I added some clean straw to cover the potentially muddy spots (when/if it rains). My dogs have always thought that new straw beds are better than people beds! Plus, you don't get kicked out of them. The beauty of this pen (besides the obvious snacking potential...) is that the dog's can't ruin anything. No rare plant casualties, no Bad Dog digging, no inadvertant trampling of a seedling as they race around a corner. No Ann yelling : "GET OUT OF MY FLOWERS!".
Life is good. Dogs can be dogs.
It also is a natural observing spot: it allows the dogs to watch me in the kitchen, see who comes out of the front door, back door or office, see who comes through the front gate, keep an eye on the pasture and a quick glance covers the entire yard (Where are those cats?). Watchdog heaven. Surprisingly - no barking. While I was here, anyway. Soft, black pungent earth full of all kinds of smells and tastes. Just asking to be excavated. And so they did. With no reprimand. Even encouraged.
Life is good on the hill. Unless your Maddie - who jumps out and hangs with mom "Finally, just you and I - alone."
So here's the view I get when I look out while washing dishes - yeah, you're right - while I'm daydreaming at the kitchen sink:
If you look very carefully, you can see JJ & Fern at the top center of the photo. Trust me. It was better full size. Actually, I was impressed at how clean my windows look ! All is not lost faithful reader: You can click on the photo and see the very large size photo: clearly showing Fern & JJ on lookout. I'm such a techno-wizard...scary, isn't it?