We had planned on calling her Nellie before we saw her, but whoever named her got it right: she is much more an Emma than a Nellie. It turns out that Emma is a mostly black and tan coonhound. “Mostly” because her legs are a little too short, her chest a little too broad, her back a little too long and swayed, and there isn’t much tan on her hide. But she is proof of the fact that it doesn’t take an AKC pedigree to make a really good dog and warm companion. She suits us very nicely indeed. (And I think we suit her.) And in all events, she smells exactly like a coonhound should.

The adoption process was efficient, swift and straightforward, and the delivery was right on time. The only problem was that the pickup time was 5 a.m. sixty miles away, but who watches the clock when you are looking forward to meeting your new dog.

We were a little surprised to find that Emma wasn’t quite as young as we had expected. We sort of thought we were getting a three-year old, but when we took her to our vet for her introductory checkup, he looked at her teeth and said “she’s probably seven years old, but we’ll call her six.” I mention this not because we are disappointed, but rather because you guys were savvier than we were. I think if we had known she was that age we probably would have been a bit slow to take her on, figuring that she’d had quite a while to develop to-us bad habits. But it turned out that her age has brought her to a very placid time in her life, just as we are at a very placid time in ours, and we have yet to find a really bad habit. Jayne was wiser than we were when she talked us out of the younger dog that was our ostensible first choice.

At first she did some sneaky peeing in the house, but that has pretty much solved itself with the passage of time (unless she is really sneaky). And somewhere in her past life she had unfortunate experiences with an invisible fence. We have them around our yards both here in Pennsylvania and at our house on Cape Cod, since neither yard is fenced. At first we literally couldn’t get her out of the house wearing the electric collar. She has since gotten a bit more willing, but she is still somewhat circumspect about where she wanders—which is all to the good. However, since we walk her a mile or so twice a day it’s more a matter of what she’s missing out on by not giving herself the full run of the yards, than it is an inconvenience to us. She is in robust health, except for a minor chronic kidney problem which seems to be controlled by mild medication.

She is smart and learns quickly. In fact she probably set a Guinness world speed record for the time it took to learn to climb on the couches--about 37 seconds flat—and now spends most of her day observing the household happenings from that vantage point.

All in all, we are very grateful to you both for allowing Emma into our lives.

Regards and thanks,
Michael Mulroney

Page last updated on 10 January 2011