“He can’t see me over here”.

Abigail Amanda Puckett is getting used to our routine. Here she is in the training room yesterday morning while we were doing our rides:


That’s her, with her head just visible over Ethel’s blurry knee.

We’re five steps forward, four steps back, around here these days. Abby alternates between fearful shyness and goofy playfulness; she doesn’t seem to have anything in the middle. (Maybe she’s in the right family).

The last two evenings, we’ve closed the bedroom door and sat on the floor and let her run around loose. The result has been wonderful – we all start playing. She’ll play bow and bump noses with me and then there’s a sudden flurry of kisses, then she prances off and pretends to ignore us for several minutes. You can see her looking around and taking in everything, over and over again, and watch the wheels spinning in that head. She is alert.

I can’t help but compare and contrast Abby with my last sled dog, Maia. There are so many strong similarities, and also huge differences. Maia was a 100 lb. malamute who was much more powerful than Abby; Maia moved like a lion. Abby is probably about half that in mass, and she either slinks like Peter Lorre, or bounds like Rudolph when Clarice tells him that “he’s cude”.

Playtime is some of the same movements, but their personalities are very different; Maia, in retrospect, seemed to be like an older Sean Connery at playtime; she was enjoying herself, but mostly she was amused in a good-natured way about the silliness of the rest of us.

Abby, when playing, is like Robin Williams doing an improv. She knows that everybody’s watching her, and she keeps looking for the next thing to riff on.

But then the switch goes off, and suddenly Abigail is scared – of me, mostly, although Lucy barking can make her jump. The literature says that, since I’m male, and thus have a larger jaw and muscles and movements and deeper voice, that I’m more of a danger – and so a fearful dog will be drawn to a female rather than me.

Which means that Abby is a lot like me. There’s a powerful – but incomprehensible –  entity in her life that only wants to love, provide for and protect her – and she’s scared of him, and keeps hoping that he’ll go away.


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