I’ve started allowing Dionne brief interludes of freedom in the back yard. I’m talking like… five minutes here. Eight minutes there. Once or twice a day. I know she often rockets down to the lower yard to search for Tucker poop (which I make every effort to clean up the instant it’s deposited) or to dig holes or chew up twigs. But — recently — none of these activities has made her throw up. My new theory is that as long as she doesn’t throw up, we ought to let her eat mulch. My hope is she’ll learn that indiscriminate consumption of hardened cellulose isn’t all that interesting and she’ll move on to more edifying activities: e.g. lying at our feet, gazing at us adoringly.

Steve points out that we’re about to plant our summer vegetables. He’ll put six tomato varieties in one of the raised beds, and I’ll grow cucumbers, tomatillos, eggplant, zucchini and maybe a few other things in the other bed. Dionne, unfettered, could theoretically leap up into the beds and forage there; other puppies have tried that.

I’m not too worried; I haven’t seen her take much interest in either bed. But this morning I witnessed something that chilled my blood. She reached up and chomped off a couple of blueberries from one of my blueberry bushes. They weren’t very ripe. But she gulped them down.

I  love blueberries, and I’m proud of the fact that these bushes, which we planted about two years ago, are finally beginning to spread out and bear fruit. It’s not a ton of fruit. I’ve had two or three days so far this spring when I harvested enough to put them on my cereal. More often, I just pluck a berry or three in passing, tart little nuggets that Steve and Elliot disdain but which give me pleasure.

We’ve already erected sturdy fencing around our little blueberry patch to discourage marauding. But Dionne snatched her helping from a cluster of fruit next to the fence.

This is non-negotiably unacceptable. If she gobbles down an occasional morsel of Tucker poop, that’s disgusting. But if she goes after my berries… well, that could mean war.

The little monster eyes her prey.

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