Four Year Pup


It was four years ago, July 6, that we took Buster on his last trip to town. It will soon be four years, August 17, that we brought Tsuga home to Goose Creek.

This is not a very good picture from a couple of weeks ago. And contrary to how it appears, he is NOT about to stand up and walk on his hind legs, but is running toward me, full out, laughing. It will serve as a placeholder, a reminder not to forget his anniversary of becoming a part of our lives.

Maybe I’ll indulge myself and reminisce. Meanwhile, the hemlocks, his namesake, continue to turn gray and give up the ghost.

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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. we lost our little Lhasa Muffie on St Patrick’s Day, 3 years ago now. Sadie Mae, a delightful Yorkie/Bichon mix, is a year old tomorrow. With our 2 choc Labs, one elderly, one also one year old, we are surrounded by dog love.

    We have friends who prefer world travel to having dogs. They aren’t necessarily close friends!

  2. I will never forget reading your essay about Buster’s last trip, Fred – it liked to crushed me.

    I still have a photograph you sent me years ago – Buster standing in ankle deep snow on the banks of Nameless Creek – saved away on my hard drive.

    Give Tsuga a belly rub for me…