Life with Gracie would be fine if she'd just learn her line

Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

We are now two months-plus into life with a new puppy and so far, all sides seem to be surviving, at least.

The latest canine member of our household, Gracie, joined us in early June after a 360-mile round trip to Michigan to pick her up – I think I’ve said before that Terry will go to any length to get a dog, and she (or we) did.

Gracie is at least half Plott Hound – on her mother’s side, for certain – which became Terry’s favorite breed after she spent 12 ½ years bonding with Fenn, who was a Plott Hound/Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix.

Naturally, Gracie is still a lot smaller than Fenn was when we had to put her down, but she’s already making progress toward getting as big as her predecessor.

That has caused some problems for Gracie and Terry.

As a new puppy, Gracie was a perfect lap size and was perfectly content and comfortable spending her nights in Terry’s lap.

She’s already starting to grow out of lap size, however.

That’s created more than a few awkward moments when Gracie has jumped up into Terry’s lap and nearly knocked the chair – and Terry and herself – over.

When she does manage to make it up there without incident, it becomes more and more of a challenge for Gracie to find a comfortable position to lay in – comfortable more for Gracie than for Terry.

Gracie has draped herself over Terry’s shoulders, across her lap, around her neck and in a few other positions that I’ve only seen possible in Yoga instruction books.

When Gracie reaches her full size, I for one am going to be glad that I never let her become my lap dog.

She does seem to be adjusting pretty well in other ways, however.

We’ve fortunately had very few accidents around the house – and most of those came in the first week or two she was with us.

It didn’t take us too long to indoctrinate her on what the backyard is for so we no longer have to keep the mop handy to clean up any accidents.

The only time that happens anymore is those rare occasions when the last one of us out of the house forgets to put Gracie in her kennel before we leave – and I’m glad to say that both of us have been trained in that little task quite well by now.

While we know Gracie’s mother was a Plott Hound, we still have no firm information on who her father was, since she was a rescue dog from Georgia.

That hasn’t prevented Terry from playing detective, trying to figure out what Daddy might have been.

I’m satisfied with knowing that it was another dog, but that’s not good enough for Terry.

She first voted for a Bluetick coonhound, while Alex was leaning toward a Blue Heeler, but now Terry seems to think Daddy might have been a Plott Hound, too.

I don’t care, just so long as Daddy doesn’t move in with Gracie.

Since she came home with us, we’ve baby sat for several other dogs as well – our sons’ or our friend’s – so Gracie has learned to socialize well, although I will do whatever I can to make sure that socializing doesn’t become a permanent state for her and she remains an only child – make that dog.

Terry has been taking her for walks regularly, but heeling and walking at a proper pace on a leash are apparently not inherent traits in this dog, so the two of them have started an obedience class.

It did take Fenn three separate courses in obedience school to fi- nally get the hang of all of it, so I can see some extended educational experience ahead for Gracie.

I would just like it if they would teach her that she only needs her own four feet to walk on.

Gracie, unfortunately, has a preference to walk around between the nearest person’s legs whenever she can.

Apparently, she believes that she needs six feet to get around – even though I’ve told her repeatedly that the only thing that has six feet is two yards, and we only have one yard.

All in all, Gracie is coming along fine – although she still hasn’t learned yet to answer “Goodnight” when I say “Goodnight, Gracie,” to her.

I wonder if George Burns ever had that problem?

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