Sunday, May 21, 2017

U is for Undaunted

I was giving Lucy a good head and neck rub this morning when my fingers ran over a suspicious little bump. Parting her fluffy fur to get down to the skin was a challenge, but what I found there was a nasty surprise-- the puppy had a tick.

Fortunately my brother was right there and I made him take it off her. (Thanks Bill!) We spent the next 20 miutes combing over both puppies and turned up 6 ticks-- 4 on Lucy and 2 on Rosie, all from just playing in the yard and the edges of the woods outside our rental house.

The puppies themselves could not have cared less, and in a kind of mental good luck-bad luck exercise, I convinced myself that despite the presence of filthy disease-carrying parasites crawling all over my precious puppy, the fact that the ticks were small (but not tiny deer ticks) and had not yet firmly attached was positive.

Life Lesson: If you can't see the bright side, try polishing the dull side.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

T is for Two

On her first big trip away from home, Lucy has been lucky to travel with her cousin Rosie. Everywhere they have gone this weekend, those pups have been the center of attention. People literally point and stop us on the street to pet the puppies. And when we're not out in public, the two of them wrestle themselves senseless until they collapse into a furry heap of cuteness and fall asleep. In many situations, twice the number means mean twice the work, but with these two the formula is inverted and two puppies actually seem to be half the work.

Life Lesson: There is a fine line between the numerator and the denominator.

Friday, May 19, 2017

S is for Stop and Go

Still another remarkable thing about puppies is their tendency to barrel through life at full speed, only to hit the brakes and drop into a sound sleep without warning. What's lovable in young dogs, however, is maddening in traffic, as I was reminded this afternoon when Connecticut kept us hostage for hours on I-84.

Fortunately, Lucy slept through it.

Life Lesson: Begin at the beginning and the go on till you reach the end then stop. ~Lewis Carroll

Thursday, May 18, 2017

R is for Rosie

A week before we got Lucy, my brother got a puppy, too. Rosie is also a Golden Retriever mix, and that makes her Lucy's cousin in more ways than one. Let me tell you, if one puppy is cute, then two puppies are unbearably adorable-- almost too winsome and fetching to be real. Together they tumble and roll in a wrestle and blur of sunrise-colored fur, nipping and growling seriously, but never in earnest. In between bouts they flop, eyes narrowed and pink tongues hanging in satisfaction, until one or the other remembers the game and pounces again.

Life Lesson: Treasure your cousins; they were your first friends and will love you forever.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Q is for Quixotic

What was it that made Lucy attack the water pitcher this afternoon? Was it the fact that I was paying more attention to it and the plants I was watering than to her? Or did it seem like it was threatening me in some way?

Whatever the cause, it was so amusing to see her growling at the big plastic monster that I turned it on its side, and made it growl back. Soon the pursued was in pursuit, as that mean old pitcher tried to swallow first Lucy's head and then her favorite toys.

Oh she put up a good fight, rescuing Mr. Peepers and the Monkey Bear from within the terrible fiend, but when at last she got her teeth on the handle and tried to drag it away so that she could put an end to its evil shenanigans, she discovered it was just too big to take anywhere.

And as it sat there in the middle of the living room, she gave it a little growl each time she passed, just to remind it who was the hero.

Life Lesson: The scariest dragons and the fiercest giants usually turn out to be no more than windmills. ~Cervantes, Don Quixote

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

P is for Penelope's Puppy

Even before we got Lucy, we were preparing Penelope, our cat, for the addition to the household that was going to




Isabel was already here when Penelope joined the family, and although they were never the best of friends, over the 12 years they lived together they definitely developed a warm(ish) relationship based on mutual respect, if not mutual affection. (Isabel herself was always wild for other cats-- probably a result of not getting enough love from her kitty at home.)

So, we knew Penelope would need some time and support to accept a new puppy into her well-established life. And? She has. She won't eat with or near the puppy, and so we put her food on the stairs behind a baby gate. She also ninjas around the house, above and below the puppy's line of site to get whereever she needs to go.

And yet... she does have a certain fascination for that furry little ball of insanity, watching the puppy intently from all her safe places. And when we tell her that she has to "teach the baby" she looks at us quite gravely and winks.

Life Lesson: Never give up on something because it will take time-- the time will pass anyway.

Monday, May 15, 2017

O is for Oil Change

My nephew is graduating from college in Massachusetts on Saturday, and so this weekend is Lucy's first big roadtrip. In order to get ready, I took my car in for some routine maintenace after school today.

Let me be the first to say that I really don't know very much about cars and how they work. My strategy is to try and find a service provider that I trust and then listen thoughtfully to what they say before okaying the procedures and paying the bill. And yet... there's always a nagging insecurity that somebody is taking advantage of what I don't know.

I can't count the number of times my students have asked me why they need to learn this or that. My answer is always the same: we want you to learn how to learn and learn how to communicate what you know so that you can get what you want from this one short life.

And kids? Take it from me. There's a lot to know.

Life Lesson: I think it's pretty obvious.