Monday, February 20, 2017

Puppy Love

Let’s get a puppy! He said.
Actually… let’s get TWO puppies! He said.
Let’s breed the two puppies! He said.
I couldn’t say “No.” I literally could not say no to this seemingly simple request because, as so many of you know, a lifetime ago I made a seemingly simple request of him and I got my way easily…  (“Can I get a cow?”  “Can we use it as a family milk cow??” (He said yes. And he did all the work.)) so of course, I said, “Sure!”
We got the 2 puppies, the puppies the farmer has always wanted. Australian Cattle Dogs, aka Blue Heelers, are a rare sight in the south. They are working dogs, mainly for cattle and sheep, and they are smart, quick, loyal, and loyal. Yes, that’s a double dose of loyal! They love their owner fiercely and unashamedly. We were lucky enough to find a male and female born within 6 weeks of each other and brought them home. They have been precious to us! Despite Cody having a bad water moccasin bite and Teagan having a torn paw, the two of them managed to find themselves expecting a litter of little ones early December.  I read up on puppy delivery, peppered our vet with questions, googled, worried, and prayed. I admit, as usual, I spent a little more time worrying than praying despite advice to do otherwise. Poor Teagan, she didn’t even know what was coming her way. I couldn’t warn her! I wanted to say, “Teagan, sweetie, I just want you to know that you are going to do amazing! It’s all going to work out fine! I’m going to help you!” But she just stared at me as if to say, “Can I have another scoop of dog food?”
The day arrived when she was finally in labor. It was fast, it was relatively uneventful, it was perfect, and by the time it was all over, I was completely exhausted and giddy. I was honestly like a new Dad! So proud, and mainly so happy I didn’t have to do any of the actual work! Teagan did great, and all 6 puppies were delivered healthy and strong, weighing in at 8 ounces each.  Funny thing was, she had 5 boys and only 1 little girl. Our family has some sort of boy majority cloud hovering over it. We wrote down all the markings they each had so we could tell them apart, and from that night on, we called them by their number. The kids were all a part of this and we were all so happy that we had said yes to puppies.
That honeymoon lasted about 2 weeks.
For the 8 weeks that you raise puppies with their mother, you encounter such a similar roller-coaster to raising humans. There are moments of pure bliss followed by pure frustration. Worry, fear, concern all mixed with pride, love, and laughter. They all stole our hearts and they were so precious to see as they grew from helpless white fur balls to rowdy grey and black sock-stealers. There was stacks and stacks of newspaper that were used and many band-aids to heal the bites from razor sharp teeth. Teagan was an excellent mother while Cody was mostly afraid of the babies and kept his distance. The kids all did their share of putting down fresh newspaper, feeding, watering, playing, and petting. We were exhausted but we were so proud.
8 weeks went by so quickly. Suddenly, it was time for the new adoptive parents to come claim their fur-baby. The best part of our whole experience was honestly, the joy that the new owners had over their puppy. As I said earlier, this breed is unusual and sometimes hard to find. Each of the new owners had been wanting and waiting for this puppy for a long time and it was a wonderful feeling to put them in the loving arms of the family who was so excited to take them home.
I wondered if Teagan would know they were gone and possibly miss them. Nope. Not even a whimper. Life goes on! That was our only litter, and we are so pleased with how it all worked out. One and done, as they say!

We hear back from the new owners every now and then, and get pictures of the puppy growing and changing. It is the highlight of our day when we do. Puppy love…so glad we said yes to yet another experience on the farm that helped us grow and change.   We love our “grand-pups!”