Gandy Has Entered the Building!

We came home yesterday, as predicted, with one of the pups (on the left) in this picture. Her name is Gandy.

Of the three we saw yesterday (playing in a grassy strip adjacent to the shopping center asphalt) her sister was too aggressive and always-on; her brother, too passive; and she was (we thought) just right.

She has her moments of frenzied mouth-oriented crazies, and still only knows how to play with her litter-mates, full out, unrelenting, and teeth-first. After ten minutes of this, and many opportunities to reinforce NO! when she bites hands or socks on feet or beard or newspaper on the hearth–anything other than her designated toys–she calms down and becomes docile but curious, sweet and submissive.

For the hour ride home yesterday, she was alert, cuddly and issued not a peep. This is something for which we were unprepared, because Tsuga’s hour ride home in 2003 was one constant tortured howl of separation and anxiety. His first night with us, the ONE where we tried the crate, was a miserable failure, with more moaning and barking and angst.

And so it was with fear and trembling and mental preparation for what surely lay ahead that I slipped her into the crate by my side of the bed at 9 pm. She issued not a peep until 2, did her business outside the back door, and after a few minutes getting comfortable, went off to sleep again until we got up. Halleleujah!

These were pups “rescued” by an individual from a “free puppies” indiscriminate back-of-a-pickup give-away at the local Walmart. Fearing bad placement under those circumstances, the gal we got the pup from took home the mom and the entire litter, and is seeing that they go to good homes. We trust ours will be one of them. So far, so amazingly good.

Had it not been for a late morning call yesterday from R, who offered us the loan of a crate (until Gandy is house trained, I’m thinking it won’t be long at all) we would not have brought her home. She takes her meals in the crate, and does not seem fearful of it, though at the moment, she is sleeping unconfined on the rug remnant in front of the flickering wood stove–the exact position so often filled with 15 times more dog in physical size, a yeller dog possessed of a character and largeness of soul that she, we are increasingly confident, will someday grow to equal, in her own unique way.

It promises to be a wild ride, and I promise to not take a day for granted, and that more than a few words and pixels will be forthcoming.

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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.

    She is a beauty. Enjoy the ride. (Expect that she is likely to end up liking the crate — so be prepared to keep it. It can represent “home” to her, no matter where it is.)

    Have fun!

  2. I love my new “granddog”. I have watched the Vidio four times. get an old sock, tie it in the middle like we did for Missy. she played with it for years!

  3. We talked about something cloth earlier today, but are not sure how she will learn the distinction between an OLD sock and a NEW one. She particularly likes socks with TOES inside. She’s picked threads on a couple of pair of wool socks today, but is about broken of that bad habit. She’s working on one of the black Kong’s now—the kind we put peanut butter in the end. She’s giving it what-for!

  4. That’s what we keep telling her!

    I think we wore her out today and afraid we’ll pay for it. She’s been sleeping off and on the past few hours, and will probably wake up at 1 or 2 and want to play.

    So far, we have no regrets. I hope she feels the same way.

  5. You done good, Fred!! Gandy sounds like a real keeper!! God is being good to you old folks, giving you an easy pup this time around. That’s all you could handle!