Monday, December 12, 2011

Its the dog's fault. Really.

Ellie, shortly after her arrival.  She sure looks cute, but........

Several of you are aware that last winter we sadly lost both of our golden retrievers, less than three months apart.  First, fifteen-year-old Gus who simply lost his battle with old age, then thirteen-year-old Clare who suffered from recurring cancer.  As goldens tend to be, they were wonderful dogs: Clare was my relentless running partner for many years, and Gus was the kindest and noblest animal I have ever known.  Life without them underfoot just didn't seem complete.

When I began to make murmurings about getting another golden early last summer, the males of the house tried to dissuade me: my son lobbied for a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and my husband requested I consider a Clumber Spaniel.  As I read about both of these breeds online, I wanted to think I was being open-minded -- but really, I was having none of it.  I mean, if it works......why fix it?  (And you know, what Mom wants................)  So, after researching several golden retriever breeders in southern Michigan through the summer, "Ellie" came home to us in September.  

It did not take long for me to begin to wonder if, a) I had been tremendously naive, or b) I had simply forgotten what cute, little puppies are really like -- though I'm quite sure my memory serves me correctly in that I'd never experienced anything quite like Ellie.  I'd envisioned walking through the fields with my beloved golden puppy at a perfect 'heel' by my left knee, (okay, okay.......that was naive), and suffered from delusions of me working at my drawing table with Ellie quietly napping on her fleece mat at my feet. 

This was not to be.  Actually working for any length of time, soon seemed like a distant memory.  Ellie seemed much less like a sweet little puppy, and more like the whirling Tasmanian devil I recall from cartoons as a child.  Even my husband, more dog-savvy and tolerant of puppy foibles than I, was heard to mutter on several occasions, "I think there is something wrong with her."  Listening was clearly a totally foreign (or selective) skill on her part for many weeks, and there seemed to be a great deal of confusion as to who was actually the pack leader around here.  Averaging about every forty-five seconds, I was either taking something out of her mouth that didn't belong there, saving my elderly cat from her puppy exuberance, or removing her from somewhere or something that is off-limits.  (And I'll spare you the potty-training details.)  My life was quickly reduced to a pocketful of "cookies" (food being the only thing that motivated Ellie toward anything that even remotely resembled good behavior), and a vocabulary consisting of, "no", "leave it", "sit", "stay", "STAAAYYY", "off", "leave the cat alone!"...............and the occasional, "good girl".

 I knew (hoped) things would get better; I just did not realize it would take so long!  Over the past two to three weeks and as she approaches five months old, Ellie is maturing and showing signs of the great dog she is going to be.  (Big sigh of relief).  I no longer find myself in the throes of, "What was I thinking?", my old cat seems to be no worse for wear, and life is gradually resuming some normalcy.  So you see?........I didn't fall in a horse trough as some of you may have suspected.

Below are the two small equine works that I have had in progress.  I will be assessing what finish work is needed on the bay horse; the grey requires significantly more layering before it is close to finished.

Tomorrow my son returns home from college, and we will put up the Christmas tree.  I'm doing this with some trepidation..........somehow visions of the cat running under the tree with Ellie in hot pursuit followed by the tree crashing to the floor keep creeping in.  Call me crazy.

Have a wonderful, joy-filled Christmas.........and if you made it through my lengthy 'Ellie-vent', well, thanks for reading.    : )


  1. I've missed you! Glad to hear Ellie is moving past her baby stage and into toddler-hood. Thank you for sharing your story...I have now decided I don't need a dog. Hugs...

  2. Now Cindy -- I would never want to dissuade you from having such a......uh......fulfilling experience! hahahaha. Really tho, now that she is moving past it, I wouldn't trade her for the world. I can even leave my shoes on the floor now.....sometimes. : )
    Love you-

  3. Congratulations on your "new" puppy! She is a cutie!! I admire your patience and perserverance...I chickened out and opted for a slightly-older already-trained rescue.

    Glad to see you back in the blog world and able to admire your newest works; gorgeous, as usual Lynda!! Likewise, happy Holidays!

  4. Colette, there have been times I'd WISHED I'd chickened out! This will be my last puppy tho: assuming she lives to a nice old age, I will be way too old to do this again! Thanks so much.

  5. I'm pleased to hear that Ellie is keeping you occupied and providing hours of entertainment :-)
    Seriously, sounds as though you have lived through the worst of it and ..... she is rather cute isn't she?

    Merry Christmas - hope you, the cat and the tree survive it intact!

  6. Oh welcome back dear friend! How I love to read your blog entries!! Your descriptions are so visible! I can actually see you and Ellie battling over the "Alpha" title. *chuckle* I'm so glad that you have been finding the time to draw. As always...they're mesmerizing. Miss you!!

  7. Sue, I'm certainly hoping the worst is behind me; it would be tough going back to that after a 2-3 week respite!
    Yes, may all our Christmas trees stay upright!

    Ha, ha, Dianna: yes -- it took awhile, but we BOTH knew who would win THIS battle! Thanks, friend.

  8. Your blog was certainly missed but I thoroughly enjoyed your comeback post. Do hope you'll forgive my I noticed a little while back on FB that you had a new puppy...adorable she is. I'm glad you've survived through the puppy stage just puberty to go now and it'll be all plain sailing lol.
    Love the two equine works on the go...that bay is beautiful I feel I could touch it's soft fluffy ears.
    Hope you have a lovely Christmas and the tree remains

  9. Elizabeth, I don't mind your chuckles at all: I wrote it rather tongue-in-cheek.......however, when I was going through the worst of it, it was not the least bit funny!!!
    Hmmmmm........I'm pondering ways to possibly decrease the odds that Ellie will jump up on the tree......I wonder how a tree with decorations ONLY around the top one third would look???? hahahaha

  10. I couldn't say anything better than Dianna already did, so "Ditto"! Your descriptions really are so on target, and the drawings are gorgeous. Have fun Christmas decorating.

  11. Thank you, Debbi.......and now that Ellie's Tasmanian qualities appear to be decreasing, I hopefully will be making a bit more progress on the drawings. I don't need to tell you and Dianna: I AM ALPHA. (Ellie probably has ME trained and I just don't know it!)

  12. First of all, this was such a wonderful post...second, Congratulations on the arrival of Ellie. She's adorable! I had a dachshund and remember the times at Christmas time when she waited patiently by the tree, for her gift!! And how she ripped away at the paper until she got that bone!! I miss those days! Thirdly, love your paintings...Absolutely perfect.

  13. we always forget how much work puppies can be :p but worth it in the end
    she is very cute

  14. Hilda, thank you for your kind words. In retrospect I'm really quite amused by it all, but at the time, well.......

    And incidentally, the tree is standing barren for a day or two until her fascination with it wans!

  15. Hi, Lynda, so glad to discover your blog; your art is BEAUTIFUL, I love it! Also nice to know I'm not the only one being pulled away from art by an exuberant puppy (Ellie is a beauty!) ... realized when December rolled around it had been 3 months since I actually finished a painting. We decided not to even try a tree this year, maybe next ... I trust yours survived the season with no great mishaps. Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing more of your art!