One of the most common questions I am asked is, ‘How can you bear to part with the pups?’
I want to reply, ‘It’s easy!‘ but the seeming insensitivity of the reply puzzles me and would likely shock the asker. Yet more accurate still would be to reply, ‘It’s my pleasure!‘ which unfortunately carries an even stronger message of coldness towards the innocent little joy-bundles who have been in my care (!)
I have had plenty of opportunity over the years to examine why it is I feel this way and, as odd as it sounds, I am perfectly at peace with these feelings. So I thought I would expound here.
Not my pups
From before conception I am always aware that these pups are not my pups. They are the canine mums’ pups to begin with and then the human families’ pups from 8 weeks of age onwards.
I am just the lucky person who orchestrates the process. I witness the adoration the bitches have for their babies and – at the other end – I see this adoration carried on and spanning the very many years with the human families.
Plus of course I love the puppies too. Who couldn’t? I marvel at their development, their little baby steps to independence from mum, their funny ways and the emergence of their little personalities.
And they are seriously so funny at times. Like when they first develop their little barks, at about five weeks of age. Out of the blue, you hear a high pitched little ‘err-ruff’ from a litter that had previously been one of gravelly little rumble noises. What’s really cute is the look on the face of the puppy when they create those first few barks: they give themselves a fright! Before long that characteristic puppy curiosity takes over and soon they are enthusiastically practising their new found talent.
As I type here at my desk in the doggery, I can hear the occasional squeak of a plastic toy. Experience tells me this will be met with great surprise by the perpetrator, who will be unsure of his role in this most unusual happening. It will only take a few more accidental squeaks during play for puppy to make the connection and realise he is causing the squeak.
I love too the way that they adore humans. What a creature: the dog! Upon weaning from mum they run to my hand, adoring your every touch. They look you directly in the eye, as though they want to understand you and have you understand them. They expect to communicate. They request that communication, from the age of four or five weeks onwards.
And who can go passed the joy of the pups coming into the world? The first tiny noises of new life, successfully-arrived. Those three weeks of their silent dark world, when eyes and ears are yet to open. It’s the snuffly slug phase; a darling little blob sniffs and senses this strange non-mum animal that raises them high and snuggles them into their animal warmth with hot potatoes and cuddles.
Best of all, I think, is the utter integrity and honesty that bowls me over. I marvel and I draw strength from the trust and purity of motive of pups and parents alike. Dogs have a lot to teach the human species in this regard. They humble us, I believe, and we are richer for dwelling with them.
Next phase – enter human parents
In no time at all, my role and the bitch’s are finished. We have nurtured this baby to rudimentary independence and it is now time for them to venture out to be with their family; people who will love and protect them for the rest of their lives.
The love of these families is palpable, in most cases well before they have even met the pup. I am in no doubt that the people taking this pup are going to imbue puppy with all love and care humanly possible.
With such knowledge, how can I be anything but thrilled that puppy is progressing to his forever home? Plus both owners and I have the understanding that if for any reason life deals a different plan, I will take this dog back – at any age.
The best way to illustrate the owners’ role is their own words. Here I share a bit of what I experience as a breeder with every precious litter. To do this in a representative manner, I will publish some of the communications between me and the most recent litter to go, just a few days ago.
Owners’ inject their magic
Let’s start with Mowgli. A little black & tan boy keenly awaited for many weeks by his parents in Western Australia.
For this I have chosen the two videos kindly sent through by Jamie and Sarah. Please bear in mind these videos are taken at the end of a 14 hour day for puppy, departing the farm at 6am and arriving with his family on the opposite side of Australia some 12 hours later.
And his talent knows no bounds!
Then there’s Monty. His family in Queensland has had a sad time of it lately; bitter sweet, as one loved dog passes and another arrives.
Michelle is happy for me to share this with you.
Michelle, arrival plus one day: