West Tisbury: Puppy is all-consuming


I couldn’t have been more disappointed to wake up early Sunday morning to find wet, soggy, muddy grass where there had been a covering of snow the night before, with snow still falling. By my 2 am trip outside with Abby, the temperature had warmed, and the pretty snow had turned to rain. Of course, Abby was undaunted. She came inside soaking wet after rolling around in the grass and rubbing her face in nice, cool mud.

Kathy Logue and I had talked about me bringing Abby over to play with Finley sometime Sunday in their enclosed backyard. Plans changed, as Megan was performing in a handbell concert at church that morning. Kathy wanted to hear her, and my email below will describe my lack of enthusiasm to get up and go anywhere.


8:11 am


I was up by 7, took puppy out, fed her and fish and cats, chased puppy up the stairs where she tried to eat Mona’s cat food with pills in it, cleaned up coffee that Abby spilled when I sat down, pulled Abby off Nelson, pushed Abby off me, gave her her own toys so she wouldn’t eat the towel under her or my quilt, swept up bits of sticks and twigs Abby chewed up. Now I’m ready to go back to bed, but it’s time to take the puppy out again.


Mike did take Abby over to play with Finley, and brought home an exhausted puppy. Later in the afternoon, Ruth Kirchmeier came over for tea, and kept commenting on how well-behaved Abby was.

I had mentioned to Mike how wonderful Kathy’s fenced-in area was for the dogs to run in. Nice to let them off their leashes. In response, Mike spent some time figuring out where he would like to lay out such a space in our yard. He went to Cottle’s for supplies, and began the project, fortuitously during the warm spell last week. The posts are in, fencing strung almost the whole way around. He will need to make gates. Then it’s off to the races for Abby and reciprocal visits for Finley and other canine pals.

Of course, this project, as is often the case, involved some trimming of shrubs and whatever plantings beneath them would “get in Mike’s way.” Use your imagination. I keep reminding myself that giving Abby a place to run and wear herself out was the goal of the project, not anything to do with an improvement in my landscape design. I’m sure the rhododendron hedge, the glory of our landscape, will respond to the heavy pruning by filling in with renewed energy.

Beside almost all-encompassing puppy responsibilities and my job, I had some time to watch Nancy Pelosi’s reading of the articles of impeachment, the naming of managers, and the solemn walk through from the House of Representatives to the Senate. I found it so moving, watching our government officials function according to the requirements of our Constitution. Seeing Chief Justice John Roberts escorted solemnly into the Senate to take an oath to preside over the hearings, then to administer that oath to the senators, to see all 100 senators walk to the front of the chamber, one by one as their names were called, to sign their adherence to their oath and duty. I was watching history unfolding as the Framers directed. It was truly awe-inspiring.

Whatever one’s politics, this is a moment in our history, and a good lesson in civics that is humbling to be able to witness. I feel so privileged, and don’t want to miss a moment. 

The pond is open, and Abby has discovered a beach to walk on, and water. She’s not too sure about the water, but has watched other dogs dash right in and paddle around. She is playful and confident with other dogs she meets on her walks. They all seem to be aware that she is just a puppy. They roughhouse with her, but are not too rough.

As you can tell from recent columns and this one, puppy is all-consuming, as puppies and children are. Karen Ogden has been coming once a week for training sessions. Mike and I both want Abby to have a good foundation, and we want to do our best for her. Iyla has laughed and played with her on our Thursdays together, and has already made up a musical chant, “Abby is a pest.” That she is, but the most welcome and adorable pest. We are grateful every day for her, even at 2 am.