Chapter 4 – First Year and Home Life

The first year is easy to sum up.  I loved having a dog, and I loved Gabby… and she loved me. We were so happy.
Within a week of bringing her home from South Carolina I took Gabby for her shots and a check-up.  The vet who examined her was impressed and said, “This is a great dog.”  Shortly thereafter, Gabby scampered while she was on the exam table, and fell off!  She landed on the floor flat on her stomach in front of the horrified veterinarian, who seemed to be fresh out of vet school.  She examined her after and she was fine… I think puppies are pretty resilient.  After that I always kept closer watch over her whenever she was being examined.
Gabby was extremely well behaved. Housebreaking was easy using the couch method I mentioned before.  She loved people and she enthusiastically greeted everyone we met.  Everyone loved her too, she was so cute and friendly!  She quickly got used to the crate and whenever I picked up the car keys she would run and get in it herself.  That made me feel less guilty whenever I had to leave the house.  She seemed content there, waiting for me.
Every day when I would get home from work I would open the crate door and she would run out to greet me.  We would play outside, then I would cook dinner.  When I was cooking she would often show up in the kitchen entryway with a toy in her mouth and a gleam in her eye.  I’d throw the toy for her while I cooked.
I always gave her high quality dog food as her main meal, but whenever I cooked beef, chicken or fish I would always make a little bit for her, too, without sauce or seasoning.  When I ate my meal I would either feed it to her by hand or put it in a bowl for her.  It was a way we bonded.
Gabby and I bonded very deeply, very quickly.  She always wanted to be in the same room with me, or to be touching me when we relaxed together.  I’d often lie on the floor watching movies on my big TV, and she would always curl up touching my knee under a blanket. I used baby gates to keep her off the steps when she was little, and later when she was older and I was concerned about her back. When I went upstairs without her to go to the kitchen or the bathroom, she would wait at the gate by the edge of the steps for me until I came back. If I took too long she would bark and start to try to get past the gate.
This deep connection brings us to a nickname I soon coined for her…. Little Miss Separation Anxiety.