August 2017

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Bobby and I typically refer to Golden puppies as loaves of bread because they are roughly the size of a decently proportioned homemade loaf and similar in color. Since Guinevere is 11 weeks old--Alex and Lance were both 9 weeks when we brought them home--then she's quite a bit bigger than a loaf. We were adrift for a few days, not knowing what to call her. We'd sort of gesture her proportions with our hands like we'd do for the loaf of bread but bigger. But we didn't have a word to go with it. Eventually, I started calling her the miche, after the extra-large loaves one can buy at Panera Bread.

Well, we picked up the miche after work today. Here she is, riding in the car with Bobby right after we picked her up. (The car was stopped; I was not taking pictures while driving!)

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We needed a few things for her, so we stopped home long enough to pick up Phil and headed back out to Petco, where we picked up a color, leash, nametag (it says Guinevere, not Miche), bed, small ball, teething toy, and bag of treats. Phil got a big brother gift of a new Big Pink, since one Big Pink went missing right after we lost Alex and the other was among his grave goods. (We also found a twin to his favorite orange football. That hurt.)

Gwen was getting tired by this time, and since she is also miche-sized, she was pretty heavy to be lugging around the store, so she eventually reclined on her bed in the shopping cart, just like a queen being ushered about in a litter.

 photo Miche at PetCo_zps6yzhlmly.jpg

In the car, waiting for Bobby to return with the Thai carryout we ordered for dinner.

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During dinner, we took the crate for a trial run. That began with the most pathetic, plaintive crying one can imagine. (Actually, Alex was the master of whining and crying in his crate, and he'd start up if you so much as turned over in bed.) Eventually, she realized that wasn't going to work, so she started barking and growling, like she might threaten us into letting her out. Once we were done and she had a solid minute of quiet, we let her out again. She Facetimed with her grandmother and then got to hang out with me in the study, demolishing a stick brought in from the yard to keep her from chewing on my plants.

We had a brief training session with Lancelot. Lance is not falling naturally into the big-brother role. He snarled at her and knocked her over at the breeder's last week, so we've been working with them on good behavior together and boundaries. He did really well. We put a muzzle on him for her safety; he looks like Hannibal Lecter.

But ohmygoodness, that wore her out!

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She is asleep now on her bed on the floor behind me, stretched out on her side with her face resting on a splinter of the stick that she tore up all over the floor, having a squeaky dream.

Speaking of Phil, this past weekend, we went to Ocean City for a teaching convention (really! I have the course credit certificates to prove it!!), and Phil went with us. Here he is in the car on the way down there. I managed to capture the look we get very often from him, which might be summed up as Woe! The Worlde Is a Harsh, Cruele Place to Mee!

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After losing Alex, we have come to realize how much Phil relied on Alex for what I can only term his mental health. Phil doesn't do well with a lot of stimulation and tends to be anxious in situations where he is exposed to a lot of noise or contact. (Hence the fact that he tends not to like puppies--like Gwen! They are noisy and pushy and don't have boundaries yet.) Alex buffered him from a lot of that because Alex was so sociable, he'd push to the front to be petted by people or play with dogs we'd meet and let Phil hang back with us. It's weird, since Phil is eight years old, but we're having to learn his limits. We did that a lot this weekend in anticipation of bringing Gwen home and learned quite a bit from him.

The weather on Friday was beautiful, and we had a few hours on the beach in the afternoon. On Saturday, a cold front moved in, and we could only spend an hour before the sharp-edged wind drove me off. We took the B on Saturday night and did a pub crawl. We only crawled to two pubs because the second on the route--Brass Balls--was having their season closing party and had half-priced drinks, so we squatted there and availed ourselves of that. Returning to Manchester Sunday evening, we ascended the hill to our house amid a brief snow shower, and we had to put on the woodstove for the first time that night. So we went from comfortably sitting on the beach to, two days later, snow showers.

Gwen is presently sound asleep, half on her back with her nictitating membrane pulled over her eye, her ear turned inside out, and her front legs extended rigidly in front of her like a B-movie monster. She actually looks about as creepy as is possible for an 11-week-old miche.
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