My first pet post is not about Denali. I know, I’m shocked too. Denali’s own post will come soon enough, but there’s so much to say about her – I need to spend some extra time thinking about how I want to compose her post. Gus, however, is an easy one to write about since we’ve only had him 48 hours. For reasons that aren’t mine to tell, we have acquired Gus from a family member – we aren’t sure on the timeline, but we’re thinking about him as our foster dog.

6 months old. Black lab/Australian shepherd mix. In other words, non-stop energy and fun – mostly (on the fun part, there’s no ‘mostly’ regarding his energy). Denali, on the other hand, is 8 years old and although she has quite a bit of spunk in her, this intruder is wearing her out. You can see it in her eyes…


What I love about Gus is the way he’s experiencing everything as if it’s the first time he’s ever seen it – in some cases he is. He takes on life like nobody’s business. Our first afternoon together I attempted (and succeeded!) in taking them both on a walk. Although he has been on a few walks before, he’s not very skilled in this area yet. What normally takes Denali and I 15 minutes, took closer to 30 with this newbie tagging along. When Denali stopped to smell something, Gus would bounce over, push her nose away and dive in to see what was there. He zigzagged in front of me following every scent that appeared in front of him. The fact that I accomplished this walk without losing one of them or falling on my face was a miracle.

This is how I imagined it happening in their minds:
Denali is a 12-13 year old pre-teen. She was bored and wanted to get out of the house even though the annoying 5 year old cousin was coming along. She went because sitting at home by herself didn’t seem like fun – the lesser of two evils, I suppose. Gus, her visiting cousin, could not contain his excitement – everything was SO COOL and SO AWESOME. Denali was like, yeah, whatever, I guess it’s cool. Denali would stop to check in on the neighborhood news: “Oh good, Charlie is doing well. Ah, Winston got out again. I see the rabbit is still hanging around.” Then Gus would run up next to her: “CHARLIE! WHO’S THAT? WINSTON? CAN I MEET HIM? A RABBIT! WHAT’S A RABBIT? GUYS, THIS.IS.SO.MUCH.FUN!”

And now you know how I entertain myself on long walks 😉

My husband and I took them both on a walk later that night. I was glad to have an extra person along to help wrangle the crazed pup. Brad didn’t understand how I was able to walk both of them by myself. I always love it when I impress him! By the end of the walk we determined that Gus would need a harness and some lessons. I put the new harness on him earlier to today to make sure it fit and he just sat there – I’m not sure he knew what to do. Aside from sleeping I think that’s the most still I’ve ever seen him!

So, I had my sabbatical all planned out. Quiet mornings reading and walking. Peaceful afternoons on the hammock. First lesson of my sabbatical: stop planning! Haha. Sure, Gus is adding some extra excitement to our house, but with that comes so much cuteness and the joy of a baby animal. And, taking care of him means I’m caring for someone else in a very tangible way. Often a change like this might be labeled a problem or inconvenience, but I’m not choosing to look at it that way. I see joy and novelty and love. I see nap times and learning new skills and exploration. I see floppy ears and lanky legs and an experienced dog who’s getting a taste of her own medicine. I see the desire to please. I see the need to be with others no matter where they are or what they are doing.

Everything changes. Even, and most often, when we least expect it. How we accept the changes makes all the difference in the world. It doesn’t hurt that this change has the best puppy dog eyes ever.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Gus.

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(you can click on these to see a bigger image)


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