Three Dog Night

Gandy is becoming a very self-confident, self-possessed young pup

It was the first time Gandy got me up THREE times instead of the usual ONCE.

She has not reached the point where she can do both jobs with one visit outside in the wee hours. She only remembers she needs to poop after coming back in and letting me sink into the lily pads and begin twitching in early REM sleep. Then she remembers.

She will not get up and do what needs to be done outside if it is raining. We may be moving to Texas.

What problems WILL the snow present? It rolled around in my head in the sleepless hours overnight that maybe I should bring that 4×8 foot piece of marine plywood over and prop it against the house outside the back door. If we are expecting snow, I can lie it down on cinderblocks, and shovel show off it every little bit. Then when the moment of bowel or bladder crisis arises, I can tip it up and offer Herself a patch of grass that might be acceptable.

Do you think she’s going to get the idea that the universe revolves around her? Well, she’s a SHE, after all!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. My princess wouldn’t go outside if it was raining. I had to throw all 60+ pounds of her outside to go in the mornings. She figured out after not-very-long that if she did it quickly she could come back inside and escape the horror of that wet stuff falling from the sky.

  2. Gandy is beautiful!!
    Just look at that face and those eyes………………….. yep, you will be doing whatever SHE wants!!

    Here, if it is raining, I have to clean up our screened in porch, after Pruddie, our beagle. She goes out the screen door, into the rain, then back in the doggie door onto the porch. But, what you gonna do? We love our dogs, don’t we??!!

    Good luck and God bless

  3. Of course, we quickly teach them that the universe revolves around them! We are quick, resourceful problem solvers, and they know we will find a way to make things to their liking if they just have a very little patience. Our picky eater Scruffy knows if he turns up his nose at his carefully made dinner, that in not too many minutes Allen will decide to make it more appealing with some more tasty people food. So, unless he’s starving, now we can count on him refusing to eat until the pot is sweetened. We feel like such dupes, but what can you do? Let the poor baby go hangry?

  4. Please don’t let a day go by without some news of Gandy’s progress. I’ve always had dogs as part of my life along with the children. Just recently had to put down two of our beloved “rescue dogs” the ache will always be there for them as they gave back more than I could ever give. Given my age and circumstances another “rescue” is not possible at this time. Can I live vicariously through your new venture? I fills a painful void. Thank you for sharing your gift of communication with so many.

  5. Our Jack Russell is five years old and still requires multiple trips outside to complete his business. I’m not sure Gandy will grow out of it. I had another dog — a mutt — back in the dark ages that did the same thing.

  6. That photo is frame worthy – and that darling face would capture anyone’s heart in about 10 seconds! Isn’t it funny how all your “lurking” readers have suddenly found their voices because of Gandy?

  7. Yes, Heidi, Rosanne and others…I enjoy writing (and in a sense, need to write) about our animals just now, and it is a shot in the arm to have, at least for a while, a small engaged readership with this shift of topic focus.

    And all the more reason to try to not lose sight of the “dog book” I had started compiling and outlining when suddenly, Gandy happened in our lives. That, too, will be, by the time this potential book is complete, a very big part of our life with canine intelligent life-forms and friends.

    I think such a book (with photos) might find a wide and passionate and appreciative readership. We’ll see what happens.

  8. Fred, Spence (German Shortair0 still doesn’t like rain, but he loves puddles and thinks that snow (and we have a fair bit of it here) is great fun – perhaps the Lab in Gandy will prevail, and she will feel the same. She is a beautiful girl!