Sunday 19 September 2010


All over, bar the shouting jabs, training and transfer. My lovely new dog has had her adoption approved! So I can tell you a bit about her now, as you will be afflicted by interminable posts and pictures getting to know her in due course.

She was handed in to a dog rescue organisation just over a week ago. The reason given was that her owners wanted to put her into kennels while they went on holiday, but hadn't reckoned with the requirement for vaccinations; they said they couldn't afford this, and decided to have her re-homed instead. Some of us have suspicions about behaviour management being an issue, as well as costs; she seems completely untrained, although physically well-cared for.

The vet who checked her over pronounced her one of the finest specimens of a labrador that he'd seen in a long time, perfect size, weight, nature. Excellent! Although he obviously hasn't walked her on a lead or seen her in a sitting room.....

The doggy grapevine being what it is, news of a black labrador bitch (not only a labrador, but a Finest Specimen at that, of course) becoming available for re-homing flew round Northumberland, the friends to whom I had mentioned my wish for just such a dog were notified, and the wheels whirled into motion. And there was me, thinking that this could take months!

Stuff is beginning to accumulate already; treats, toys, blankets, the recycled dog bed, long in storage. And a squatter.....

We realised yesterday that the vet with the discerning eye is also my own vet, the lovely Neil, he whom Kevin hated passionately, and whom, on one memorable occasion, Tosca bit. He rang me this morning, to laugh at me a little, as he does every time a new adoptee enveigles its way into my heart and household, and to say that he had provided the rescue people with the requisite vet's reference.

All seals of approval are now in place, and I will take my new dog into my home as soon as we are confident that she is ready and won't cause my cats to leave home, Tosca to go into a decline due to being over-bounced on, or send me into chiropractic bankruptcy.

Her formal training starts today, as does mine, with a superb dog trainer who produces amazing results while creating a happy, fully-engaged dog having fun with her owner. We hope to become well-socialised creatures, obedient, responsive to a whistle, able to retrieve, sit, stay, have manners with other people's food, and to walk on a lead without one of us having a dislocated shoulder. I'm slightly better at these things than she is. I already know how to watch someone eat a biscuit without puddles of drool dropping from my mouth, but she doesn't. When she's less of a hooligan, she will move in.

There will be photos....

So what to call her? The problem for me has been that most of the names I like have some drawbacks: too girly, or belonging to someone I know, or their mum, or their pet, or their baby, or to remind me of someone else whose attributes I would not wish for my lovely Finest Specimen. Or too similar to the cats' usually-ignored names.

She is a strong dog, and needs a strong name, and as I like meaningful names, preferably that of a strong woman. A Suffragette? Hmm, they had very girly names; Emily featured often. I live in Emily/Lucy/Freya/Lydia land already. Juno? Goddess, protector of women. Maybe. Josephine? Empress of France, could certainly handle a challenge. The diminutives (Jo, Josie, ) were not so appealing, and anyway I once had a lovely cat called Josie, who met a tragic end. Florence (Nightingale)? The Lovely Son was no use - he's so indecisive that his cat still hasn't got a name, after years of living with him, and is addressed as catkins.

I dithered and swithered, drew up a shortlist, tested it on friends, found that everyone had conflicting views, and made my own decision. A Sunday name that pleased me, would suit her when she became a dignified old lady, and had a lively diminutive for  everyday use.

So...... she's Florence.

Florence. Flossie. Floss. Sweetiepie. Lovely girl. Clever, clever girl. Good girl! Our new dog.

You have been warned.


jabblog said...

Hooray! All the hurdles cleared easily and time to relish a long happy life together. Florence is a lovely name for her - I can see her carrying a lamp and tending to wounded soldiers. Actually, I can see her being a PAT dog. Our labs would be wonderful but for their tendency to leap damply on everyone and lick them vigorously - more training required!

Lucille said...

Perfect. Our cat had a proper name but was always referred to as Bodge. There is the official name and the name that grows out of the character isn't there.

June said...

