Our two litters are 2.5 weeks old already. We have enjoyed talking with several potential puppy owners over the past week. This being our first experience with having our own puppies, we've felt a somewhat unexpected warm-hearted sense of pleasure seeing our puppies future parents choosing and cuddling their new friends and also just hearing their excitement through phone calls and/or texts. We feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful experience with them. To name a couple, Lindsay from KC, Alyx from Maryland, thank you for reminding us why exacly we started this endeavor.
This weeks experiences have lead me to reach back in the file. I remember the day I brought home my first puppy, a Chocolate Labrador. I was 4 years old, riding home with a chubby puppy sleeping draped across my small lap in Dad's old truck. I remember the owner's son bringing Casey out to me and handing him to me...I could barely carry him as I was so small and Casey was so chubby. 33 years later I still remember what the house looked like where we went to pick him up, driving home, seeing Mom walking down Main Street getting her daily exercise as we pulled into town and stopping to show her my best! gift! EVER!! Casey was with me through childhood, he colored pictures (crayon placed between his toes as I moved his paw around on the page), wore clip on earrings, dressed up as a girl for Halloween on more than one occasion...a pink skirt and hose were involved. It never failed, he would always end up peeing on his pink skirt (not real lady-like;-). And the hose?...well they were just trashed! Casey knew how to go down the slide at the park and would walk through the playground tunnel. He was great defense at basketball with my neighborhood friends, barking when someone tried to take the ball from me, and would try to nose it away from others. Casey rode on the paddle boat when we were at our lake house, and spent endless hours fetching the ball off the dock and charming us at a game of keep-away. In the winter, my dad would hook him to a sled using a horse harness around his body and Casey would pull me around town when it snowed. One year in the late 80s he and I even made the Smith County Pioneer (look that up if you dare;-)). Casey, nicknamed "Goog" was there for the beauty of childhood. He was also there for me when I lost my dad suddenly in an accident when I was 15 years old. Turns out there are some things even your furry friend can't fix....but Goog sure tried.
Then came the day when my old friend passed on at the ripe old age of 12 years. Helping him to comfort, having my mom there to help me do that, and then having to move on. You see, it was not only that I was saying good-bye to my old friend; I was saying good-bye to childhood, and I was being forced to say good-bye to the gift my dad (who was now also gone) gave to me. It took me over a year to find my next friend, Jonny, a beautiful Golden Retriever. I was 17 years old when I took a car load of some of my best high school friends in the Camaro on a 2 hour road trip to pick him up. We arrived at the farm and the woman carried Jonny out to me. He was big b/c he was the last to be picked (maybe 11 weeks or so) so she gave me a $20 discount (she didn't need to reduce price to convince me he was my puppy). The family owned the mother and the father. The mother was an almost red in color, long haired beauty. She was calm and polite. The father could not be found...until he was, and he sounded like a heard of elephants running through the house. He put on the breaks once he hit the tile floor in the kitchen, just before he crashed into the side of the refridgerator. There was nothing polite or calm about this fella...but he was kind and enthusiastic and his hair looked like he had stuck his paw in a light socket, but he was beautiful. Looking back, maybe his entrance is why I saved $20, ha! Jonny spent the car ride home seat hopping from one friend to another getting cuddled and lovings every minute. That night, and every night after, he slept in my room. He chewed up my stuffed Scooby Doo his first night...guess he figured he might as well get that out of the way so his place was known. Jonny lived to be 13 years. Jonny was there when I finished out high school. I couldn't go to certain colleges b/c there were places you just couldn't take a 100lb Golden Retriever, and I certainly wasn't going without him. He traveled with me to three different colleges, was my companion as I worked toward my Bachelor's degree, and then my Master's. When parties were held, Jonny was known for his bead wearing (he was such a good sport). He was there when I got news of my first teaching position. And he was there waiting for us when we brought home our son. I had just turned 30 years old. He lived a few more months. Ol Jondog has never been replaced.
If you have read down to this point, thank you for listening. These are some memories I haven't thought about in a long time. There is much more happy than sad....and traveling back in time was good for the soul. I see the gift the individuals who sold me my friends gave to me. I feel blessed that we are in the position to pass that gift along.