Friday, March 23, 2012

Big Day

Tomorrow is the big day. We drive three hours to pick up our eight week old German Shepherd pup. We finally decided on a name, Nina. My husband and I had both, unknowingly, placed the name Nina on our separate name lists. Sunday, I said we needed to decide on her name. We compared our lists. There it was, Nina. Although, I was going for Nena spelling, my husband found that Nina means "mighty" in Native American so he wanted the spelling to remain Nina. I can go for that.

We've only seen pictures of her, and her eleven other litter mates, over these past three weeks. We thought we located her in a picture because she has one brown toe on one of her white tipped paws. In that picture, she was peacefully looking out through her kennel, ears perked in puppy fashion.

While I'm excited about this new challenge, raising a puppy, I'm also a little nervous, but I suppose that's to be expected. We've had lots of dogs over the years. Only two we had as puppies. One, Scottie, a small peekapoo mix, when we were first married and then Xena, our last German Shepherd who passed at the age of twelve in 2008.

I don't think we'll have problems with Maggie and Lucy accepting our little Nina, since she's a pup. I think Maggie may be a little put off, at first, because she's a sensitive dog. But I think she'll come around. Maggie never really liked being the alpha female of the dogs around here anyway. She's always been more of a follower. Wondering how Buddy, the cat, will take to his new housemate. Buddy is ten and set in his ways but he's always gotten along with our dogs. Guess time will tell.

While my mind has been full of puppy thoughts I haven't forgotten my horses. They've been looking so nice this week! Shiny coats and not muddy. The warm, dry weather encouraged me to get out there and brush the winter coats off.  After I get Nina settled into a routine the next couple of weeks, my other mission is working with my guys as well as training the pup. I have a new saddle that I haven't even been able to use on Bo yet.

The next four weeks will be full of change around here and I feel I'm finally ready for it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Naming Baby

So, we took the plunge for a puppy. We'll be picking up our furry 8 week old baby on March 24. We drove up to see her on Saturday. She was 5 weeks old when we met her. It was a three hour drive, but we had never been on those roads so it was actually a nice drive. Hubby said it was an adventure. We're Old School, we use paper maps. We don't own a GPS.

Oh my goodness! She is adorable! Of course, all puppies are adorable at five weeks. She was the last one of a litter of 12, who hadn't been chosen. I figure she was meant for us. That's how I was playing this whole thing and that's how it has worked out. 

The breeder, Rhonda, breeds her German Shepherds for positive personality traits. They are not show dogs. They come from what is referred to as Old Fashioned German Shepherd lines. Working lines. I've never been one to be a fancier of breed specific dogs. The majority of our dogs have shown up as strays and were a year old or more, with the exception of our German Shepherd, Xena, who was plopped on us as a six week old pup. But even Xena was a cast off because she was black instead of white, which is what those breeders were trying to get in their backyard breeding program.

Good experience at the breeder's home. Very friendly atmosphere. Family friendly. Adults and kids around who were playing with the pups to start them in good socialization habits. We met the mom and dad of our baby. They were both laid back, and well behaved.Hubby and I were given our pup to check out. Since she was only five weeks old, she did some squirming but she also enjoyed just being held for a while. She seems to be as laid back as her mamma. We observed her, enjoyed her, for about an hour. We understand she will probably change quite a bit by the time we pick her up at 8 weeks. 

Right now, we're trying to figure out a good name for her. We're referring to her as ?.  When asked what we were naming her, Hubby told someone it's like the singer formerly known as Prince who at one time used a symbol for his name. Hubby and I have scoured the internet for baby names, dog names, lists of names, you name it. I have narrowed the list down to about six that are favorable, with two of the names feeling better than the other four. The name rules: no names ending in y, ie or ee since we have Maggie and Lucy. No names ending in O because of my horse Bo. I looked at my short list and realized all the names I like end in A. The name needs to be short, roll out easily and it has to be something we both like to say, over, and over, and over.

I'm busy getting ?'s new home ready. I'm clearing out some things and getting an area ready for ?'s crate.  I've decided on crate training since this dog is going to be a companion/guardian for us. She will be integrated into our home, something we haven't done with a dog since '82. All our dogs have lived out doors since then. When we first got married we had a puppy we'd gotten from Hubby's cousin. Scottie was a little dog, pekepoo or something along that line. Honestly, I don't remember much about the early training part because I became pregnant with our first son that year and my priorities were more focused on being a first time mom. So, this puppy adventure will basically be something new for both of us. We want to do it right.

Two more weeks from Saturday is a long time, but we'll be able to get lots of things squared away. The ride home should prove interesting and we'll probably make lots of stops. 

I'm excited! New paw prints around the homestead! I haven't been this excited about an event since 2004, when I brought my two horses home. Well, OK, my oldest son's wedding in 2008 was an exciting family event too. I'm looking forward to introducing Maggie and Lucy to their new pack member. It's going to be a lot of work, but it's also going to be rewarding. It will be what we make of it!

                                                               ? at 5 weeks