Introducing Parker

A few weeks ago, BW and I kicked around the idea of a back-up dog. Our boys are getting up there. Homer’s 11, Pancho 8–and we remember too well how sad and depressed Homer was when we lost Steinbeck–who’d been his boon companion since Homer was a puppy.

When we rescued Pancho, Homer–who’d done little but lie around grieving for a month, Homer did his doggie happy dance the instant Pancho got out of the truck. They’ve been the best of pals ever since.

So, we thought, maybe we should rescue another dog, so when the sad time comes, we won’t have a grieving pet. We didn’t talk very seriously about it, just we’d do a rescue, maybe go for a Chocolate Lab or mix this time. At least a couple years old.

Then a friend of mine posted about the rescue place she and her family had gone through to adopt their marvelous dog. I thought, well, I’ll just a look.

photo 3-1And there he was, almost immediately. Parker, a two-year old Chocolate Lab/ Wiemaraner mix. With a face I fell for in a blink. As did BW when I sent him the photo and info.

So Monday, Parker came home. Homer and Pancho were thrilled, and Parker seemed pretty happy himself. Lots of sniffing and running, and showing him the ropes. When Homer, who’s always been an old soul, tired of the excitement, he just wandered off to a quiet place to nap, out of the young guy’s way. Pancho had a sulk the next day–like: I thought it was a play date. He’s staying? But that didn’t last, and within another day, he was the one initiating play.

Pancho photobomb.
Pancho photobomb.

In the house, because it was raining all damn week. Normally, I’d move this sort of insanity outside, but I let it ride.

We also learned, fast, Parker had obviously been allowed, probably encouraged, to make himself at home on the bed, on the sofa. Not in this house. We have firm rules. Human bed, dog bed. This was a battle, several days worth. I won.

We also learned he’d only sit for a treat. I insist my dogs sit on command–hand command. I’m happy to report Parker sits like a champ now for pets and praise. Not bad for less than a week’s training.

He’s also been encouraged to jump on people. Another heated battle, but I’m close to winning that one, too. It may be adorable to have a puppy jump, but a full-grown dog, not so much. Especially when you have visitors. We don’t tolerate jumping on people, and while he wants to, so bad–you can see it in his eyes–he’s learned to stop himself when I hold my hand out in that stop gesture. So he’s smart as well as handsome. Loves dogs, kids, people. And my two oldest grandkids are delighted with our addition to the pack. Plus he didn’t jump on my little honorary grandson who turns five in August, and adores dogs. photo 1-2They get along just fine, and I didn’t have to worry about the little guy getting knocked down.

We’d have all been happier with better weather last week–all that rain was great for the plants (and the weeds), but didn’t make it fun to go out and play fetch or race around. Still, the weekend’s been lovely. BW and I worked outside all day yesterday, which made for happy dogs–and happy plants.

My garden shed’s coming along–better weather, it’d be done. But I’m so happy with how it’s going to 2 I discovered the deer have had a good week, too, and are munching down on my day lilies, the Black-Eyed Susans I transplanted, and the false sunflowers just starting to bloom. Fresh deer repellent applied to all today.

So, despite days and days and DAYS of rain, a really good week here. A sweet, funny, happy dog to join our pack, and visits from grandkids. A garden that’s thriving, and a shed that’s on its way to being pretty 1-1

Time to take advantage of the sunshine, and go play fetch. Inside chores can wait.


 photo 4

40 thoughts on “Introducing Parker”

  1. I have a neighbor whose dog used to jump, too. She still tries to jump but has learned that if I back up, she doesn’t do it.

  2. Really cool to see a small part of your life esp when I read so many of your books. Its also awesome that you adopted a new dog and that everyone is getting along 🙂

  3. Congratulations on your new addition! And the older dogs train the younger dogs. Glad Parker is settling in.

    Inside dogs with lots of energy is a challenge. I once found my older dog blocking the stairs to the basement with the younger dog running up and down the stairs, did the trick. Younger dog tired out and older dog didn’t have to fight her off when she wanted a nap.

  4. What a beautiful dog! I love the color. I would love to know your training techniques. My son just got a 6 week old pure bred lab a month ago and it’s red and beige. Beautiful dog but he does need some discipline! They have never had a puppy before. They both had rescue dogs that were house broken before they got together. Sadly, both dogs passed shortly after starting to date and now after 2 years, they both were ready for another dog. They did realize what getting a 6 week old puppy was going to be like but the reality has been an experience. He is 10 weeks old now and has grown. Came for a visit for the first time to my house and what a hoot! He was into everything! But we do have rules and off the furniture is one! He wasn’t good at listening to that rule! He is a cutie but definitely a challenge. Enjoy your new beautiful dog……love your gardens!

