Posted by: jeannineatkins | February 15, 2016

Companion, Distraction, and Cuteness

Multi tasking today, revising a manuscript while teaching the new puppy not to eat it. Kirby is not only a sweet rescue lab mix, but at not quite three months, a smart one. He’s catching on to bathroom manners pretty quickly, though it means taking him out in the cold, and now snow, every hour or so.


He keeps a respectful distance from the cat, who I think misses our old dog, but has not been welcoming. Kirby is learning not to chew computers, power cords, and paper. When he’s not looking for trouble, which is puppy nature, he’s a great side-snuggler as I work.

I read about house training with a crate and over the years we’ve done it for several dogs. Still, late last night I wasn’t sure how best to proceed, when Kirby plunked himself in the laundry basket in the bedroom and seemed reluctant to come out. He stayed there till almost morning. A reminder, now that I’m back at the keyboard, that I’m not the only one with ideas. Even as I revise with most threads in place, it’s good to sit back sometimes, watch the world, and let a story follow its own mysterious course. I’ve also got to think about each sentence under my hands as well as the book as a whole. Which is sort of like giving a puppy what he needs, while not forgetting about the sort of dog you hope he’ll become.

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And then get back to admiring the cuteness.



  1. What a pal!!

  2. He’s adorable. We had a lab named Alex. He learned his “bathroom manners” almost immediately and learned commands just as easily. But staying out of the garbage? Never. Never learned that. He did help with a household chore, though. Cleaning the cat’s litter box. Yes, ugh. But you need to know that if your cat uses one. Lab’s are the best, but they do have their quirks.

    • Yes, adorable, and we will discover the quirks, hopefully not that of Alex. The cat is setting limits and hopefully he has drawn a line before his box.

  3. Oh boy, such cuteness! You are giving me ideas, Jeannine!

    • Yay for cuteness and ideas. It’s work now, but also fun seeing him discover the world. Snow, rain, and mud!

  4. “Let the story follow its own mysterious course” is such wise advice! Thank you for these glimpses into your process. I can see why Kirby got his way and slept in the laundry basket, though. Who could resist those eyes?

    • Yes, those eyes! He seems to like his bed, bequeathed by the last dog, on the floor now. I guess he knows the laundry basket won’t always fit, though it’s so tempting to chew.

  5. Kirby is unbearably adorable! What a good, smart dog. He’s training you quite well. 🙂

    • Ah yes, he has got me in the palm of his paw!

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