I am a new mommy! Before anyone gets too excited, let me say that my infant has four legs, a tail, blonde fur, floppy ears, brown eyes, ferocious breath, and teeth as sharp as razors. This baby cries all night (well, she did the first 3-4 nights), whines when she can't see anyone, chews on whatever is in her path at the moment, and eats/sleeps/goes potty on a fairly regular schedule (not including her in-house accidents). Her name is Dolly and she is my six week old yellow Labrador puppy.
No, nothing happened to Tammy, my 7 year old German Shepherd. She thinks something has happened to her, like she's committed some terrible sin whose resulting punishment is the presence of the new, hyperactive, barking bundle of energy, but she is fine, save a mile-long jealous streak.
We (meaning myself and Todd Garrett - head of Medical Missions of Iquitos) made the decision to get another dog for several reasons. First, Tammy has been the watch dog of the El Jardin property for a long time now and can teach the new puppy what to do. We didn't want to wait until Tammy passed on to doggy heaven, taking all her good guardian secrets with her. Second, the property here is fairly large - two dogs can canvass it better than one. Finally, after a string of break-ins on my block from October to December, what better time could there be to install a new four-legged alarm system? I began my dog search prior to going to the U.S. for the holidays. Thanks to Villa, I was able to get in touch with the man who gave us Tammy, and, as luck would have it, he had recently bred two yellow labs and said the puppies were due to be born around Christmas.
Upon my return to Iquitos a couple of weeks ago, I got a phone call saying my puppy was ready to come to her new home. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! The last time I had a newborn was about 17 years ago, so to say I had forgotten how much attention puppies require is a gross understatement. After two sleepless nights due to sound barrier breaking wailing and howling, trips outside every couple of hours in order to avoid unwanted clean-ups, and playing referee between the new addition and the current queen of the yard to keep one from literally killing the other, I didn't know whether to cry, scream, take her back to her canine mother, or all of the above. But now, a week later, things have settled down a bit. Tammy and Dolly are getting used to each other (though they definitely are not friends yet), Dolly is sleeping through the night on the screened porch (until she's big enough to join Tammy outdoors), and I have learned the value of grabbing an afternoon power nap (when the baby sleeps, mommy sleeps).
What's in a name? Tammy (pronounced Tommy based on the Spanish pronunciation of the letter 'a') is short for Tamshiyacu. I'm not really sure who named her, but she shares her name with the jungle town that one of our AMF sister churches is partnered with. When Todd and I first began discussing getting another dog for the property, I immediately thought about what I would name her (since I knew I would get another female). Naturally I began with a list of Latino names - and even though I really liked some of them, none really felt right. Then one night I was in the shower with music from my iPod blasting (as is my custom) when an old, well-worn tune had me tapping my foot and shampooing simultaneously. I sang along, loudly (as is also my custom - when there are no guests in the house), the familiar lyrics of Here You Come Again by none other than Dolly Parton, who just happens to be one of Todd's favorite singers (no kidding - who knew she was anybody's favorite?). And so the story goes of how Dolly (the dog) came into her name.
And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, the pictures. I have tried to get some shots of Dolly and Tammy together, but Tammy will not be still long enough. At this point she allows Dolly about 30 seconds of aggravation time before she jumps up and runs off to hide. Hopefully in the future…