    1. A Labrador requires a lot of love and patience. As I said in my comment, Labradors think they are puppies no matter how old they are. Mine still try to climb in my lap when it thunders outside! Can you image 2 Labs weighing nearly 100 lbs each, trying to climb into your lap? I usually get on the floor to comfort them.
      I have a Black Lab – Summer and a Yellow Lab – Sissie. Both rescues.

  5. Hi, Nora –

    I love your blog, love your dogs, love your flowers, love your books, love J.D.’s books, love the pictures of your grandkids, and I love your Derby pics (I live in KY – never been to the Derby!). Thank you for all of the hours of entertainment and escape that your books have brought me. Visiting your B&B is on my bucket list! Take care and have a good week!

  6. We have a rescue lab mix too. Ours was 10 weeks old when we got him. I don’t share your furniture rule, but to each their own 😉 We are still working on the jumping up. Our boy doesn’t jump up as people are coming to him, just if they bend over, he jumps up to give a kiss. Most people (adults) don’t want doggie tongues on their faces. He’s about a year old now, and he does follow when I snap my fingers and point, but all other commands are verbal. He’s actually very well behaved.

    I love that your older dogs were totally chill with having a new addition. We’ve talked about getting another dog in a few years and are constantly socializing our boy with other dogs (he loves it!) but I worry that there will be a change in his behavior, or he’ll feel like we’re “replacing” him.

  7. We have much in common, Nora. We are a ‘lab’ family, too, and I insist on well-behaved dogs. Our girls obey hand commands for sit, stay, down, come and are definitely not allowed on the people furniture. A black lab on a white sofa? I don’t think so…..goldens leave their mark, too. Some people think only free dogs are happy dogs but ours are joyful.

    One day my Brad ran out of reading material so he picked up an “In Death” book. He’s been thru the series then moved on to a lot of your later single books, the Blood Brothers, Dark Witch and is now halfway thru the Chesapeake Bay quartet. Never did I think my military, legal, and medical novel guy would be interested in my book shelf. He says Eve is his ‘hall pass’. We both thank you for hours of enjoyment.

  8. I think Parker sounds like a fine addition to your family. I enjoy the pictures of all and your blog — it’s as fun to read as your books are. Thank you for many hours of entertainment.

  9. I just enjoy hearing about your day or in this case, your week. Parker looks like a great addition and I’m glad things are working out for y’all.

  10. I hate to tell you, Nora, Labradors, even of the mixed variety, are puppies until the day they pass.
    It is the sweetest and most frustrating thing to have to remind one of our Labs, who at the age of 12 knows better, not to jump. But she is always so happy to see whoever came in, even if they only left to get the mail! But as you said, a large dog jumping on you is not only no fun, but can be dangerous now that I am celebrating the 30th anniversary of being 24.
    Sissie was 10 when we rescued her. She was neglected and abused. She was frightened and was accustomed to being chained outside. She was heartworm positive, had missing patches of fur due to laying on concrete all of the time, has problems with her hips and still wants to jump on me when I get home from somewhere. She bunches her muscles like she is going to, but then plops her butt on the floor and shivers until I get down and pet her. Our other rescue, Summer, was 7 and the queen. She still doesn’t play with Sissie, but tolerates her. She will get her tutu in a twist at times and snarl, but Sissie is always trying to play with her anyway.
    I wish you much joy in your new addition. I am glad your other rescues love him as much as you do!

    1. Parker makes our 4th Lab, the one we lost about six years ago was a Lab mix. He was never much of a jumper and easily trained in that area. Homer was born well-mannered and laid back. Just the sweetest dog ever. Pancho jumped big time, and it took some doing, but I won. I’m making solid progress with Parker, but clearly he’d love to jump. On me, any other human, and the furniture. Don’t want to jinx it, but we’ve gotten through today–so far– without any jumping.

