Underfoot Dog

image copyright Fred First
“Will want to be involved in all family activities” is the way Labs were described to us when we researched the possibility of getting our first one back in the early eighties. Oh how terribly right that species description was.

Sometimes, the togetherness is inspired by the hope of a dropped crumb or offered morsel from the kitchen counter (favorites: broccoli “trunks”, cabbage wedges and plain old dry dog biscuits). But more often than not, these dogs just must be whereever you are. And doing whatever it is that you are doing.

Yesterday, on a cold, blustery, not-so-good-for-photography kind of day, I worked for a while on the woodpile near the house, bringing armloads to store in the woodring and box on the back porch. The dog matched me one for one, each of my trips resulting in another odd piece that he selected for his own wood pile in the grass by the walkway.

At the end of the day, I had an armload of Tsuga-wood–smaller pieces, mostly (but he sometimes selects uncut lengths six or more feet long!) for the small stove in the family room.

If I could just teach him how to use that chain saw…

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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. And I thought our black lab was strange because he would eat broccoli and other vegetables. I’m glad to hear he’s not alone!

  2. Maybe Tsuga could have his own blog? Our Sheltie wants to be part of activities too, but he always wanted to herd the kinds as they ran about the yard.