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A California Hollygator

All the innocence and purity a girl can muster.

Food Lady? yells Jager. Hello? Hey, can you hear me?

The neighbors can hear you, I say. With the central air running. Why all the yapping up there? I’m kinda busy.

There you are! says Jager. Where have you been? I wanted to know if it’s safe to come downstairs now.

Of course it’s safe, I say. And why wouldn’t it be?

Then it’s gone? he asks.

What? I say. Is what gone?

Ah, I think I see where this is heading.

The hollygater you let in here, says Jager. The cat said it’s an invasive species from California and we’re all in peril or something. 

Jager’s too long toenails click on the wood stairs as he trots down to join me in the kitchen.

‘Cuz the cat said if you let even just one in the house, it’ll take over everything, he continues. And that they’re really hard to get …. Gah!  Ow! ow ow ow ow!

I thought you said it was gone! Jager says, licking his tenderized back leg.

I detach Holly from her ambitious effort in deboning Jager’s gluteal region, because frankly, he can’t afford to lose any more brains.

Jager enjoys a moment of respite.

Jager, my little spotted dog, I say. If you can separate yourself from your Professional Victim role for a moment, you may recall that this gorgeous creature is not an alligator at all. This is Holly, who will be staying with us for the next eighteen months. 

We’ll be raising her for Canine Companions for Independence, I continue.  Just like we did with Euka. And well, you helped with all of them so far, right? Inga, Micron and Yaxley, too.

Gads, but another eighteen months! says Jager.  He tries to calculate that in dog years and gives up. I’m getting too old for this sh…

No cursing in front of the little one, I say. Purity and innocence in this delicate package here, you know. 

Purity and innocence, says Jager, My spotted …

Jager!, I say. Enough. Now go play nice with the puppy while I get dinner ready.

Jager sighs heavily, closes his eyes and holds out a front leg.

Upon which Holly goes to town on like an ear of sweet corn.

Moving in

We met Holly, and her litter mates Hoagy and Harvest, after their flight into Dayton from sunny California this past Wednesday. Hail and hearty, the lot of ’em, but happy to be out of their crates and to have a chance to run about for a few minutes.

Mmmm, chamomile. 

Each pup is going to a different puppy raiser’s home and as we collected our charges, we found ourselves catching the wafting aroma of their customized fragrance of ‘Twas a Long Flight.

Holly had only been in Ohio for about an hour when she hit the bath. We had an Oh C’mon moment, then she settled down once discovering the dog soap is totally organic and quite possibly edible.

Now smelling all sweet like a puppy, with a hint of herbal, she was ready to meet her fellow four legged housemates.

And out of all of them, who do you think handled it best? Oh, go ahead, guess.

Bwahahah, wrong! It was the cat. Who saw that one coming? I sure didn’t.

Micron is adjusting to the change in dynamics and Jager is ever comfortable as the perennial victim. But Bodine came tearing up the stairs from the basement with a What’s This, Now? attitude.

Another serf in the kingdom for our benevolent overlord, Bodine of Sword House. All hail and so on.

And bless him, he really did maintain some composure while his left ear was at risk of a toothy puncture. And he did indeed strut right back to the basement instead of run like a gator was on his tail. Heh, rather literally.

I gotta be honest here. I thought I smelled
great before.

But here we are, four days in, and everybody is finding their groove.

Including me.

Yeah, even this repeat puppy raiser forgets about some the puppy antics that go on in those first few days of acclimation.

Oh, like how you don’t need a puppy pre-wash when loading the dishwasher.

Or hey, say you’re multi-tasking like a boss. Dishwasher door is down, a full trash bag is open behind you and you’ve dropped some food from the counter during the post-dinner clean-up.

Sure, this is a fine state of affairs for the Jagermeister. Heck, it was his job to keep me from even touching a broom before we were puppy raising. But now?

Now we have a puppy working towards an assistance dog career. No food freebies. We can’t allow the noshable distractions. Just can’t.

Treats are earned, not a dog-born right, for pup in training.

Friends and fans of the mighty Micron; raise your hand if you’ve seen this dog in action when he knows a dog cookie is coming his way. Good. Now count your fingers. You know what I mean. My lovable gentle giant’s middle name is Food Distraction.

Bonus point to y’all if you noticed my
kitchen floor is golden retriever
yellow.  No accident, that.

Micron is many things, most of them wonderful, but he not made of assistance dog stuff.

Think about this. A well-trained assistance dog can walk into a restaurant with his handler and not have any reaction to food on the carpet. He will be fully attentive to his partner instead. Every time.

And that kind of awesomeness starts right here with the puppy raiser. So with Holly, we carry on as we have the other pups we’ve raised.

Nothing for Free is our motto.  ‘Tis a worthy goal, I say.

Ok sure, that Holly’s a cutie. So what’s next?

We’re all still getting to know each other here, learning personalities and the individual quirks that make us charming.

We’ll get there.

Meanwhile, [Holly! Drop it!] pardon me as I relieve Jager of his puppy-sitting duties. He’s paid his dues.

Just ask him.

A hollygator in her natural habitat.

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

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