A while ago I told you about a problem that we were having with Ellie Mae Scootles formerly of the Cibola County Scootles chewing on my sweet, minding their own business, just waking up, turtles. Both on the blog and on email, I have had some questions and so here we are.
Ellie Mae has not made on unescorted foray into the backyard since I posted my dilemna to you. The family has been excellent to be watchful and not let her get too far ahead of us in the backyard. When I have gone out to work in the yard, I have made sure that I have her on her lead (that's not a happy making event) and secured her to my yard card so that "we" can share what I am doing.
I contacted traveling vet Barbara and she indicated the same things that we all suspected that terriers are what they are "ratters" as she called them. They were bred to flush out small things out of small places and she was only doing her job. And, having been left to find the turtle eggs, she now had a taste for turtle as her prey. As an aside, while working out under the tulip tree, the wind was blowing horribly and a robins egg smashed to the ground. Ellie Mae slurped it up almost as soon as it hit the ground....yep, she's an egger. So Barbara's only behavior mod answer was that Ellie Mae would never have to feel lonely again as she made her trips of the necessary variety again. Taking turns has made this a do-able thing.
We never in a million years would have gotten a muzzle on the tiny, squirming mass of Ellie. The turtles have to roam....it is what they do. Applying anything to deter chewing could be injurious to either animal or both. Therefore, I believe we have planned and executed the only possible answer in order to keep all participants.
The funny thing is, there is a side benefit. One I had not expected. The dog has become calm and sedate (well as sedate as a ankle biter dog ever gets, I suppose). She is a lover. She almost hugs me when she gets in my lap and puts her head down really hard on my cheek and her paws on each side of my neck. She plays with the kids when they get home from school. She is focused on us instead of making plans to destroy the back yard. The attention is flowing in both directions and I truly think that the incident in the backyard was another of the lessons we all needed to learn.
I have seen all the adult turtles now. GK, the great turtle wrangler has found them all, knows their names...for the most part and has taken over my mania about keeping them safe and fed and watered. RyLeigh is still frightened of them and keeps Ellie company inside while we do our "turtling".
We'll take pictures again when the wind isn't 40-60 mph. Ain't nobody out in this blow not even the turtles. It was gusting so bad day before yesterday that I thought Ellie was going to go visit Toto.
Thanks for your interest in our mundane lives.