Sunday, July 17, 2011

Full of Grace

Do you remember this pitiful, dirty, wormy little German Shep-Black Lab mix of a runt? This is the photo her owner texted me when I called about the free puppies. Can you see the sadness in her eyes?

Even cleaned up the day we brought her home, she was still pretty pitiful. It's been a long time since I've worried about a puppy as much as I worried about her those first few days. Five weeks and she could barely stand.

We gave her all the loving we could but she always seemed so sad, even when she began to put on some weight.

 She would sit by herself and just look at us, observing us. It seemed like she was  just biding her time, waiting for something, but for what?

We loved her more and more, and then one day, before we even knew what happened ....

... she sprang to life! Holy Cowabunga! She's a rock-n-roller now! I think our sweet Miss Gracie Mae figures she cheated death once so all bets are off. She feels invincible! How else to explain her near obsessive wish to befriend the ever frightening Smudgie, the Alpha Dog Cat.

She loves to garden. Notice the nice trimming job she did on my Echinacea by the bridge in the rain garden.

Here she's deciding if the lilies need to be trimmed.

She's not as big as her big brother Remy the Rat Terrier yet but she will be soon. And then some, judging by those feet and her lineage, however dubious it may be. Every two or three days we say to each other, "I think she grew today."

Um, just a little note- we don't really have anything against tails at our house. We just don't have any, other than the cat's. Remy's tail was docked before we got him and Miss Gracie never had one to start with.

 She loves her big brother and is a perfect pesky, tag-along little sister. He is as patient as the day is long. He's a good boy.

She is intensely observant of the world around her.

We recently kenneled the dogs with the vet while we took a four day weekend. When we picked them up, dear Dr. S came out and shook his head with a little laugh. "That is the feistiest puppy I've ever seen in all my years as a vet" he said. That made me proud of my girl. Oh and is she ever feisty- always ready for a tussle, not afraid to jump in, full of opinions and fearless energy. Do first, ask questions later. Questions like,

"Will I be able to get my head back out of there when I'm done barking at Remy downstairs?" The answer to that one is, "No, not without help from the momma."

I've gotten several wonderful emails from some dear Butterfly readers who have also taken in German Shep-Lab mix runts, even a few photos. I'm so thankful for each of these folks who let their hearts rule and have been so encouraged, especially early on, by the photos of their big robust happy GermShepadors, as my Zippy girl calls them. As I mentioned in my original post, all of my pets have been runts but this one had me worried.

As I looked at pictures of "GermShepadors", it struck me how so many black lab mixes have the white speckly chest and feet. Turns out Black Labs came from a  now extinct breed called the St John's Water Dog, which originated on the island of Newfoundland. The characteristic white chest, feet, muzzle, and chin markings, called tuxedo markings, still manifests in lab mixes and occasionally as a white chest medallion in Black Labs.

We still notice our Miss Good Gracious Gracie Girl sitting quietly, observing. But I don't think she's sad any more. She's just waiting- to get the party started.

Have a great day and don't forget to play hard, nap soundly, splash in the water, and slobber when needed.

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