Skip to main content _

Barry Crimmins

words to live near


Lloyd The Dog

Girls! Girls! Girls! Monday, September 10, 2007

Girls Girls Girls

Letty(above and Lu with Letty lying next to her below

You haven't heard from me for a few days because much has happened here. On Friday Karen got a tip on some Lab/Shepherd puppies. I was so depressed about Lloyd that I was barely able to function. I knew I didn't want to deal with a puppy but I raked myself in a pile, got in the car and met Karen in a town near the Pennsylvania border to appease her and take a look.

We met at a designated spot and then I followed her to a rural address where the puppies waited. The home was a dilapidated double-wide that had been sided with particular board that had been painted baby-shit green before beginning to fray and, in many spots, disintegrate. The first one to greet us was a beautiful but underweight German Shepherd female. It was clear she was very sweet and intelligent. Karen and I both wanted to rescue her. A woman came out of the dwelling and she was courteous and seemed nice. Judging by the demeanor of the Shepherd, she wasn't cruel to dogs, unless of course you consider spending money on ATV's instead of vet appointments cruel. As we introduced ourselves, two dusty and very cute female pups emerged from underneath the trailer. (Lloyd was born under a trailer in West Virginia!) They hadn't a bed or box to sleep in. They just took cover under the trailer. One was plump, the other was pretty thin. The woman said there were only two puppies in the litter, "as far as she knew." She did posit that some others may have "died under there."

Right then Karen and I knew we had to get the two babies out of there and to a vet as soon as possible. The complete lack of questions the woman had for us made it clear that these pups would be given to anyone willing to put them in a car and drive away. We didn't want these sweeties sentenced to life as lab animals or, perhaps worse, as worm-addled ditch dwellers. So we put them in a box in my car and tried to take them directly to our vet. Unfortunately, when we got back in cell range we learned he had left his office for the day so I drove them home while Karen went and got them a crate and some puppy food. For those not familar with the recent trend in puppy rearing, a crate is a wire cage that puppies use as a den. Since dogs won't soil where they sleep (except under conditions of extreme neglect) the crate is a major aid in housebreaking.

On the way home the two pups crawled out of their box and puked all over my car. Whelps will be whelps! I got them to Lloyd' Landing and they ran and frolicked all over the yard in between big drinks of water and a small meal of the highly nutritious food we had our boy on in his final days. Brains and sweetness-wise, they took after their mother. Looks -wise they favored their black Lab dad. Judging by the size of their paws they will be big girls.

Karen got home, I set up the crate, lined it with newspaper and covered it in towels. I then stocked it with plush toys, teething chews and other amenities and in went the girls. They did their share of howling but it was within acceptable puppy standards. Saturday morning, we named them Lucille and Letellia. Lu and Letty, for short. The double "L's" in their names are in honor of their late, lamented predecessor.

We got them to the vet before noon and they were given worming medicine. The vet, Dr. Weiner, wants to wait before giving the parvo vaccine in case they are already (God forbid) infected. They were full of worms. The doctor says they are in remarkable shape considering the circumstance from which we'd rescued them. We got them home, bathed them and they fluffed and cleaned up really well (note: the photos above are pre-bath).

Karen and I began to face the biggest issue that loomed-- the difficulty of raising two puppies at once -- particularly two siblings. The trick is to separate them as much as possible. Spend time with them individually and steer them towards relying on us. So we realized we needed at least another crate, and ideally three more, so that I can have them both upstairs or downstairs and each can have their own domains in which to establish autonomy. Fortunately my friend Jim Huxford had another large crate he gave me. I went and picked it up and last night the girls spent their first night apart -- in adjoining crates but apart. We will move them further apart each day and eventually keep them in different rooms. Last night I slept on the floor next to them and they took the change very, very well.

I am something of another story. I'll be concentrating on their training because the sooner they're manageable, the sooner I can get back to my own routine. For now, I am smitten with them but I'm also still very sad about Lloyd. The good thing is that their circumstances left us no ethical option to adopting them. I tried to keep the 'adopt one, find an excellent nearby home for the other' option alive but Karen has already bonded with the girls and, well, that's that.

So my days of hanging with my boy are over and I'm repaying my karmic debt for nine years of unbridled joy by doing my level best to make wonderful lives for two sweeties who deserve only the best.

I have something non-dog related I want to post tomorrow. I just have to get permission from Lu and Letty.