Baby Henry Update

We are on the move, so not much time for writing before getting on the road again. I’ve had questions from those who remember the events around our grandson, Henry’s birth in September two years ago. How is baby Henry, they want to know, because the story just sort of stopped. There were constraints against sharing at that time, but those have since both passed and been resolved in Henry’s favor.

So I asked my son if it would be okay to tell Fragments readers about Henry. The telling will have to wait. But here’s a video from yesterday that tells some of the story.

And little Henry will have a new baby brother this summer. We are, of course, thrilled.

Snowed In ~ But One Escaped

It promises to be a beautiful snow, briefly, after the sun rises and before temps do the same and the winds pick up. We got something like 8″ of powdery snow after expecting WET, and there is a big difference. The broom did a good job clearing the Subaru this morning at 4:30. A wet snow would have required the “rope saw” method to clear the front window and hood, and each shovel full three times the weight. My back was not looking forward to that!

And so at 4:45 am, the tail lights disappeared very very slowly through the pines as I watched in the dark, from our bedroom window. This is the first winter morning this year filled with this kind of simultaneous hope and dread. I’d rather be the one traveling, but I almost think staying behind is harder, not knowing where she is and if she is or isn’t still safely following the tracks of the car that hopefully already slogged down the mountain to 460. I’m figuring the trip to work will take at least an hour and a half, and am watching Google Maps traffic, checking swva511 road conditions web site and traffic updates from the same source on Twitter. [Update 6 am: she made it to the interstate. It took over an hour.]

There were more Virginia roads significantly impacted by snow and ice from this storm than any other I can remember. The entire Commonwealth got slammed by this one, but conditions are much better this morning (roads light blue) than they were late last night (roads in most of SWVA dark blue) last night. Thank you, overnight VDOT road crew! Now, come visit us on Goose Creek.

Ann commented as she left that she had enough clothes, food and water for a week in the car. Don’t laugh. Check the link below the video. Some Swedish dude lasted a lot longer than that in his snowbound car!

Before things got too wooly yesterday afternoon, our neighbor brought his Golden Retriever Jesse down for a romp. He and Tsuga were best buddies, and I think he didn’t quite make the transition that even in the same familiar pasture, he was now relating to a far smaller dog. Gandy was not wary of him and was enjoying the romp, but Jesse, who weighs close to 120, was too energetic and oblivious of the size difference, so Gandy yipped a warning a few times–not from pain, but as a signal to back off. I ended up taking her home not long this short video of their initial playtime. I don’t want her to have bad experiences that make her afraid of other dogs. We’ll do it again soon, when she has gained weight, confidence and street sense. They’ll be good buddies one day.

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Peaks and Troughs: Alpha-Beta Canine Relations

I apologize to those who have heard enough about our trials and tribulations, our thrills of victory, or the more-common agonies of defeat in the attempt to rear this not-a-labrador-retriever puppy into a beast we want to have with us for the duration of her life.

Wednesday was a new low. She’s behaved worse, but not since we had made the leap of faith that she would, indeed, fit in. To have her revert to her wolfish ways was a sad disappointment, and we wondered aloud once again if we should see if she might fit better in another setting that the Humane Society might help us find.

Then today, Friday, she has been the perfect dog. After our hello greeting when she woke up at 530, I let her out, and she came in and nested on the love seat while, for the first morning since she came here on December 18, I actually got something done! She stirred when Ann got up, and did not venture to pull at her robe or her slippers. Gandy ate her breakfast, and came back to nap on the loveseat, and I got even more work done. Now, we’ve just come back from our first of a half-dozen walks of the day that you see in this boring video, and she’s asleep on the couch again. We wondered if she were ill, but her nose is cold and wet, and she shows no symptoms other than a bizarre NICENESS.

What happened between her Wednesday trough and Friday’s peak performance? And does any of this action on our part account for her transformation? We don’t know, but these two things took place yesterday.

1) Ann finally asserted her dominance, and went from being number three in this small pack to being number two. She finally boldly and loudly defended her space without resorting to bribery and pay-offs or acting afraid of the dog. The dog acknowledged her place, with no doubts this time. She got it and accepted her new #3 position.

2) And I did to Gandy what I had to do with Tsuga, who was surly and snippy too at 4 months: Interrupting a snappy episode, I literally laid down over him firmly but without causing pain, and held his muzzle and thwarted his every attempt to move for a full minute until he relented. After that, miraculously, he never again tried to take the alpha male role. Gandy, too, seems to have “gotten it” and at least today, has been the dog we hoped and prayed she could be.

But it ain’t over yet by a long shot.

Eight Pounds of Pounce

Posts promise to be fewer and shorter than usual. We are under siege. The source is a bipolar pup, half barracuda, half Miss Congeniality, a chimera of canine good and evil.

The snickersnack of the jaws: how to divert over and over into acceptable directions and towards acceptable approved objects: that is the challenge.

Today will be our first solo run, just Gandy and me, all the live-long day.

She did as well her second night as she did her first. We shouldn’t complain. It all goes with the job description, and we knew what to expect. Still, to have your life completely co-opted by eight pounds of fur-wrapped energy when I thought I was going to be doing so many other things with this prime time for writing in the winter months…well, think again.

A saving grace: when she gets in her snuggly mood, she is happy in her crate (where she is at the moment) and naps for a while and I have an unpredictable few minutes to eat, shower, write a blog post, answer an email. But write a book about dogs? What was I thinking!