Pretty little Nellie continued singing her songs for us for several weeks after she found her human and a couple of weeks once she officially had a new home. She also finished teething, and became much more trustworthy with her toys- although this wasn’t fully apparent due to Gambit’s close proximity and love of shredding toys. Once the litter of roadside puppies was gone, Nellie also remembered that she was fully housebroken and stayed that way.
Soon enough, my parents headed south for a post-Christmas visit, bringing the cold with them as is their habit.
When they arrived, Nellie was thrilled to see Dad.
In fact, she was so thrilled, she threw herself to the ground in a low “elevator butt” and had an accident that I’m pretty sure was out of submission. And then she acted like a perfect little angel since her human was present.
It was a visit all about the dogs. We went to the dog park and had it all to ourselves. For a good chunk of the winter, we essentially live in a ghost town. Most restaurants and bars tack signs on their doors mid-to late December that says “closed until January 17.”
Anyway, an empty dog park is still a really fun dog park for us. While Gambit and Rusty love to rough house, play tag, and join in group efforts to retrieve sticks, they always revert back to one thing after their group play. Gambit sprinting after Rusty through the trees, with Rusty moving as fast as his little legs can carry him- which is pretty darn fast unless he’s being chased by a Greyhound.
At this point, Rusty hadn’t yet figured out how to slow down enough to turn properly. Instead, he’d do a barrel roll to change directions, at which point Gambit would catch up and rough housing ensued.
Meanwhile, Smelly Nelly Belly, who was still too galompy to enjoy the chase, would visit all the dog owners and wander the edges of the park all by her lonesome. With a hound nose, it’s pretty easy to stay occupied that way for well over an hour.
During my parents’ trip, Nellie also went to the store for the first time. She’d gotten a few toys of her own on Christmas, but they’d been opened and promptly stashed away so Gambit wouldn’t eat them. But she still needed a few things, so we went on the longest PetSmart trip ever. Nellie picked out her favorite toy, a pheasant cousin to Gambit’s favorite honking duck and goose.
After a couple of days, Smellerella was off for her second trip North in a month, this time for good.
There, she became a great country dog. Her hobbies now include exploring a wheat field (with the farmer’s approval, of course), going on five walks a day, improving her daddy’s health and fitness, playing in the snow, impressing everyone she meets with her cuteness, harassing cats, and of course she still loves to sing.