  11. We adopted our old dog when he was a pup and my oldest boy was about 9 months old. They were closest friends. As both started to age, we started to worry about the “old dog”. When he was about 10 we moved to a new house in a new place where he not only didn’t have “his” yard to play in anymore (no fence) but also had to deal with much more sever winters– 300 inches of snow a year. But he kept going. Arthritis kicked in… and the “no dogs on the couch rule” was relaxed to inexsistance. He was old, and sore, and, like the Energizer Bunny, just kept going. He got a mortin a day. Then a prescription arthritis med. And he just kept going. Then he was 16. He couldn’t do steps anymore– not because of the arthritis, but because he was blind. And more than a little deaf. And he kept going… we would put our hand on him to walk him down the steps and back up. And my husband and I started quietly talking about whether he was going to make another winter.
    My friend fosters puppies for a rescue place. Evil woman that she is, she puts pictures up on her Facebook page. One day one of the puppies jumped off the page and into my head. I sent it to my husband, who had the same reaction. This was *our* dog. I called my friend and we went to see her “newest batch of foster pups” with my youngest son. When we got there, someone else was there and had our dog. We looked thru the pups and picked up his sister, beautiful but not *ours*. We were standing, watching “our” dog get petted and loved on and being hugged by someone else. Then they said the best thing. They said “He’s really cute, but we wanted the little girl.”

    My son traded so fast, they didn’t know what hit them. He took “our dog” out to the car while the other people were bonding with the little girl. I filled out the paper work and we brought our new puppy home.

    Our old dog was standoffish and distant with the puppy. But it was obvious… he’d been waiting for us to find someone else. He was ready to let us go, if we were ready to let him go. But he didn’t want to leave us alone. He died a couple months later, with my husband and my sons and I sitting in the vet office, on the floor with him, while we (and the vet staff who’d taken care of him for years) cried. But we aren’t alone. We have our “puppy”. He’s not a puppy anymore, and the “no dogs on the couch” rule is long gone. But he is — for the most part– a good dog. We miss the old dog. But we’re glad we found someone in whose care he could leave us.

    We just planted a tree with the old dogs ashes. So I was sitting here, petting the “puppy” and thinking of him and your new adoption just struck me. Thanks for that.

    1. A beautiful story, Mary Peed. It made me tear up. I am so glad you got “your” dog. I am glad you got a new one, too, Nora, and I want to comment on your pretty Spirea bush. We had those all around our patio when we lived in Ohio. You have given me so many years of wonderful reading, Nora, and I thank you.

  12. Congrats on your new pack member! What a handsome guy. I gave a friend of mine a copy of “The Search” when she adopted a Lab and she was so thrilled with the training hints in the book, she signed herself and the dog up for training. She also started working her way through all your mysteries. Then I introduced her to Eve and Roarke. She called me all kinds of names, then ordered the next dozen of the series. Love the look of the shed. What deer repellent do you use? I’ve tried everything I can find, including organic and alleged deer repellent plants. Evidently no one told the deer.

  13. Good for you for adopting rescues, I wish more did. Good luck with the new furbaby. Nice names too. Did you rename them or did they come with those names?

  14. What a wonderful post to read as it’s gloomy in Ohio as well! I hope Parker will make an appearance in an upcoming book!!!!

  15. Good tail ( I mean tale, snort ) are all your dogs named for authors ? I am a long time fan of Robert B. Parker. Homer and Steinbeck I get, Poncho ? Obviously a smart dog who knows who the alpha is .

  16. And we have a deer repellant that is so smelly but, we have a overflowing garden, across from an open field, backed up by an extensive woodland in SE Chester county PA . I have actually had deer bed down in our front yard ! I read some where , it’s too bad deer don’t prune as we would like and eat the weeds.

  17. A weimador, my good friends raise them in Ontario Canada. Great dogs with the good parts of both breeds…happy, happy Parker.

  18. I’m not too ‘doggy’ so we don’t have pets, but I’m always happy for those that have the space, time and love to give to the pets that deserve a good home. Readying your post is reminding me of one of my favorite books, ever, “The Search”. I hope you have many years of good times with your puppy.

  19. I just (Saturday) finished reading The Search. For the 5th or 6th time. I love the training advise and in fact while I was out walking, a dog came up to me and proceed to jump on me. I remember the advise I read about this and proceed to do this with this dog.

  20. they say that 90% of training a dog is training the owner – sounds like Nora is well trained!

  21. Love Parker’s acceptance by Homer and Pancho. I too believe in having at least two doggies when we lose one its nice to have one to hold on to for comfort. Nora where can I find a Jewel weed? No one seems to know.

