|
|Hugo, Pip and Toby|
Hugo has been a bit of a nightmare lately, mainly because he is terrified of flies. He thinks it is safer out in the garden, not realising that this is where the dreaded pests come from. Unfortunately, this also includes night time and, after several nights of enticing him in, only to be kept awake until the early hours with him pacing, scratching at doors and huffing, we gave in and have been leaving the back door open. This has worked fine and he normally comes inside at some stage during the night but he knows he has his escape route. Miss Pip is quite content to take up her usual sleeping position on the duvet on the floor at the foot of our bed, occasionally sneaking up on to the bed in the small hours in the hope we won't notice.
Leaving the door open was no problem until the other night when Martin was awoken at about 1.00am with both dogs scrabbling to get outside. He suddenly realise that neither of them had returned some time later so he went to investigate. He saw Hugo on the patio outside the back door standing over 'something' that he had obviously been sniffing around as he had created a wet patch all around it. Miss Pip was on the steps up on to the lawn, also taking keen interest in something on the ground in front of her. What were these strange creatures of the night - hedgehogs! Needless to say Martin made both Hugo and Pip come in the house and shut the door firmly behind them. Highly unusual for me, I slept through all of this but a very short time after this had happened I heard Pip do one of her low 'woofs', not the one she uses when someone is coming in the house that will make you leap of of your skin, but the one to get your attention if she wants to go up the garden. I heard Toby go and open the door for her as it had woken him too and thought no more about it until Martin told me in the morning what had happened the night before!
|Hugo and Pip among the buttercups|
Ever since then Hugo and Pip have been obsessed with looking for their spiky friends and are dashing around, sniffing under every thing they can get to and generally being very hyper. The first thing I did when I heard what they had found was to check Hugo and Pip for any unwanted little visitors - I always remember a dog we had when I was growing up that had sniffed around a hedgehog and his head was literally crawling with fleas afterwards! Fortunately, there was no sign of anything and they seem to have been let off lightly. Not so the trellis that sits on the back of our decking just a few inches from the fence that divides us from our neighbours! When I got home from work that night I noticed on the decking several strips of broken wood. On further investigation I discovered where they had come from - yes the trellis! The little darlings have created rather a large hole in it which gives them easy access to the hedgehog highway which runs between the deck and the fence. We were not amused! Needless to say the hole is now blocked and, as Hugo and Pip seem to have calmed down a bit, we rather suspect the hedgehogs have gone to pastures new. They may be very good at eating slugs and snails in the garden but I, for one, am not upset they have departed.
The tale does not end there. This morning I was pottering round the garden and was picking up some leaves and pulling weeds that were on the steps leading up on to the lawn. I was wearing gloves but suddenly felt a sharp stab in my thumb. Still embedded in my flesh, through the glove, was a hedgehog spine and I found a couple more lying on the step. It is very surprising that Hugo and Pip did not suffer any injuries from their encounter with the hedgehogs as they obviously got close enough to cause some spines to fall out - let's hope they have learned a lesson but I somehow doubt it!