After nearly a year of reaping the benefits of dog-free living, I can tell you something: those things aren't that important to me. Do you know what is important? Loving a dog and being loved back with mutual admiration and loyalty. Being a teacher and a learner in a dog/human relationship. Going on adventures to new and to familiar places and sharing that experience with a dog. Being greeted with excitement each time you walk in the door of your house. Finding a common ground of communication between species. Putting play time at the center and adult seriousness aside on a regular basis. Having a purpose and motivation to be outdoors everyday. Watching your dog learn and explore the world with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Paul and I have been inching closer and closer to being ready to start the adventure of raising a puppy again. So, with that in mind, in late October we went to see a man about a dog.
Blaze was the potential mama to our future pup. She was exactly the dog we want: friendly, well-mannered, playful, athletic, smart and knows how to pose for the camera. Seriously! She was running all around, smelling things, getting petted by everyone and the minute I took my camera out she came and sat by me perfectly still while I snapped a few pictures and then she was off again!
We also got to meet the potential puppy's potential papa (tongue twister!) and puppies from another litter he had sired. Is your heart melting? Ours were!
It is a testament to our strength that we didn't claim one of these pups as our own that very day!
After our visit, we felt really good about this breeder and the dam and sire of the litter to come. Blaze was expected to come into season and if the breeding was successful, we were in line to have the option to put down a deposit on one of her puppies. Unfortunately, we found out about 2 weeks ago that the breeding was not successful.
At that point, we decided the best thing to do was to go see another man about another dog. This man and his dog were about 2.5 hours away in a very picturesque part of the state. If we hadn't been on a schedule I would have wanted to stop to take pictures so many times! Instead I snapped a few from the car window.
When we arrived we met Piper. Piper's litter had been due on December 25. We visited on December 28. Amazingly enough for us, Piper was late and had given birth in the wee hours of the morning of our visit.
The litter was so freshly born that I was the one who discovered that she had 8 puppies and not the 7 they had thought. When I got there, Piper was patient with me and allowed me to round them up out of the blanket tunnels they had crawled into and nestle them in next to her. I counted their bums while they nursed and there were 8! Apparently she had another one after her owner went to bed.
Piper seemed to be a great mom, cleaning them up, nursing them and watching over them.
Piper and Romeo, the sire of the litter are both German Shorthaired Pointers. Piper's black and white coloring is less typical of the breed standard. Romeo, has the more typical liver (brown) and roan/ticking (spotted) coloring. As a result, the litter is a mix with some pups being black and white and some pups being brown and white. We didn't get to meet Romeo since he was out of town on business (his business is participating in field trials to prove how fancy he is).
We knew we wanted a male brown/white pup, which meant these two little guys met our criteria.
How cool to be able to hold your potential future pup at less than 12 hours old!
They haven't been named so we are distinguishing between the two by calling them "forehead stripe" and "side splotch".
We were there for about 2 hours talking about their dogs and training strategies and hunting vs co-existing with backyard chickens. All the way home from the visit Paul and I talked about what this change would mean for us. Reminiscing about Jack and Tchazo's lives. Worrying about how much work it will be to train a dog with this much energy (me!). Talking about the division of duties we might imagine and who would be the one responsible for burning off that energy everyday (Paul!).
And then we got home and kept talking about it and kept freaking out about the enormity of the commitment (me). And talking about how confident we are about the challenge (Paul). And then, I just decided to take it one step at a time, one joy at a time and one challenge at a time. I feel ready to do it if I think smaller when it comes to the challenges and bigger when it comes to what this addition means to our joy in life.
So with that, we texted the man about a dog and we toasted to the decision (with kombucha, because sometimes that is how we roll).
In 2 weeks, we will go visit again and choose between forehead stripe and side splotch. Then, 4 weeks after that, our pup will come home and rock our world! Be prepared for puppy pictures...lots and lots of puppy pictures!