The number of ground squirrels overrunning The Acre this year is astounding.

I don’t know if the dry winter let more survive, or if my neighbor’s newly constructed pool drove them out, or if all the good squirrel predators have changed their tastes, but I am literally stumbling over these rodents and their burrows everywhere.

I’ve found them wreaking havoc in the vegetable garden, the keyhole garden, and the greenhouse. This morning there was one chowing down on a cherimoya on my back deck. Since March I’ve trapped more than 40, and spent ungodly amounts on baits, poisons and gasses – all to little or no effect as far as I can tell.

It wasn’t always like this though.

Once upon a time we had four Dachshunds. Low slung wienerdogs with shovels for front paws and a single-minded determination to dig as far and fast as they could in pursuit of burrowing animals.

They were a quartet of rescues, all abandoned because they were the undesirable “tweenie” size, weren’t perfectly shaped for the breed, or had health problems like Cushing’s disease, bad backs, etc.

Individually they were plenty of fun, but together they were a pack of baying, barking hyperactive hounds that tore up landscaping and irrigation, and turned significant portions of the yard into a crater-filled moonscape in pursuit of gophers, moles and, most importantly, ground squirrels.

To my best recollection, they never caught more than one or two squirrels, but their sheer determination and persistence at chasing those rodents in their tunnels seemed to be enough to keep all but the most foolish squirrels far away.

The other day I got a comment on a video I posted years ago of three members of the weenie pack (Rommel, Franzi and Monty) working a burrow down on the slope of the dry creek. I had forgotten about the video, so when I clicked through to it, I was surprised to find that it had over a million views!

Three of the four have since passed, so only Hank remains. He’s of the age where prefers a good nap in the sun to a long dig. The other three are now all resting along the slope of the dry creek where the video was shot.

Interestingly, while the hill is riddled with squirrel burrows, there are none where the doxies now lie, which makes me feel as if they’re still doing their job – just without the torn up sprinklers and trenches.

Good dogs in less squirrely times.