God love ya...a rescue dog!
Rescue dogs are The BEST.
She is beautiful, beautiful . . . and she's just dying to weave her life into yours.
...and her hair into your upholstery. :-p

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Great name and great story. Love the idea of the training for you both. You sound pretty well trained to me. Good luck!

the veg artist said...

Florence sounds a wonderful name - I like names with a bit of clout (is that just a Welsh term?). Having had a lab before, you know where you are aiming to be with the training. I wouldn't have a clue, and hubby would be no use at all.

Susan said...

I always prefer human names for our animal companions. Bleet (Ness) the only exception I've made to my own rule, he made such a mournful little lamb sound as a tiny kitten ... and I'm a very poor speller. We've had an Ernst, Emma, Lulu, Jake, Winnie, Bess, Bleet, Oliver & Virgil (the cat formerly known as Gus).

I had a friend who had a Sharpei named Bok Choy, and another friend who named her three cats Mocha, Latte & Espresso - just plain wrong ... in my opinion.

Flossie is perfect (my favourite grandmother was a Florence, Flossie & Flo) I bet Tosca soon becomes crazy about her very big, little sister.

Hey ! What about those jam filled cupcakes ;-)
xo Susan, Missy D & les Gang

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous .... my heart says have another dog, but my head wins and says no - a dog just wouldn't fit onto our lives now. Florence sounds good to me. Our neighbours thought we had three dogs .... Bonnie, Honey and Biscuit .... but the last was shouted as encouragement for the spaniel to return from the far reaches of the garden and come into the house to get a biscuit - which she always caught before it hit the floor!!

Sue said...

Can't wait to hear all about Florence. As our house shall be dogless for a while I shall enjoy reading all about your adventures. I'm really pleased for you and a lot jealous.

Kate on Clinton said...

Congratulations and very best wishes for a smooth transition into your home! Love the name and I look forward to seeing many photos and reading about the hi-jinx to follow.

Fran Hill said...

Please can you send me hints on how to watch someone eat a biscuit without drooling? I need some help here from those who have beaten it.

Lyn said...

thank you for following my blog. I will be popping over again soon to see how Florence settles in.

mountainear said...

Welcome to Florence - but I bet she quickly becomes all of those sweet and soppy derivatives. So look forward to hearing about how you all get on together.

What a lucky dog.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A splendid name ! It will lend a certain gravitas .
As for your social skills . I'm sure Mme Colette could give you a refresher course .... perhaps she does group rates , you and Florence for the price of one ?

Pam said...

Well... I'm sure you know what you're doing, but being more of a cat person than a dog person, I'm slightly worried about the reactions of your pussy friends. However, I'm sure it'll be a case of live and let live.

You will never, never be able to go away on holiday, though, will you?

rachel said...

Oh Isabelle, ye of little faith! The cats will be fine, and indeed one of them is already very interested in and fearless towards Flossie. And for the first time, I have a dog who isn't car-sick, so I will have a holiday companion should I wish! But if I don't take her, I have several willing house sitters. How lucky are we?

Carolina said...

Congratulations. Florence looks like a fun loving dog. Like any true labrador. Ours (we have three of the black happy furry creatures running around) love our cats (four of them) and vice versa. They snuggle up together, the cats greet the dogs first and then us (because we are the ones with the can-opener). Florence is one lucky lab ;-)

flwrjane said...

Good girl Florence. What a pretty dog.

I always want to write a post on how i wish i could make a human as happy as any dog who hears the word "walk". Especially a bounding beaming lab.

Nika was 6 and well trained when she moved from Connecticut to live with us. So she taught me how to walk her. The shoulder issues docrop us tho if she sees a SQ before i do.

Looking forward to every post.

xo Jane

Kathie said...

oh my! Two of the strongest women I have known were named Florence... my mother and my grandmother.... what a wonderful choice! Good luck to both of you.

Debbie said...

Florence is a lovely name for such a beautiful looking dog. I wish you all the best with her, your training and a long life together.
I wish I had persevered with training my cocker spaniel properly, although Purdy is a dear little thing, she could be a bit more disciplined!

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