And I stink and haven’t posted pictures! I threw some that I took today in a gallery below, but I sort of hope you don’t look at them. They are completely wumpus because I didn’t even start taking them until it was five o’clock and we were losing the light. The puppies had been with people for three hours, they were wet from their weekly bath, they were sleepy and had no desire to give faces, and I was falling-over tired and could barely focus the camera. So take them for what they’re worth, but they’re not my best or even my middling-worst work. Blech.
My excuse is that we have puppy people or other visitors over almost every day now, and so the good light in the afternoons is almost always gone by the time I have a second to catch my breath. That’s a GOOD thing, because these babies have become total social butterflies and they adore everyone who comes through the door. We’ve also been getting them outside solo, to see how they’re starting to react to people one on one. Some go adventuring and a-sniffing, some strike out on their own and look behind themselves to say “Are you coming with me? It’s FUN!” and some put themselves into heel position and put a paw on your foot and ask where you’d like to go.
We got them out on their six-week birthday, Thursday, which was raw and wet and nasty, and the only puppy who liked it was Milo. Because he rocks. Everybody else (and I did take pictures of everyone, because I know you all will come after me with large rocks and sharp objects if I don’t do an update) looked miserable and like they were sucking in their cheeks and moaning. So you will not get those pictures. Milo just walked over and jumped into my lap and then chewed on me thoughtfully while he got rained on.
If you haven’t yet figured it out, barring a serious conformation flaw showing up in the next two weeks, he’s the one who is most likely staying. My kids are in active and serious rebellion over the fact that we can’t keep two – they are all in love with Ramona – but it’s becoming more and more obvious that Ramona is a performance puppy. And I don’t mean code for “pet,” I mean I can’t keep her busy enough and her brain is prodigious. I think she’d hate the show ring, and I’ve got Juno who is my first priority for serious work if we ever have enough money to do more than play with her. It wouldn’t be fair to add another working puppy to the end of the line.
I don’t think Milo is the best puppy – evals at eight weeks will tell the tale, but I suspect Monster is the pick boy and Handsome George a close second or maybe will flip into first by the time they’re eight weeks. But I think Milo is the boy who has what I need – he’s the right color, that breathtaking head, beautiful front, lots of bone but he’s not going to be large or heavy. And he loves me. I mean REALLY loves me. The rest of the puppies love me in a congenial “I know you; you’re Food!” way; they seem to love their new families as much if not more than us at this point. But Milo turns on and sparkles for me, he follows me around, he’s the puppy in natural heel position. And I love him right back. Since our dogs are not kenneled, having a happy relationship is very important for all of us.
So I guess that’s our news for the week. Otherwise the puppies are thriving and glowing and I am so happy with them I could burst. In very sad news, we had a terrible tragedy three days ago, when Sleepy Chicken, fooled by the fact that all the other dogs love her, walked through the baby gate that keeps them safe and into Bramble’s jaws. The murder was quick and thorough. So Saturday was spent with chicken breeders, desperately looking for a young hen to fill Sleepy Chicken’s place in Honour’s arms.
I think we found her – I told Honour that she had to actually name this chicken, because we always end up calling them something goofy like Shavings Eye because they don’t have names and some crisis happens (like a shaving gets in a tiny chick eye) and then I ask her how the Shavings Eye chick is doing and then we’re sunk. Sweet little Sticky Feet is a prime example. Thankfully we’ve managed to avoid Poopy Butt until now, but I don’t think we can do it forever.
Well, never ask a kid with OCD to name a chicken on short notice. She just looked around the aisle where we were standing in Tractor Supply (where we had gone to buy chicken treats for her) and named her after stuff that was next to us. So please say a warm hello to our new baby hen, who came home, got a hot bath (which she LOVED), was properly pampered and medicated and wormed and treated, and took her place in the puppy photo shoot with complete calm. Her name is Strawberry Lawnmower.