Animal Magnetism

There comes an auspicious turning on the compass that guides the life a small dog, a redirection in space that changes everything. We are at the cusp of such a turning point. And in this case, the new direction is UP.

Within a day or two, Gandy will be able to jump–first, on the couch and Queen Anne chair upon which newspapers, books, house shoes, camera bags and anything else wanting to avoid mastication has retreated to safety. But safe, not much longer. Then the bed will be in her sights and soon in her powers to conquer, like a personal Mt. Katadin.

And there will be no higher hiding place for formerly-forbidden stuff unless we resort to bear-country tactics: suspending all consumable items (anything that is not made of plate steel) from a rope thrown over a convenient tree limb. What? O-rings screwed into the ceiling?

She has her sweet moments, right before she naps, and right after she groggily wanders out of her crate, and before her mouth is overcome by the irresistible physics of attraction.

She can no more ignore her dental attraction to buttons, laces, sashes or cardboard than a horseshoe magnet can choose to avoid picking up paper clips and thumb tacks. Her teeth are drawn by invisible forces that radiate through space, in the same way the tongue of a small boy is attracted to a frozen pump handle in January. Gandy’s magnetic mouth is drawn to all objects in her orbit, though thankfully, flesh has become somewhat demagnetized.

UPDATE: the ability to leap low furniture in a single bound happened mid-day Friday.

And we don’t know which way’s UP.

PS: There are new pictures. They’re on my iPhone. And they’ll stay on my iPhone until I can install a wireless router that actually works. To repeat: the N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router I was sent yesterday did not work. Not at all. DO NOT BUY BELKIN. It is their fault I cannot show you a Gandy picture this morning. And that, dear sirs and madams, is a serious corporate mistake worthy of boycott!

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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. Ah, the CHEWING stage. Time to really work on the “leave it” and “give” commands, substituting an appropriate toy in place of whatever she should not be mouthing and also to be sure there are plenty of items at hand for that teething girl to help relieve the aches.

    Not sure if baby tylenol might be OK for times when she seems to be really suffering, check with Dr. M for her advice.

    Calypso was particularly fond of ink pens and my boot laces at that stage.

  2. So, what are you going to do for a wireless router? I’d like to suggest a new Netgear wireless router. I bought one (the only wireless router I’ve ever owned) and it works beautifully. It all but installed itself too. I was simply amazed at how user friendly it was. That’s all about that subject.
    NOW … about Gandy. You are one lucky fellow because Gandy’s mouth was demagnetized when it came to human flesh. We were not that lucky and remain so. Our Chewy is huge now. I don’t know what she weighs but I know it is more than the Vet was expecting. She estimated no more than 30 pounds for her at her last visit. We do not have another visit until around Valentines day and that is for having her “fixed” and having a micro-chip installed under her skin. She will be approximately 6 months old at that time.
    Chewy has a few, small front teeth that are loose at this time. We were told that she would have her adult teeth about the time we take her for the “fixing” operation. Lord! I do hope she has lost the desire for human flesh at that time. In the meantime, we keep the muzzles handy. In general though, Chewy is slowing improving in all areas of behavior. We are ecstatic about that fact.

  3. I think you got your last puppy in the nick of time. At ages 69 and 75, with an 8 year old dog, your post had me laughing and swearing to never get another puppy. We are too old for all that!

  4. Fred, I know it’s more expensive, but just bite the bullet and get an Apple Airport router. We’ve had Airport Extreme for about 2.5 years now: it was shockingly easy to install and, the one time it had a problem, its diagnostics routine fixed it for me instantly. You’ve got Macs, might as well get the router designed for them.

  5. Got a NetGear on the way. There is nothing special about the wireless requirements of a mac, so I can’t figure out why the AirPort is so darned expensive, other than in the name of maintaining Mac purity. Which we otherwise can boast. I’d have paid an extra $20-30, but three times the price of what it takes to serve my needs is out of my social-security range. Here again, Mac just works. Hope in this case NetGear can say the same.

  6. Haha! Fred, this reminds me of the early years with my children. It was nearly impossible to childproof the house. Maybe we should have hung them from eye hooks. 😉

    Hope your Netgear router shows up soon. We all want Gandy photos!

    Fyi- I have a Mac and recently upgraded from my old router to a Netgear. It was so simple to work with, I even installed it myself. (And technical things are not my forte.) Works beautifully. Hope you have the same kind of luck with it.