Chapter 2 – First Day and Coming Home

Gabby is eight weeks old in these pictures  

When we got back to my mom’s house, I got out of the car, put my puppy on the ground and she peed immediately.  This was confirmation that my housebreaking strategy had a good chance of working.  More on that later.

In my mom’s living room, I put her down, got an old sock and dangled it in front of her… she immediately reared back on her hind legs to try and get it.  I knew I would have a playful dog!


We started to talk about names.  When I looked at her somehow the name, “Gabby” popped into my head. Later that day, Mom looked at her AKC papers.  “Her father’s name was Gabriel’s Dapple Dan. How about Gabrielle?” she suggested.




I liked it, and it corresponded with the “Gabby” that spontaneously popped into my mind.  By the next morning, she was “Judy’s Georgia Gabriella” since mom found her for me in Georgia, and my mom’s name is Judy.  I never did register that name for her though as I knew I would not be breeding her.  I always called her Gabby and not Gabriella, though I had a multitude of other silly names for her too!

She was in my lap all night, and I took her out right before bed.  Time to try my housebreaking strategy. I figured if she was on top of my body, she would not pee… but if she was on a bed with me, she might find an open area and relieve herself.  I decided to sleep on the couch with her on top of me, because I did not think she would pee on a human.




When I opened my eyes the next morning, she was right up at my face, doing the pee-pee dance. She had to go. I took her out, put her down and she relieved herself immediately.  It worked!

My flight home with grandma was the same day, so we went to the airport and they sold us a pet carrier at the counter.  It was a tiny little thing and they charged us $50. Highway robbery, but we knew it would fit under the seat.  Another $50 to take her on board and we were set to go.


I still have her little airline crate.  It is hard to believe that she once fit in it!

When we waited to board I took her out of the carrier and held her.  Many waiting passengers fussed over her, and when I put her down you could tell she wanted to romp and play!  She whined a bit when she was in her carrier and under the seat, but she was very good for the whole trip.

The Petsmart where I shopped for Gabby for the first time.

When we got back to Pittsburgh I stopped at a Petsmart on the way home.  I bought her the crate that would be her “safe place” for most of her life, and of course puppy food, treats, bowls and toys.


Gabby’s crate

I wish they had cell phone cameras back in December 1997 as I would surely have a lot more pictures of these first days.  Even without them, the memories are as vivid as if they were yesterday.