Guest Post: Advice for Lauren Carr … and Gnarly

I am really excited about our guest blogger today because author and columnist Tim Rowland wrote this post specially for a new family member who is coming home today: Gnarly! That’s right! Mac Faraday’s sidekick has come to life–sort of! Today, we are bringing home a seven-week old German Shepherd puppy, named after Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd sidekick. Of course, at seven weeks old, he’s not as big as Gnarly–nor is he potty broken–but he’ll get there.

And, in anticipation of this addition to our new family member, Tim Rowland, who has a world of experience with breaking in new critters (he lives on a farmette in Berkeley Springs, WV) has this advice to offer to Gnarly:

By Tim Rowland

How to understand a puppy? To bastardize the Jack Nicholson line, just think of a dog — and then take away reason and accountability. The words of Alan Greenspan also come to mind, particularly as they relate to “irrational exuberance.”

Author and Columist Tim Rowland writes numerous books and articles about the happenings at his farm in Berkeley Springs, WV.

Author and Columist Tim Rowland writes numerous books and articles about the happenings at his farm in Berkeley Springs, WV.

I know I join with many Lauren Carr fans this week in welcoming the real-world Gnarly into the fold, and with this new puppy will come hours of fun, frustrations and inspirations. Having survived several puppies of my own, I feel safe in offering some comments and advice that will hopefully make the transition go more smoothly.

For example, before the puppy enters the home, it is a good idea to take every book in the house and run the corners through a food processor. You might as well, since this is what the books will resemble anyway, once the pup is through with them.

Young Gnarly will admittedly have some advantages, since he has such a large collar to fill. Mac Faraday’s Gnarly has pretty well covered the waterfront of canine outrages, so if little Gnarly should perform something as innocuous as chewing up an item of footwear it will, truth be told, seem rather mild compared to his namesake.

On the flip side, it will turn up the pressure under the young animal to know that he won’t really have come into his own until he has saved the lives of three out of five house guests. But this is a burden that must be borne by the dog; the puppy-owning community will have other atrocities to concern themselves with.

It is useful to consider puppies and teenage boys in the same framework. Both are accomplished at turning off that little voice in their heads that says “think,” so no behavior is entirely out of the question. To expand upon that point, neither group, in my experience has any sort of working knowledge with a little thing I like to call “gravity.”

Fans of the Mac Faraday Mysteries rejoice at the arrival of the real Gnarly in Lauren Carr's family

Fans of the Mac Faraday Mysteries rejoice at the arrival of the real Gnarly in Lauren Carr’s family

A puppy is pretty sure he can leap overtop of various and sundry glassware, groceries, floral arrangements, et.al., and not come down until the obstacles have been cleared — even if the obstructions extend for 15 or 20 feet.

And—get used to it, for it is a fact of life—airborne puppies never land in anything convenient. They will always  come to rest in something spillable, breakable, disconnectable, flushable or structurally crumbleable.

So right off, the new puppy owner must find an extra hour in the day. Doesn’t matter where it is taken from—cooking, reading, exercising, helping the kids with their homework—but it will have to come from somewhere, because that is about how much time will be spent each day for puppy-related repair jobs.

Sure, it looks real dadburned cute on YouTube—that episode with the puppies, the wedding dress and the cottage cheese—but remember, what takes 30 seconds to film can take hours to depuppify.

But all that said, there is plenty of reward that comes from raising a pup. Just remember that the animal will in many ways resemble those lines from Corinthians. In reverse: A puppy is (not) patient, a puppy is (not) kind. A puppy does envy, it is jealous, boastful, arrogant and proud.

All right, maybe not proud. And I might get an argument that some can be kind, when the mood strikes them. No matter, we look forward to hearing more about little Gnarly, knowing that the antics of a puppy can fill a book—which, if you’re a writer is a decidedly good thing.

About the Author:

Tim Rowland was born in Minnesota and grew up in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. He attended West Virginia University, earning degrees in journalism and history.

Creature Features is a hilarious assortment of columns about the adventures and misadventures on Tim's farm. (Click on cover to purchase on Amazon)

Creature Features is a hilarious assortment of columns about the adventures and misadventures on Tim’s farm. (Click on cover to purchase on Amazon)

He has spent his entire career in newspapers, covering the West Virginia Legislature in Charleston and the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis before becoming a full-time columnist in 1993.

Tim has written for national and regional syndicates, Including Bridge News Service in New York and currently for the environmentally focused Bay Journal News Service. He is a current contributor to Adirondack Life, Cato’s Regulation Magazine and America’s Civil War Magazine.

He has written travel articles for newspapers across the country from places around the world including Nepal, Norway, Bolivia, Alaska, Thailand, Newfoundland, Switzerland and Italy.

Along with writing, Tim is an avid outdoorsman, having climbed in the Himalayas, hiked the Inca Trail and ridden a bicycle across the United States. He has climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks over 4,000 feet.

Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War contains little known facts about the Civil War. (Click on cover to visit on Amazon)

Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War contains little known facts about the Civil War. (Click on cover to visit on Amazon)

Tim has written several books, including histories of the New York and Western Maryland mountains; “Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War,” a collection of offbeat, behind-the-scenes action in and out of battle; and two all-animal collections of essays, “All Pets are Off” and “Creature Features.”

Along with his wife Beth, Tim has worked to save heritage breeds of livestock, and currently raises Belted Galloway beef cattle. They live in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

To learn more about Tim Rowland, visit his website:

Tim Rowland’s Book Shelf – Home

Facebook: Tim Rowland

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