Monday, June 4, 2012

Puppy Picking Stress

Well, yesterday we went to meet puppies!  I was so very excited, but honestly it turned out to be quite a stressful adventure.

We pulled up to the farm and it was a great place.  They had lots of animals around for herding, etc.  There was a sign for fresh eggs (duck or chicken) at the foot of the long, winding driveway.  Welcome to rural western MA (which I love...almost as much as VT).  As we got close to the house we saw them.  There was an ex-pen set up, and when the car pulled up a whole little crowd of fluffy critters came over to see what we were all about.  So.darn.cute!

We met the breeder who seemed very nice and knowledgeable.  She had answers to all my questions.  She's also a vet tech, which was a nice thing to hear.  After a few minutes of general oohing and aahing over the puppies, we got to meet the dam and sire.  I was impressed.  Bill, the dad, was super friendly.  He came right up and gave me kisses and wiggled happily at me.  Nell, the mom, was a little bit more reserved at first, but soon she had her head in my lap being petted to the point where I wasn't sure I would be able to get up.  Both looked very nice structurally.  I love Bill's conformation.  Nothing I can pick apart.  The one thing about him is that his coat is curlier, and I like the smoother coats.  Nell was a little bit heavier than my ideal dog, but still quite lovely.  She doesn't have the long, thin nose that I'm more used to with Jonah and growing up with a collie, but her angles both in front and back are quite nice.  A little bit straight behind.  She also just had puppies, so I don't know that it's fair to be too picky about her.  She moved a little less gracefully than Bill, who was beautiful to watch.  But again, probably the fact that her teets were clearly hanging down had something to do with that!

So then we went back to the puppies.  There was a deposit in on one of the males already.  He was handsome and the breeder said 'the most laid back of the group.'  Not what we were looking for, anyway. Then there were two girls, and the breeder was deciding between those two if she wanted to keep one.  One would go to someone else.  I was a little bummed to not have first pick of the girls since I'd come the very first time she'd offered us to visit, but apparently others had come before.  Oh well.

In general, the puppies were hard to keep track of!  They're all black and white, and moving around so fast.  They all look to be nice puppies.  I brought out all four of the girls and stacked them as best as I could to look at their builds.  One was noticeably straighter behind.  That's out.  Other than that, though, they all really looked nice.  One was a little thicker than the others with slightly less layback in the shoulder.  Not ideal, but still a nice puppy.

There was one girl who Dave had commented on right from the beginning.  She's a real darling.  Her structure looks quite good (possibly a tiny bit toed out in the right hind, but her body was curled to the right while I was looking at her, and it was hard to tell how consistent that would be).  It is not easy to get a little puppy to stand and stay standing square!!  When I picked her up, she was the most confident of the group.  The others were quieter and a little wary of me putting them up on the table and poking around at them.  Not anything bad, but they had their heads down a bit and were less perky.  This girl was happy to be there.  Very alert.  Some of the boys were pushy.  She wasn't pushy, but very interactive.  We played a little tug and she seemed to enjoy it.

When we asked about personality, the breeder said overall it was a little hard to tell.  They were similar dogs and that's why she was having so much trouble with her own decision.  She talked about the most laid back male, whom she had placed with a family with two young boys.  Another she said was consistently a little more assertive, getting in front of/on top of the others.  The girl we liked she said was always the first awake and the first to catch on to things.  She was the first one to play.  Very aware, very smart.  It sounded great.


She has an umbilical hernia.

In fact, the breeder said that this was the dog she had wanted to keep, except that the hernia made her unsuitable for breeding.  She says that the hernia can be fixed at the same time as a dog is spayed and that it's not an issue for someone who's not going to breed the dog.

So, we are tentatively going to get this puppy.  I've called the vet, emailed Grace, read lots online, and I am rather stressed about the whole thing.  It can be caused by trauma or can be inherited.  Some say definitely pass on a dog with one.  Some say it's a sign of a bad litter--stay away from the whole batch.  Others say it's no big deal at all, and may even go away on its own.  So right now I don't know what to do.  Maybe we should just take one of the other girls.  I'm sure they'd grow up to be lovely dogs.  But this one seemed special somehow.  The jury is currently out.  Chances are good we're getting a puppy (we put in a deposit), we're just not totally sure which one.  Here's a quick peak of what we MIGHT bring home next weekend:

Cutie, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment