The first handful of leaves fall from the great gothic elm in our front yard. Gypsy turns nine weeks old; she has her first swim, and she grows in body and awareness. Her face and snout elongates, and she leans toward looking like her European sire – Lon. But, her coat shows some light-colored ticking below the chocolate brown outer coat as found in her dam –Zoey.
The Great and Powerful Oz our female griffon is beginning to accept the pup, and is showing some tolerance and even – interest in Gypsy.
A couple of concerns: Great Horned Owls, which are known to take house cats and small dogs, hunt near our farmhouse. We hear them emitting their territorial hoots before dawn. Plus these large, aggressive owls raise young in sentinel pines near the barn every year, so we know they are resident. In June we lost an indoor cat, that just happened to get outside at night, we believe to an owl. So, when Gypsy walks out before dawn or after sunset below the elm tree, I’m with her, and she is on a lead.
My second concern is that we may not have had her inside the house as much as we should have (for house training), because she has spent a lot of time on the covered porch outside and in exploring the three-acre fenced area around the house. It’s been hot in Oregon, and even though fall is on its way, we are still experiencing days where temperatures are in excess of ninety degrees. So, the porch is a great place for the puppy to play and stay cool in the shade. When she does come inside, she pees—even though I watch her carefully. I know puppies have to pee after eating, after playing, and after sleeping. But, she moves quickly and we don’t have effective ways of shutting off the main room from the rest of the house.
Yesterday I asked Gypsy, “Do you see the other dogs peeing on the floor in the house”? Two big eyes looked back in response.
“Well,” I said, “That’s something you might want to note and take to heart.”
Gypsy immediately ran to the door and started to whine the universal dog-sign for “I want out.” How incredible –what a smart puppy I have. Well, if only this were true. Right now that scenario is only a dream. We are still in the phase –accidents happen.
Yet, we make progress in a variety of departments. This week, on a real warm day, she did learn to swim with the big dogs – with a little help from poppa Bruce. And, she picked up the scent of California quail during one of our late afternoon hikes.
She’s pretty reliably retrieving a sock dummy, and by command she sits and waits for me to put her food down during her four daily feedings. She also knows what “stay” means in relationship to the door from the porch into the house. If I give the stay sign, the open palm hand signal, Gypsy pauses and doesn’t rush the door. She waits to be invited in, so in some other important areas she is learning restraint.