Butterfly Kisses

Smooch the Pooch
Smooch the Pooch

Tsuga was born near Allisonia about an hour’s drive from here. He came into the world a little more than a week before Buster left it. He is the dog we swore we could never have again, the pain of losing our Black Beast just too hard to ever repeat.

By the middle of July, we’d softened. Word reached us of a litter of 10. We drove to see them. They were numbered with a magic marker, odds males (of course) and evens were females. Our dog was the second largest, the most curious and friendly.tsuga_creek

On August 17 when he was seven weeks old, we brought him to this two story dog house. He is turning six today, probably at least half way through his life. Chances are, we’ll outlast him by a little.

I hope he’s been half as happy to be here as we’ve been happy (mostly) to have him.

Grand daughter Taryn, who was terrified of their small dog Mia when it first came to their house a few months, has quite gotten over that fear. She grabbed Tsuga’s large labrador head by the jaws and planted one on him. He loved it.

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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. I’m very happy to see Tsuga get back into the headlines here (even if he has to share it). We’ve all kinda been watchin’ him grow (up?) and other things have taken priorities over his antics lately. Books? Grandchildren? What’s more important than a mud-lovin’ nose-followin’ Lab?

  2. It can be painful to have “one of the family” leave like your Buster, and I am in the throes of that right now….Not left, but 14 yrs old, Lhasa Apso, a ‘set in his ways’ gentleman, but he does not know age now….only that he moves slower.
    His twinkle is still there in his eyes, though there are cataracts…We will interact and love until…..