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Louisa Murphy-Shaw


We moved into our tiny back to back terraced house just over a year ago. There was only a small yard at the front which was not ideal as we have two big silly dogs who love to play outside. Anyway, we tried to make the most of what had, we laid some artificial grass at one side as we thought that this would be easier to keep clean and would always look tidy. The dogs liked the grass and were happy to have somewhere for their paddling pool to go in the summer. At the other side we laid pebbles and some paw print stepping stones leading from the gate to the door.

We soon found that Mylo (the big cow print Bulldog) hated the pebbles. He has suffered several cuts to his pads from the sharp edges and he will now only walk on the stepping stones. Luna (the giddy white Staffy) does like the pebbles… to chew on! She will dig around to find a particular pebble and then keep it hidden in her mouth and bring it into the house to suck on later! We also found an issue with the fence which separated our garden from the neighbours… it’s the kind of fencing which has wooden sticks with big gaps between them. When Luna was smaller she could fit between the gaps and run off down the street. We couldn’t afford to replace the fencing so we attached garden mesh to stop Luna escaping, this, however, did not put a stop to Mylo cocking his leg against it and weeing through the gaps on to the neighbours decking! Luna is now too big to squeeze through the gaps but we were unable to stop Mylo slyly watering the neighbours garden and rotting away their decking which we are now having to save up to replace.

One day last week I came home from work that day to find the pebbles had all been brushed into piles around the edges of the grass like some kind of frilly pebble boarder. Apparently after another incident with a sliced paw pad, my Husband (in his wisdom) had decided the pebbles needed to go. He had no spade to pick them up with, no wheelbarrow to move them and no other place to put them… but still attacked them with the sweeping brush. He carefully brushed them in pretty little piles all around the edges of the grass, along the wall and against the fence. It had then started to rain.
On seeing the dusty concrete quickly turn into a muddy swamp he began frantically brushing at it… then the broom head snapped off its handle.

By the time I got home there was a small muddy river running out of the garden gate and along the street and the light grey living room carpet was decorated with huge muddy paw prints which took me all night to clean off.
Now any time it rains we have to try and get the dogs to only walk on the stepping stones and keep an emergency foot towel by the front door.

Our garden might only be a tiny space, but it’s a well-used and much missed tiny space… and Mylo and Luna would love to have a garden which they can play in again with no risk of sliced pads or muddy feet especially as summer is just around the corner, and I know the neighbours would love us to have some proper fencing to stop anymore of Mylos water features!

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