    1. I don’t think you buy jewel weed any more than crabgrass. And believe me, you don’t want it! It spreads everywhere, looks unsightly. It’s a pretty prolific weed in my area, popping up everywhere no matter how many you pull.

      1. Hey, I googled it–turns out it’s one word jewelweed–and you can actually buy salve. It seems there are versions less invasive that the wild sort I have. If I had nothing else to do I could make fifty gallons of salve from what I yank up out of my gardens.

  22. Reading about the deer reminded me of Ethan Quinn taking a bunch of Anna’s flowers from the garden and pretending the deer took them.
    Loved that family.

  23. We lost three of our dogs this year alone – Deken, our 12-year-old Chesapeake Bay and Buglet, our age-defying 15-year-old German Wirehair Pointer – both in September 2014; and last month, we lost our black Labrador Bead, who was cut down in her prime at barely eight years old. Our 20-month old yellow Labrador, Frost was so lonely, so when we received a gift of another black Lab, Mac, well, Frost was so happy. For the first day. I laughed outright at your Parker story and how his new brother thought he was just a play-date. Frost took at least a month to get used to the fact that that fat little upstart Mac wasn’t going anywhere. But now they’re best buds, and it’s nice to have two young dogs again. Thanks for the fun story.

  24. So glad you rescued Parker. He’s got a face to love. We,too, are Lab folk. My first was Oakwinds Agustus, a yellow Lab known fondly as Cous Cous the Wonder Dog. Our next was a Black Lab found wandering the streets of SF by my first husband’s then girlfriend. She was in awful shape and had not been reported missing. My husband and I scooped her into our newly blended family. She looked like 5 months but turned out to be 8 months. We named her Noche because she was found at night. The best dog ever. We shared 14 years with her and after she went over the Rainbow Bridge we grieved for five more until one day I found a litter of Chocolates. They were 4 weeks old. Willie Brown and I chose each other and he came to live with us at 6 weeks. Took some persistent training for him. Seriously independent. He will be 5 shortly. A handsome, fit 105 pounds. My trainer told me Chocolates are nuts. She was right. For Valentines Day she sent me a picture of a box of Chocolate puppies and under it wrote ‘Caution: May Contain Nuts’. True but he’s our nut. Sounds like Parker will do fine. You are a good trainer and he sounds like he really wants to please you. Congratulations.

  25. Love this story. Every pet we’ve had in our 48 years of marriage has been a rescue animal. We’ve had a cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, and several cats. Sadie was our special girl, a calm loving dalmation. When we lost her, we rescued Rocky in FL and that cat was chauffer-driven cross country to CO until he passed in November, one day shy from the day of his adoption 9 years before. No more pets, too painful. adoption. Christmas was coming, Denver Dumb Friends League had a ‘sale’ on adult cats, so along came Holly, formerly Tabitha. Holly must have had a life as a human, she communicates constantly letting us know what she wants. She has a ‘cocktail’ with us each evening, water with lots of ice in her favorite highball glass!

  26. Nora, I am a major fan of all your books, especially love the series books and trilogies. It makes me sad when I finish them. You have a wonderful gift of making your characters come to life….and in doing so, they seem to become a part of mine. Silly I know. Your dogs are fabulous! I Iost my black lab X last year to cancer and still miss her so much. Thankfully I have a picture of her that a friend painted up on my wall. My husband and I are looking after our “grandson” Jasper for a few weeks. He’s a lovely border collie/springer spaniel X that loves walks and attention. Thanks again for the joy you bring your readers through your writing.

  27. I have worked extensively with my local shelter, moving dogs from here in the South to no-kill rescues in the North and Canada. Thank you so much for adopting, and encouraging others to adopt as well.

  28. Its so nice to read about your new addition. We have a new dog too. He’s 2 now but he was a handful when he arrived. Constant working with him has paid off. He’s a Rottie. Love your flowers and your new shed and as always your great books. The best to you and your family.

  29. I thought I was the only “crazy” 3 dog owner! I raised 3 labradoodles, the pups 3 months old when my husband died. Can really brag about my “babies”. They are smart, sensitive, and definitely a lot of company. Cudoos to you for the foresight regarding the loss of your companions and being sensitive enough to recognize their “buddies” feel it too.

  30. Great to see you training your new dog. People often get rid of their dogs because of bad behavior but it’s really poor training. You definitely have a fallback career as dog trainer by the sounds of it:)

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