Not just any puppies, mind you. Borzoi puppies. Eight weeks old and already a foot tall and a very solid twenty or so pounds each. I think there were at least eleven, perhaps more. They never stood still long enough to count. Teeth and tails and yips and solid bodies full of the promise of impressive musculature, elegantly shaped bodies and the fierce desire to nap whenever possible.
It's not my usual M.O. to go traveling during the Thanksgiving season, but this time I made an exception. I wanted to meet the pups and perhaps bring one or two home with us. So, a road trip to Weatherford, TX was arranged, Belle was tucked into the back seat of the CX-7 and we were off. Six hours later we were up to our knees in pups, meeting and greeting and watching out for the occasional nip. The plan to bring home a puppy with us Sunday was laid aside as the wiser heads assembled there decided that one more month of mom-to-puppy training would be an excellent thing, but we got to meet the pups we're going to bring home in about a month:
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Bathsheba*:
Yes, this little hellion (along with another hellion of the same age from Rita's newest litter, Minnie we think, and sadly I don't have a good photo of her) will be moving in with Belle in about a month. One month to enjoy the peace and quiet. One short month in which the house won't be filled with yipping and barking and puppy growls and that frantic, uncordinated energy that puppies are so very good at spreading all around.
I also have to say that it was a weekend of learning. When I first noticed Jesse at our local AKC sponsored show (entranced by the easy, effortless way he seemed to float across the floor) and spoke to his owner I had no idea what I was setting in motion.
Like Bilbo said, when you set foot out your door you'd better keep your wits about you because you've no idea where the road is going to take you. I certainly didn't know that innocuous "Hello! What kind of dog is that?" would lead me, years later, to a gathering of some serious Borzoi breeders in an office converted to a kennel annex, carefully examining each of a number of puppies for quality. I learned, and I learned, and I learned some more. I learned until my skull felt like it was developing stretch marks, so I slathered on some cocoa butter and learned some more.
Who knew? Who knew there was such a science to it, a strange combination of biology and physics and art? What makes a dog do what it does, what makes it hold it's tail a certain way, what makes one dog more physically sound than another? I'm still a little top-heavy, and my brain still makes sloshing noises when I turn my head too fast, but it was an altogether enjoyable weekend, no doubt about it. Being around teachers who are not only utterly enthusiastic about their subject but willing and eager to teach you is a gift beyond compare, and Mrs. I and I seem to have been taken into the pack in a big way. A simple "Hello" has developed into a whole range of political affiliation (no, not presidental) and quality assurance and above all a whole series of warm, nurturing relationships with an amazing breed of dog.
Here's Belle, moving through the gathered pack of hounds at Aria Kennels. Watching six Borzoi play and chase and run is a truly neat thing. Seeing them all clumped up like this gives you an idea of just how much space they take up, even though they never seem to BE big.
So now it falls to me to get the kennel fences up, the run laid out, and the chicken wire run along the ground to keep the little buggers from tunneling their way out. Still ahead is picking the 'safe room' for them to retreat to, a place to set their kennels. Dog houses. More food. More shows, and who knows, more fame and perhaps a tiny big of fortune. Honestly, who knows where THIS road is going to lead? *g*
The latest upload of both puppy AND adult photos can be seen at Flikr, and I promise there's a few in there that are worth your time, if nothing else for the sheer "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!" factor.
* Not her real name--you see, the naming of registered dogs with good show pedigrees isn't just one of your parlour games. There's a lot that goes into it, bits of which haven't been decided on yet so when she gets her "official" name I'll let you guys know, lest you think I've gone even more over the hill.