CFR

Welcoming A New Dog to the Garden

As many of you know, our dear dog Riley died last March. After grieving him for the past summer, in September we finally felt ready to accept a new dog into our lives. On Wednesday we brought Sparky home from Cape Ann Animal Aid in Glouchester. He is a rescue puppy from Puerto Rico (a Sato) and although his papers said “boxer and labrador mix” I’d be willing to bet that there’s a lot of Jack Russell or Rat Terrier in this pooch. (DNA test results to follow.) Meet Sparky.

Wecoming a puppy to the garden can be a project. Although Sparky learned to sit in about 30 minutes he’s got a ways to go with “drop it!” Like most puppies he wants to pounce on and eat every acorn, rock and piece of wood. He bites at any long, thin plant (Liatris, all species, are his special favorite) and hurled himself at the Annabelle Hydrangea flowers more than once. To him, plants are just playthings and nothing is off limits so the leash is a necessity for now. Maybe it’s good that the growing season is winding down…he’ll be several months older (and hopefully wiser) when we begin planting next spring.

All of our dogs have learned several key commands and “Out of the garden!” is one of them. This pup will learn where he’s allowed to run like a banshee, where he can walk carefully, and where he’s not allowed to enter. He’ll learn what he’s allowed to bite and what’s forbidden. And while we teach him about us and the gardens he’ll be educating us as well.

Getting a new dog is a little like planning a new garden: you begin with a leap of faith, some knowledge and hope, and then discover where the process takes you.

This was Hector's bed originally, and he was a LARGE dog. Sparky seems to feel right at home here, however.

This was Hector’s bed originally, and he was a LARGE dog. Sparky seems to feel right at home here, however.

He is most comfortable and carefree when he's next to us. It's a big world that we're introducing him to, and it's sometimes a bit scary for a small dog...

He is most comfortable and carefree when he’s next to us. It’s a big world that we’re introducing him to, and it’s sometimes a bit scary for a small dog…but when he’s feeling safe you can see the joy and fun in his eyes.

He is suspicious that I keep holding up my cell phone in front of him, however, but I don't let him take it to chew on. I can see him thinking "Why is she shoving this in my face all time if I'm not allowed to have it?"

He is suspicious that I keep holding up my cell phone in front of him, however, but I don’t let him take it to chew on. I can see him thinking “Why is she shoving this in my face all time if I’m not allowed to have it?”

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