Miss Congeniality or Junk Yard Dog?

What Gandy lacks in good looks, she makes up for in attitude

This time of year is my most creative and productive, full of projects, potential and possibilities.

In January, February, and March of 2006, I compiled and published Slow Road Home. In January, February, and March 2009 I compiled and published What We Hold In Our Hands.

In January, February, and March of 2012, I’m not sure I will write anything at all. But I am sure that at the end of those three months, we will know much better who it is that we have taken on to become our next canine companion. She will accompany us on every walk, be a part of every wood gathering and twig-finding excursion, underfoot at every gathering of family and friends, and be evolving toward the kind of para-human presence that makes this place worth writing about.

Or she may just be a junkyard dog. She certainly has the potential in some of her expressions and silly faces–not to mention her occasional benign belligerence and puppy exuberance.

She’s going to be mad at me one day when she grows up for posting this demented-hyena picture (as my daughter is for taking the picture of her with her finger up her nose, and bringing that to her wedding reception.)

But I’ll be content to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Gandy is turning out to be such a good fit for us here. Now. So we will forgive her if she has her snarky moments and her less than wonderfully photogenic poses. I can pretty well promise, this will not be the last you’ll see! (This was actually the very FIRST picture I took of her on the second day she was with us. I just wanted you to see what we’re up against!)

Truth: she is amazing. We had strangers (not to us) in the house last night, and she was excellent. Nothing seems to upset her (except loudly-verbal marital disagreement. Thank goodness we have NONE of that here! : > } She still sleeps through the night in her crate beside our bed, with one quick outside visit only, then back to sleep. She is learning her We’ve started clicker training. My thumb is tired.

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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. By the way, I think Gandy is the greatest name for your silly pup, especially with the explanation of the derivation from Gander.