Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More puppy pondering

I finally decided to email the German Shepherd puppy breeder a second time. It had been one week with no contact from the person. One of my biggest pet peeves, in this easy bake tech world, is when people don't respond to emails. In my opinion, there's really no good reason not to answer when you've been asked a direct question or two. While I do understand emails get lost, or don't make it to their destination, or are over looked, I can be impatient. Email is quick. Just a few lines will suffice. Are you reading this my dear adult sons? No, probably not...

Oh, so back to the puppy inquiry. The dear lady emailed me back and apologized for the misunderstanding and invited us to meet the remaining pups. She said she really thought she'd gotten back with me. Well, I can be understanding about that since I find myself thinking about doing something, think I did it, only to find out, oops, no I hadn't. Life over 50 is full of those kinds of moments. So, that whole email issue has been cleared up. Thank Goodness!

As of today, my husband and I will be planning a trip to see the remaining pups on Saturday. It's a bit of a drive for us so it'll be a day long adventure. The reason I'm so intent on these particular pups, from this particular breeder is because they raise "Old fashioned, large, straight back, family friendly, German Shepherds", as advertised on their website. I don't want a show dog and I just don't want a dog from show stock. These particular German Shepherds are bred for the old fashioned kind.

 I have looked around for Shepherds in our area but so far, the ones I've found are from show stock. There are some breeders out there who do raise the old fashioned stock, but they're not necessarily that easy to find. When I found this one, in our state, I had to research them more. What I've found, I've liked. I realize the internet can be dicey, but when this lady invited us to see her pups, at her place, I was pretty sure I'd located the right people to find the right pup. Of course, we're just going to "look". Let me just say that every time we've ever gone to just "look" at something, the next step is bringing it home with us. Although, these pups aren't ready to come home, that will come in a few weeks if one decides to pick us.

My husband is on board with this puppy project. We talked about the commitment we'd be making this past weekend. We want this pup, should we choose one, to be raised as a companion/guardian dog to the two of us. We're planning to train like we've never really trained a dog before. This dog will become part of our household. In the past, our dogs have lived outdoors. We live in the country and have plenty of acreage. I still go back and forth on going full speed ahead with this whole thing because I know it will change a lot of things around here, but sometimes, it's good to shake things up a little. I don't think our two older dogs, Maggie and Lucy, will have a problem with a new pup coming into the family pack as long as we include them. The horses could care less. Buddy, the cat, may feel uprooted a bit, but he and our GS Xena, got along great. They'd lay together out in the yard. A pup will want to play so Buddy will just have to go to the other end of the house. Yes, we do take our animals seriously and I'm taking this pup as serious as I did my two horses.

This unusually warm end of February is allowing me to have hope for the coming months.I"ve been grooming the horses. Spirit is already starting to shed his winter coat, about two weeks earlier than usual. Both horses can be seen standing out along the fence that divides the front field (their summer grazing field) from the back field (the winter sacrifice field) and seem to be gazing longingly at what they probably think is grass. There is no grass yet. But it's been so warm here, they probably think there should be grass out there by now and they should be out there enjoying it. Still two months for that. I don't let them into the front field until May 1. I don't have much open grass area here in the hills and valleys so I try to conserve as much as possible.

My farrier was out yesterday. He said both horses looked great and their feet the same.They both stood quietly. My farrier said he always likes coming here because my horses are easy to work with especially after working on nine non-quiet horses. Now, my plan to get my horses, and me, back into shape is at the top of my priority list. I've been working on myself for months now, walking, yoga and my stationary bike. Trying to get back the strength and stamina I've lost in the past five years. It's slow progress, but I am feeling some results.

This weekend's goal, checking out some pups that may get to come home with us in a few weeks. I've been looking at supplies we'll need and making lists. Deciding on the room and how to set up the cage. I've decided on crate training. Reading all about puppy milestones and what to expect. It has all reminded me of the times before my sons were born. Getting ready for baby!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Puppy Ponderings

For the past three or four months I've been pondering the possibility of adopting a German Shepherd pup. Both my husband and I miss our beloved German Shepherd, Xena, who passed in 2008 at the age of twelve. She was one of those dogs who was simply a gem. She left paw prints that can never be replaced. But, it feels like the time to search for another gem. We've always admired German Shepherds who are well trained and have a love of their family pack. That's how Xena was, that's what we want to try to do with another one.

