This particular SMNP was a little rushed, and possibly not up to the usual standard. I mean, Nina still looks her usual regal/haughty/elegant self, but I'm not particularly happy with how the photo turned out.
But I have a good reason for why the picture-taking was rushed, which I would like to present in the form of a story.
About 28 years ago, my parents taught a Sunday School class. This is less impressive than it sounds: the church was only about thirty people, a handful of whom were teenagers, and Mom and Dad, who at the time would have been in their late twenties, were the people closest in age to the teenagers, so they were the ones who had to teach the class, by process of elimination.
And the only thing I actually remember about this period, and the reason why I brought it up, is that at some point the word "fervor" came up in the reading. I'm guessing, having Googled about a bit, that the verse in question was probably Romans 12:11, which the New International Version renders as "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Most other translations use "fervent" instead, but for reasons which are about to become obvious, I am pretty sure that "fervor" was the critical word here.
Anyway. The meaning is fairly clear in context, but it would not have been a familiar word to your average 16-year-old rural Iowan in the year 1982 or whenever it was. And so one of the guys was moved to comment how strange a word it was, and how it sounded like a dog's name, like "Rover" or something. ("Here Fervor! C'mere, boy! Good Fervor!") Which Mom and Dad at some point mentioned in my hearing (I think it actually became a running joke within the class for a while).
The moral of the story -- yes, there is a moral -- is to be careful what you say around eight-year-olds, 'cause they don't necessarily remember the stuff you think they ought to.
I present to the reader my and the husband's new dog, Fervor.
Yes I am serious. That's the name we're using on the forms and stuff.
I ran through a few other mumbly multi-"R"-sound name possibilities -- Rover, River, Reaver, Turgor, Rigor, Murmur, Ardor -- but decided there was no improving on Fervor. And so he was.
He's a lab / Newfoundland mix (possibly with a little Chow in there; I've heard conflicting guesses), and if everything went according to plan, we brought him home early yesterday afternoon, after meeting him a couple times at the shelter. I know some of you were hoping for a German shepherd: sorry. We started out wanting a German shepherd, but the one we actually met was younger, and a bit too high-energy for us, and anyway I liked Fervor pretty much from the moment I saw him. (We'll never know, obviously, what his first impressions of me were.) Labs as a group do nothing for me, so I don't know what the appeal was exactly.
I knew there was a good chance he would be our dog when I spent the car ride home after that first meeting coming up with reasons why it would be a terrible idea to adopt him.
And there did appear to be several. He's big: he'll need a lot of food. He's energetic: he was acting all soulful and mellow while caged up in the shelter, but the first time they took him out to let us walk him around and stuff, I nearly dislocated a shoulder. He's very heavy and strong: if he decides he wants to go somewhere . . . well, it's possible to convince him otherwise, but you have to be pretty alert. One moment of hesitation and you're skidding over the mud on your heels as if on waterskis. (Actually happened once.) The only saving grace is that he's not exactly going to go work for dog NASA, if you know what I mean, and he'll forget what he wanted to do if you can distract him for a second with something else. Lord help us should Timmy ever fall in the well.
We're not his first family; he'd been adopted previously by someone who had an older dog already, and was too much for the other dog to handle, so they brought him back to the shelter after a month. Before that, he was a stray. We'd worried a lot about adopting him -- would he need to be coaxed into the car, would he try to chew on the plants (With as many as we have, and as big as he is, there wasn't a lot we could do to get them out of his reach, though I think the ones that are low are, with one exception, neither irreplaceably expensive nor dangerously toxic. The exception is a single large Dieffenbachia, and I'm not actually sure what to do about it.), would he knock stuff over, would he try to chase every dog, cat, and squirrel we saw on walks, and so forth.
So far, though, almost everything's been good. He didn't even need to be told to get in the car, and seems to love riding around in it. He's shown almost no interest in the plants, and the interest he's shown so far was that he thought he needed to mark my Tradescantia pallida as his territory. Which is gross, but better that than trying to eat them. He seems to be fine with his crate, he was much better on the walk in town yesterday than he'd been either time we walked him at the shelter, and he's barely barked or whined since we got him home (and even when he did bark or whine, it was kind of tentative, like he didn't really want to). He's a little overeager to play, and a little insistent about being petted sometimes, but that's digging pretty deep to find flaws.
One possible remaining problem, and it's a biggie: I may be allergic. I've gotten itchy arms a time or two after being with him, but that's also happened when I wasn't around him -- so far, all allergy-type symptoms have happened under ambiguous circumstances (e.g. for itchy-arm stuff, I'd also been around cats, to which I am definitely allergic, and for asthma-type stuff, that's only happened after taking him on a long walk in fairly cool weather, which cold and exercise have both set asthma off with no dog present). I'm inclined to think that if there were serious allergies, things would be more obvious, dramatic, and clear-cut than this, but I have been both completely convinced that I am not allergic to Fervor, and completely convinced that I am, in the last 24 hours. I guess we'll be finding out.
Other than that -- which may or may not be a problem -- things have gone better than I'd thought they would.
Very nearly perfect, in fact.
So probably I am allergic.
I expect to continue posting pictures of Nina, 'cause it's not like she's suddenly no longer interesting just because we have a dog. However, the Saturday blogging will probably evolve into "Saturday morning Nina and/or Fervor picture" posts, according to who's being more photogenic that week. The other alternative is to get even further away from plants and become more of a pet blog, which I'd just as soon not do. I mean, I like and read other people's pet posts, but I figure most of you are here for the plants, and I'd actually prefer to talk about the plants. If I think the world has a burning need to hear about what Fervor's up to, in theory I can always start another blog, right?