Big Red, Mr. Blue and Miss Teeth and the Smyth pack.

As we were leaving Sand Point with our little bundle of shaking Aussie girl, breeder and friend Marilyn Gadberry reminded us that three dogs equals a pack.  It’s been a week since our Lola girl joined the family and it’s been a mostly fun seven days of getting to know each other.  As the week ends, Marilyn’s words seem prescient as we saw the the first signs of bonding. 

Poor Lo, we’ve exposed her to so much.  This is a busy place sometimes.  Lots going on in the house.  People coming and going.  All the dogs go in their crates when we leave, and though I wasn’t gone long any day, little Miss was a vocal protestor. We’ve learned that Lola likes to put anything into her mouth she can tear apart.  Tennis balls, bits of cellophane, anything plastic that she can crunch is good.  I spend a lot of time with my fingers in her mouth, and all I get from her is a look that says “What? You lookin’ at me?” Her table manners need work, and she’s happy to try and snatch food out of her brothers’ mouths.  They just look at each other and shake their heads in incredulous understanding.  Kids.

Lo’s hung out around through the noise of the lawn mower and edger, the vacuum cleaner and my Dremel tool.  She doesn’t much care for the sprinkler.  But she loves to chase a ball.She rolls on her back in the grass.  Lola’s getting better at walking, though we do have occasional system failures.  Last night she nearly killed me when she ran around me wrapping her leash around my legs.  Walking three dogs can be a challenge, but most of the time she does pretty well.  She can be a little bit barky.  This morning she aired out a neighbor very sleepily walking out to get his newspaper at 5:00. 

Lola’s always happy to see me.  When I walk through the door she runs to me with her whole hind end wiggling and a big clenched smile that makes it look like she’s baring her teeth, but in truth that is her happy face.  I’ve taken to calling her Miss Teeth. She loves to jump up in a lap–for about two minutes, long enough for a quick tummy scratch and a face wash, before running off to chomp a Nyla-bone or forage for real or imaginary food, or maybe a quick lie-down.. She’s such a little person, just like the two boys. 

Rusty has had the hardest time adjusting to new company.  He’s always been the most passively compliant, while having the biggest personality of the two boys.  The first couple of days of being home from boarding he seemed kind of listless and standoffish, seeming to resent all the attention his new little sister received.  On Wednesday I decided to escape with him, leaving the other two guys crated while we drove for a walk down to Bradley Lake Park. While walking him that morning he began to cough a little that only became worse at the park and worse still at the lake.  Bordatella, “kennel cough,” or canine bronchitis.  Though he has been vaccinated and received boosters.  He’s been on anti-biotics since Friday and is feeling a lot better. 

He’s gotten a little more assertive with Miss Teeth.  Big Red swipes her toys after she’s swiped his.  Yesterday they had a couple of epic chasing matches, which was just magnificent to watch.  How they turn like that without blowing out all four knees is beyond me. They get along well, and Lola likes to tag along with him whenever they are together, especially on walks or while outside. Just as important, things are back to normal between Rusty and me.  Don’t know if he was sulking or just not feeling well, but there were a few days when he didn’t want to have much to do with me, and that is unusual.

I know Amos is a red merle, not a blue merle, but I call him Mr. Blue because of his eyes.  I’ve always thought he and Rusty make a good team, like Hellboy and his alien sidekick Abe Sapien (Rusty is our red demonic hero and Amos is his his blue, water-breathing, rotten egg eating, rational friend.) Amos has gotten a been chubby since he’s come to live with us.  We’re really hoping he could get a bit more active and chase Rusty and Lola around a bit.  He is often shy and solitary, which is a bit sad.  I love him so much.  He is the sweetest dog, fiercely protective, sometimes barky.   He loves attention and affection and demands to have his belly rubbed. His fur is the softest and silkiest I’ve ever felt.

He’s come through the introduction of Miss Teeth into the family with flying colors.  It’s not that he’s necessarily embraced Lola, but at least he is relatively unchanged.  Amos is patient with her, even though Lola is often underfoot, anxious to lick is food bowl, even though he isn’t done eating, and a bit of a toy hog.With the weather so nice, we’ve spent a lot of time outside in the backyard.  I take ten minutes or so a few times a day to sit under our big maple tree, which usually brings all three dogs to sit with me. That’s unusual for Amos.  He’s often a bit reticent, likes to hang out in the house or on the deck by himself.  The past week, he’s run out to be with the others, and participates in the big three-in-one rolling in the grass fest that is pretty fun to watch. 

Sunday we were quite thrilled to see Rusty and Lola facing off and playing, Unfortunately Amos didn’t play and instead was the cop, kind of breaking things up and running Rusty off.  Strange stuff.  Still lots of summer left, and we’ll see how this all plays out. But it’s clear that there is some bonding going on here. I’m a little worried about the school year, because I’ve given them all so much time while I’ve been home.  It’s going to be a big adjustment.

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