Ramblings — New Year’s Day 2018


The last ten days, since I wrote my first Ramblings post (which I finally had a chance to publish today), have been very full with puppy fun and care, holiday activities, visiting family, and frozen baseboard heating pipes. The puppy fun and care, holiday activities, and visiting family were all anticipated and greatly enjoyed. The frozen pipes not so much… Thankfully, with Stephen’s hard work and the strategic use of space heaters, hair dryer, and paint peeler, a stuck zone valve was replaced and the pipes eventually thawed (after two and a half chilly days).

By now Ramble has been here without his brother for eight days, and he is doing wonderfully. What a delightful puppy! I am happier with him and more in love with him every day. He is snuggly, playful, and very social. Whenever he meets new people, he approaches them with happily wagging tail and ears sweetly back, and tries to lick their chins. I’m not into being licked by dogs, but it’s hard to resist such sweet puppy kisses.


I’ve been thinking about New Year’s and what my goals are for 2018 and how Ramble (and Petra, Milo, and Acadia) might fit into them. Stephen and I have both been focusing on and practicing centering prayer in various ways in the past few months, and that’s something I want to continue in 2018. I’d like to grow in having a quiet spirit that underlies who I am and all I do, and I’d also like to be able to share the peace that gives me through practicing hospitality. Many people probably wouldn’t find getting a new puppy conducive to growing in quietness and in being centered, but I think having Ramble will help me with that, as my other pets do.

After almost losing Petra this past fall and feeling like I hadn’t been as connected with her as I would have liked, I realized that I had been fairly scattered for a while, both emotionally and in my use of my time, and I was determined to change that. My animals are obviously a very important part of my life, and if I let them, they help me slow down and live more fully in the moment, more richly in the present. And when I do that, I am much more aware of God’s presence with me and am also much more responsive to the people in my life.

So some of my goals and hopes for 2018 are that I would stay more rooted in the present as I train my puppy and enjoy my older dogs and sit with my cat on my lap. And I hope and pray that being more rooted in the present will help me be more sensitive to the ways God is working and to his fingerprints in the world around me, filling me with awe and with a desire to join him in whatever opportunities he brings my way.


Stay tuned for more Ramblings about life with Ramble…

Ramblings 12/21/17

Puppy playtime!

Now that I am raising our new puppy, Ramble, I thought I’d from time to time write a “Ramblings” post about life with a puppy and what I am doing with Ramble and what he’s doing. This first post is one I started to write about a week and a half ago, but stopped mid-sentence– something I I expect may happen often with a puppy in the house. Some of my posts may be well thought-out; more are likely to be a series of rambling thoughts jotted down in spare minutes. It’s not that Ramble is actually taking up all my time and attention, but as a New Year is starting I am hoping (intending) to spend less time on my computer and more in the wonderful, rich, real life of my home and family, and friends, and pets. And having a puppy should help me do just that.

Ramblings 12/21/17

Ramble, our new Siberian Husky puppy, is here! He’s actually not officially ours yet, as I am babysitting for him and his brother Simon this week while their breeder is away, but he already seems to know he’s my dog. When Simon and Ramble (formerly “Garfunkel”) are running around tackling each other and wrestling, Ramble often comes over and sits in front of me, looking up for pets. So sweet! Of course he gets a smile and snuggle every time he does that. I’m really glad to have them both here; it’s good for them to have the exposure to a new place, and it’s surely helpful for Ramble’s adjustment to being in our home to have his brother here with him for the first few days.

At this point I have not been using any treats with Ramble. I probably will eventually, most likely for recalls around distractions (like the great outdoors), but for now I am capitalizing on his enjoyment of affection and attention.

Yesterday I started crate training Ramble and his brother Simon. Actually Pat, their breeder, started the process by having a crate with the gate removed in the puppy pen, so the pups could get used to going in and out of it. (It is such a gift to both puppy and new owners when a breeder does that!) Sometimes Simon and Ramble chose to nap in it, demonstrating a dog’s basic comfort with sleeping in a confined space. At any rate, by yesterday Simon and Ramble were starting to get pretty boisterous while playing in the expen set-up I have for them, and I knew I would soon be uncomfortable leaving them unsupervised, even in the expen. They’re getting bigger and faster, and when they bump into the pen it moves a bit. They can’t knock it over or climb or jump out… yet, but I wanted to start getting them comfortable being closed in a crate.

Simon and Ramble in their expen. (Ramble is the one whose ears are still floppy.)

For starts, I began feeding them in separate crates, opening the gates as soon as they were finished eating. Then yesterday afternoon I closed them in crates after they had eaten, played, peed, and pooped and were just starting to lie down and snuggle up for naps. Predictably, they whined and cried a bit when I crated them, so I covered their crates with towels (hung over masonite boards that extended beyond the sides of the crates, so the pups couldn’t grab the towels through the openings) and looked at the clock. Simon settled down within a few minutes, but Ramble kept up a fuss. After about ten minutes I waited for a moment of quiet, then let him out and took him to the papers. He tried to get me to pet him, but I calmly redirected him to the papers, where he sniffed for a moment, then peed

And that was as far as I got before puppies, holiday activities, and family called me from my computer. Stay tuned for more Ramblings…