 Last photo of Xena, summer 2008

We've both been discussing my puppy project. We have two dogs who were both rescued from abandonment. We love them, but have also been mulling the idea of putting our energies into raising a pup.We haven't had a pup around since 1996 when Xena was abruptly dropped on our doorstep by a grandmother (Hubby's mom) who thought two boys (our sons ages thirteen and eleven at the time) needed a pup, who so happened to need a home. Xena's story, as told by my mother-in-law, was that the people who had Xena's parents had been trying to breed for white German Shepherds but the pups came out black and they didn't want them. Sad. Mother-in-law knew two boys who'd love to have a puppy. Unfortunately, she didn't OK it with us first, especially me. I was not happy. I don't like surprises like that because I take pet ownership very seriously and want to have supplies and living space prepared, which we didn't, not for a puppy. But, that aside, over the years, Xena turned out to be a fine example of what a German Shepherd should be, loving, loyal, playful, courageous, intelligent, all the traits I hadn't seen in some of the GS dogs I'd grown to resent in my adult years. I didn't have a good view of GS because the one my father-in-law had, bit me, and everyone else in the family, plus a few who ventured on to their property, but that's another story. I've since learned a great deal about dog behavior and realized that particular GS had issues my father-in-law refused to deal with until the day the dog died.

 So, I've been puppy pondering. In my pondering I've looked up a variety of information about puppy training and bringing a new pup into the household. It's been a long time since we've had the patter of little paws, with the exception of our live in/out cat, Buddy. I've been considering all the time and extra effort a pup will take and it will be me who'll be the main caretaker/trainer this time around. When Xena came into our family, I was working shift work and honestly don't remember much of her puppyhood. My sons and husband were the ones who bonded with her early on but this time, it will be me. Over the years we've had more than our fair share of rescued dogs and cats so I don't feel a need to go to a shelter this time around, but will keep the option open. Basically, my husband and I have decided we need a big dog on our property again, and we'd prefer a German Shepherd.

Saturday I made a giant leap and emailed a GS breeder in my state. I'd been looking over their website for a while, looking at the parents and puppies from past litters.I've been following them on Facebook as well. I felt they were breeding and raising the kind of GS dogs we were looking for, the old fashioned, large, straight back kind. However, I have yet to hear back from the contact person. It's been six days. This is one of my pet peeves in this tech messaging world and I don't understand why people can't just let someone know one way or another.I had taken the time to write a nice email, explaining about Xena, adding a picture of Xena, and what we were looking for with a few lines about our time with Xena. In my opinion, it's rude not to at least send back an email acknowledging my interest, whether they have any of the current litter pups available or not. I went to the their Facebook page and discovered that, evidently, they will only know after this weekend whether they have any pups left from the litter I was inquiring about in my email. I thought-How nice  (sarcasm),they can confirm a Facebook post by someone on their page but not acknowledge my personal inquiry. Yes, it ticks me off! There were twelve pups in the litter, six males and six females. I was opting for a female. The pictures have been posted on Facebook weekly. The pups are now three weeks old. While they are all adorable, my thoughts on dealing with this particular breeder are waning at this point.

I've decided if one of these pups is meant to be ours, it will be. If not, well, there are always other litters, other breeders, and there's always our local shelter with, undoubtedly, some abandoned big pups of questionable breeding who need a home. I'm not that upset if one of the adorable pups I viewed isn't exactly meant for us, what will be will be. I'm not going to fret over it. I do have a less than respectful attitude toward the breeder at this point, so maybe this just wasn't our time with this particular bunch of pups.

In the mean time, my puppy ponderings continue, but with just a little less enthusiasm than a week ago.