Pick-Up Lines

“Hey, sweet little thing. You smell nice. And your hair’s soooo soft. How ’bout comin’ back to my place?”

Okay, that was bad. Borderline gross, even. Forgive me; I’m tired. And I’ve been out of the blogging habit for so long, it’s tough to get back into the swing of things, especially when little puppies grow so fast and there are so many photos to share! So, let’s talk about puppy pick-up day, shall we?

This was Wolf’s first puppy pick-up day, and he was all grins and excitement. We got to GDA, received our sponsor packet (Did I forget to mention that Jethro is a sponsored dog, like Truman was? Free dog food FOR THE WIN!) and sat in the little room where the puppy department manager torments the impatient raisers with her patented month-long spiel of do’s and don’ts and information and sign-your-paperwork and so on that has to happen before the distribution of the furballs. The puppy kits are really nice; GDA is now giving out branded tote bags with the standard bowl-brush-leash-collars-food-bone-snugglebuddy supplies inside. And one of the “grandmas” of the two litters going home that day made a fleece blanket for each puppy, which was very sweet.

Suddenly, it was time. We stowed our stuff in the car, and brought back just the leash, small collar and blanket (to rub on all Jethro’s littermates so he wouldn’t be so lonely that first night away from them), and followed Louise to the courtyard outside the breeding facility.

Two litters were scheduled to go home — the “H” dogs (lovely little Lab/Golden crosses), and our “J” dogs. All yellow, all the time! We approve.

Wolf's first puppyThe wait wasn’t long. Because I’d done this before, I wanted Wolf to have the experience of taking the puppy from the arms of the giver. I think he wasn’t really sure how to hold the little guy at first…somehow it never crossed my mind to show him the best way to do it, but he figured it out in short order. This pack leader’s a pretty smart guy.

Immediately, I noticed a difference between this experience and my last puppy pick-up day: I could actually pick up the puppy. Not to bash my beloved Truman, but he came out squirming and bitey from day one. It was one big “DO NOT WANT” on his part, I’m pretty sure. But Jethro — while he does admittedly look, in this photo, like he’s seeking an escape route — seemed almost…passive. I was so confused, I almost gave him back and asked where they were keeping MY puppy. “Did you finally give me an easy one?” I asked. The puppy department laughed at me. “Come on, you know us better than that. Just wait ’til the Benadryl wears off,” they said. “We gave this one TWO.”

(I’m sure they were kidding. Please don’t go around thinking — or especially saying — that GDA drugs their puppies, mmkay?)

We know that some of the dogs from both litters are headed to the Washington puppy raiser group, so we don’t know how many J’s there are in total, but we did manage to snap a littermate photo of 5 of the 6 J-dawgs who went home that day (sorry, Jesse, we don’t know where you went!). I was sad that we don’t have any littermates in my puppy raiser group — which is a first for me, as both of my previous boys have grown up with their brothers — but I’m hoping to see some of these folks and their little J-dawgs at upcoming GDA events and puppy classes. Meet (from left to right) Journey, Joey, Jethro, Julep and Jeannie:

They came in several shades of yellow. Bunch of good lookin’ dogs, eh?

The trip home was fairly uneventful, aside from being a bit warm (little did we know it was just the start of a nasty, record-setting SoCal heatwave…but we’ll get into that in another post). Jethro settled in after just a few minutes of whimpering, and slept all the way to Torrance. He had to rest up, of course. He was about to meet his predecessor, role model, shuffle buddy, and career-changed “big brother” Truman.

Truman is always supremely happy to see other dogs (I sometimes wonder if he would have eventually become too dog-distracted for guide work, even if he had passed his medical and continued in training, but since that point is more “what if” fodder than anything else, we’ll move on). We figured out a game plan to introduce them without overwhelming the little guy, who probably had to pee something fierce after the long trip down the 405, or overwhelming the big guy, who probably had to pee something fierce after waiting for us to come home. While Wolf took Truman out the front door to do his business, I’d sneak Jethro through the garage and upstairs onto the balcony, where he could do his.

"Who is this, and why is he piddling on my balcony?"

We’re using the balcony because our back yard isn’t really set up for dogs yet; there’s a lot of unfriendly plant life and crevices full of spiders and random gardening stuff lying around. So Truman does his business in the front of the house, on leash, which has worked just fine for us so far. Unfortunately, though, both front and back are plagued with a variety of wandering critters: squirrels, opossums, raccoons, the occasional feral cat, and (my favorite) skunks. This renders either yard option quite inappropriate for teeny puppies who haven’t yet received their full course of vaccines. Thus, balcony piddling it is. Good thing it’s a sealed surface, with a handy garden hose nearby, because we will be doing this for the next two months. (Eight weeks. That’s a long time….)

The introductory sniff went well. Tails both great and small were wagging, and we had to get a good grip on Truman to keep him from shuffling wildly in the middle of the living room and running the poor little fella down. Truman even shared his big-dog bed for a while…until Jethro attempted to…assert his tiny dominance. (And this is where I let out a sigh for poor Truman, who for all his early puppyhood bravado and attempts at destroying all humans, somehow manages to end up every dog’s girlfriend. Sorry, dude. Let’s just hope this is merely youthful exuberance on Jethro’s part.)

The boys got to know each other a bit, Jethro rolled around on the floor looking freakishly cute and cartoony, and there were many trips (dozens? thousands?) to the balcony. There are always accidents, of course, because as vigilant as I am, I am never quite as fast as the first few drops of piddle on the carpet. And Wolf is new at this; it takes a while to get used to the “puppy’s about to go RIGHT NOW OH NO IT’S TOO LATE” signs. Doesn’t help that Jethro is more of a “stand and deliver” guy than a “squat if ya gotta” guy.

Before bed, we played some “name game” with him to get him used to being called Jethro, and to wear him out. Looks like it worked. On everyone.

Did I mention we’re tired?

The first night went fairly well. He did get us up about three times to do some balcony business (cold hose water on your bare feet is decidedly non-awesome at three in the morning, by the way), but he didn’t have a problem being in the kennel as long as the rest of his pack was also in the room. And he had his snugglebears toy to cuddle with, and the blanket we’d rubbed on his littermates.

I wonder what he dreamed about that night. I dreamed happy dreams, of being able to sleep in again someday.

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5 responses to “Pick-Up Lines

  1. Wonderful! Made me tired just to read about it. 😉

    At Canadian Guide Dogs in Manotick, they bring the puppy to the puppy raiser. Interesting difference.

  2. Kimberly & guide dog Abby

    Sounds like everything is moving along as it should. Hope you guys get to catch up on sleep soon.

  3. Look at his wittle face!!! He looks like he’s going to be a fun puppy!!

  4. Tuk & Jack's Mom

    I LOVE!! the new baby.

  5. Pingback: Heat Wave | LabradorRodeo

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