Chapter 1
(25th January 2000):

Moving in

Dear Family and Friends,

Hi! My name is Gráinne na Dun na nGall, but you can call me GRAW-nya. I am an Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

My mummy thinks that I know my name, but Daddy is not convinced. I've been in Bramstedt for 72 hours now and have changed their lives immensely.

Obviously Mummy and Daddy were one clown short of a circus. Now they got me ...

That afternoon teacher's coma is a thing of the past until they teach me to be quiet and not get into trouble or until they learn to sleep when I want to. I have the neighbors under control, too; Birgit and Andrea adapt their schedules to mine so that they can let me out and feed me. (I don't like to cooperate at mealtime unless someone plays the airplane game or "Eat a bite for Grandma..."). Pretty soon they're going to catch on to the fact that I know about waiting for a potty stop. After all, I've only made two mistakes since I came here.

It all started like this: Friday afternoon I was innocently playing around with my brother and two sisters (I don't know where the other two girls disappeared to), when the door opened and these two people came in and sat down on OUR floor, smelling like my biological mother, Peggy Sue, who was so glad to be getting rid of me that she slobbered all over them. I jumped right on the lady's lap and nibbled on her nose to say hello. Later I managed to get to the man, too, but my brother is a real Rambo and he was all over both of them all the time. They kept turning him over and saying, "The boy again". For a minute I was afraid that one of my sisters was going to take over with that winning face of hers, when she was making up to the man, but then I heard him say, "You want that one, don't you?" The lady smiled and my ex-mummy reported that I was the one chosen for them anyway. Can you believe that she had given me the official name Sundance Ricci? Well, Sundance is acceptable, as the name of the kennel has to be included, but what is an Irish Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier supposed to do with an Italian name?

They disappeared for a while and suddenly ex-Mummy came and dumped me into the arms of the lady, who said, "Gráinne, I'm Mummy." Next thing I knew I was in their car and on the way "home". I decided I'd better be good until I had them figured out. so I stayed quiet on her lap and piddled when they put me on the cold grass at some highway parking lot and in Brinkum, where they stuffed me into a cage and Mummy disappeared into another car. But she followed us closely to make sure Daddy wasn't kidnapping me.

When we got to the Lohbergsheide, they told me that I had to stay here for the rest of my life. I had to think about that. I peeked into each room and then piddled on the newspapers. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that was a derogatory comment on the situation or my acceptance of the place. We played a little and I ate a few bites but mostly I wanted to cuddle. Then Daddy said "I'm dog tired" and we all went to bed. I let them sleep that night and the next with only one trip to the yard at 2:00 a.m. I really didn't need that; just testing. Gotta find out how far I can drive them.

Saturday I made friends with the neighbors who stopped in (Everybody makes such a Fuss over me!), and played more and more. I didn't play that dumb homesick game. Soon I wasn't afraid of my sheepswool bone with the squeaker in it and really took to the rawhide sheep's foot. I guess that's because I'm such a lamb myself.

By Sunday I had taken over the place and was really bold. Meanwhile my mummy looks like she was in a fight with her pierced lip and holes in her chin. Never say I'm not quick. They've already moved all the shoes, taken one roll of film to be developed and started a video of me bouncing in the yard on my long legs.

Of course I cant let them get away with everything, so I have to whine when they leave me alone. I quit after they leave but I want them to feel really guilty about this neglect so that they keep sending these babysitters to play with me. Tomorrow Uncle Peter will install the baby gate to keep me off the stairs, which are so bad for my joints the first year. I told you I was changing things around here! And I'm growing visibly, too.

My folks have a lot of plans for me. Tomorrow I go to report card conferences in my cage and will entertain the staff at Brinkum when my mummy's busy. Friday I start KINDERGARTEN! At 8 weeks old, well 9 then. Everybody says that puppies need to learn to socialize with other dogs and do some agility training. My bad luck: there is a very popular dog school here in Bassum and I'll graduate to obedience when I finish puppy school at 6 months.

Love and a nip  - Gráinne

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