If you’ve been following The Rational Dog for any length of time, whether here or on social media, you’re probably familiar with the story of Noelle, the Christmas Dog. Noelle was the sweet little puppy that I saw get dropped off in the ditch on Christmas Day last year, and we stopped and scooped her up and brought her home, much to my husband’s chagrin!
In the time since I last wrote about her, Noelle has grown into a charming young lady, though definitely not without her tough side. One thing that I absolutely love, though, is that from the very first moment, Noelle was never MY dog. Usually, because I am the one who does the feeding, the training, and the general dog stuff, our dogs bond with me as the most important human in the house. Not Noelle, though.
She is, without a shadow of a doubt, the kids’ dog.
Maggie carried her home in her lap that Christmas Day, and Noelle has never forgotten it. She will gladly spend her time playing tag and racing with the girls, digging holes together, or even chasing the soccer ball that the girls kick for her. Even when I try to bribe her away for some well-earned rest time in her crate to decompress from keeping her manners in place, she would rather be with the kids than get a cookie.
One of Olivia’s first words was “Wo-elle,” and even though she is one of four dogs here at home, she is the toddler’s favorite friend after the cats. Not even two years old, and Olivia will throw a ball for her, clap for her to come with her, and (try) to take her collar and walk her around.
And Noelle’s thoughts about all of this? She is gentle, she is joyful, and she is so patient. Especially for such a young dog! I generally do not expect the sort of tolerance and happiness with children that Noelle displays until a dog is around 3-4 years old. Certainly not in one who has just turned a year.
That doesn’t mean it’s been a cakewalk, not by far.
As wonderful as our girl is, she is by no means perfect. I’ve encountered things with this puppy that I have not had to deal with in years. The one that leaps to the front of my mind? She loves to kill chickens.
When she was a baby, I would let her loose with the chickens. My Aussies have always been fine with the birds (except for stealing eggs on occasion, thank you Tinder), and Noelle was alright for awhile. She liked to catch them and try to pluck their feathers out, but that was the extent of her bullying. However, a husky that was here for training managed to get into my closed and locked up chicken coop one day and slaughtered my whole little flock. And Noelle thought that THAT was as cool as things could get in this life.
She is personally responsible for the death of three little hand-reared chicks, as well as a couple of emergency chicken first aid situations. She won’t destroy the coop to get inside of it, but if there is any weakness? She will find a way. So chicken security is at a max around here, and Noelle is 100% the reason for it!
Noelle is also the first dog I’ve had since Lud, my old coonhound, passed away a few years ago who will jump the fence. She does not do it just because she feels like going for a walk, like Lud was known to do. But if she gets excited about something on the other side, she is not against using those springy little legs to vault over. This means that when she is outside in the yard, I am always on red alert to make sure she doesn’t get too enthusiastic!
We love this girl, though.
She gets car sick, her tummy is upset by pretty much any change in food or too many of any but the blandest treats you can find. Her hearing is fairly selective when it comes to coming when she’s called. She doesn’t take shenanigans from other dogs, except for Horton, her best friend, But in spite of all of that, she is a wonderful dog, and I am so incredibly glad to have her as a part of our family!