After what could have been considered the worst week of my life, stress was mounting. I didn’t think I could take one more thing.
The work on the property was slowly moving along. As we were able to find money, we would put it into getting the property ready to move the camper out, saving the lot rent at the RV park would really help.
One of the best things about this country is Equipment Rental. You can take id and money to a place and rent heavy equipment. You don’t even have to know how to use it! They just let you haul it off for the weekend for the right amount of money, they will even rent you a trailer to haut it with! It is awesome. We rented a Bobcat and cleared a space for the RV, made a little driveway, made a huge mess. It was fun!
The electric pole was going in, giving us power on the property, making things go a bit easier. Living in the RV park was taking its toll. Unknown people moving just outside the room I was trying to sleep in at all hours of the day and night was just unnerving. All the driving back and forth to school, scrambling for money to get by on, going from years of being alone or near alone in the big truck to crowded classrooms and a crowded living space was draining me. And the grief over Bruce, the guilt.
Mom was persistent about getting a puppy. It seemed to mean so much to her, but she wasn’t living in the camper. After a week, I gave in. I took a look at the ad, then made arrangements to go see the litter of Germen Shepherd puppies.
AKC registered from working lines, this was an accidental breeding. The sire was only 9 months old, the dam was 18 months. The owners’ children didn’t think the “puppy” was old enough to be able to breed the female. With large breed dogs, this is NOT a good thing. The dogs should not be bred until they are at least 24 months and their hips are certified sound. But what was done, was done. Cautious about breeding mills, I was relieved to be invited to see the litter at their home. When we arrived, the owner was just getting home, his dog in the pick up with him. He let her out and sent her to her kennel run. Well behaved and well trained. It was his daughter’s dog that had the puppies he explained. Bob had come along to take a look, and the owner, Jerry, hustled us inside to see….chaos.
The momma dog was in the bedroom with Jerry’s daughter. There were 2 large, plastic wading pools in their living room and they were swarming with puppies. One pool was where they slept, one was where they were supposed to eat. There were puppies that were napping in the food pool, there were puppies using the newspapers laid out to potty, there were puppies wrestling over the edge of the pools, there was one puppy all by himself, trying to pull one of the pools, loaded with puppies, by its edge across the floor. There were children holding puppies, playing with puppies, wiping puppy paws. All in their living room.
This was no breeding mill. I ignored the puppies for the moment and asked to see the parents. The male was young, out in the sectioned off back yard, playing. He was big, long, and lean. Just under a year old. He was suspicious, typical of a GSD, but not unfriendly. He accepted treats and retrieved a toy I threw for him. He played well with the other dogs, had nice legs and was well formed. No alarm bells there, other than his age. Both his parents had good hips, Jerry had the paperwork on them. They brought the female out of the bedroom. The daughter explained that she was a runner, and the female was her partner. The female was looking rough. But she did have 2 pools of 4 week old puppies to contend with. Again, long and lean, well formed. Not social in the least. She tolerated touch without aggression, but was not into making friends. This was not a female I would have bred, Jerry said they were in the process of the same decision when the “incident” occurred. She was spayed shortly after the litter was weaned.
We went back to the puppies. I watched the interaction with the pups, looking for aggression, dominance, submission, shyness, friendliness. Many were already claimed, those were removed from the rest, and I continued to watch. I got down on the floor and waited. They came to investigate, some playfully pulling at my shirt or shoestrings. The little runt who had been working so hard at pulling on the pool had fallen asleep in mid pull. He wasn’t the smallest, but near to it. These puppies were huge.
Bob was playing with a few, I was playing with a few, when the little guy woke up. He stretched and looked around. He bowed up when he saw us and yipped. No fear, just a statement of his presence. He strutted over to us. Bob picked him up to show him to me. The pup had no fear, just calmly looked at us, accepting Bob’s hold easily.
I looked back at him. I fell in love.