Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Pupppies are in the air! Congratulations! I chose my golden, Bailey, that way - of all the fat little puppies, he was the one who waddled over to sit in my lap and get to know me. Murphy was an arranged "adoption" on the breeder network, and so is our new little boy, who also has no name. I agree, his name will reveal itself when he's home - we're just trying to develop a short list, because Girlchild is infamously indecisive. :-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:21 AM  

YAY! I haven't had a chance to respond to your e-mail (training folks at work) but I'm so excited and happy for you! What a lucky little chubster to get to go home with Bess & BD! (How do I get that gig???)

Sounds like BD puts the troops through the same tests they use to decided if a dog can continue service (for the blind/handicapped/law enforcement/armed forces/search & rescue) dog work.... it works for them, do you deserve any less of a dog??? I think not.

HUGS! Can't wait to come visit this summer and meet the new little lover!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:05 AM  

Joining in praise of dogs -- from a Cat Person! Dear heart, I grew up with both. All our dogs were mutts; all our cats, strays who found us and stayed. Love 'em both, but live in the city, and won't have a dog here -- not the kind I like, anyway -- a rollicking lab, or collie/shepherd cross, or beagle/poodle cross -- the ones I remember as a kid. Nope. Gotta have a country place or small town with lots of green spaces for 'em to run.

A cat, now, that's different. We are owned by a Himalayan cross named Fred (came with the moniker) who knows on which side his bread is buttered, and therefore sticks to me like glue! But I love him dearly, and know that most days, he's the only one who truly understands me!

Best wishes for happy years to you and BD and Your Chubby White Pup! :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:18 AM  

Oh, a cubby white pup. I'm sure he's adorable stumbling and frolicking around in a way only a puppy can. Hopefully, it will be a quick week for you so you can bring your new little guy home!

I'm a cat lady and love my two crazy kitties. They still act like kittens.

By Blogger erica, at 11:05 AM  

Wa hoo & hot dawg! Lucky little doodlebug to be coming to the home of the Ds. Look forward to hearing more about him & meeting him someday ^..^

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 AM  

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Monday, April 18, 2005  

Sunday brought us perfect wedding anniversary weather; blue, gold, bright and mild. Not too different from a wedding day 31 years ago. We lolled about taking our time; a little breakfast, a little talk, a sweet breeze coming through the open door. But it was impossible to really just loaf. There was too much excitement between the both of us - Puppy excitement. Perhaps before we even went to bed that night, we’d have a little furball all howling and growling in the bathroom. We went through the Sunday paper, finding most of the pet adds a little confusing - labs, ready for Christmas? In April? What is this? Are they trained hunters? Nope. Just owned by folk who are long range planners.

We had a heck of a time getting anyone on the phone, but one number, a local one, had 10 new black pups - lots of males and ready to leave home in 3 weeks. Another owner lived 150+ miles south but she had both parents and grand parents of her litter and yes, yes, she had several black males, all 5 weeks old. A third fellow, on the south side of Richmond, about half way between the two, had one black boy left. And this one was 7 weeks old and ready to go home that afternoon. So we hopped in the car, armed with newspaper and DeLorme’s, and started our puppy quest.

What is sweeter than a bundle of puppies, shiny black as midnight in the rain, sleek, soft, and nestled on sweet emerald grass? The owner was an old little league teammate of LD’s. The mother was the perfect blend of friendliness and protectiveness. She got between me and her pups, pushed me gently, but steadily away with her shoulder, but immediately obeyed when her owner called her off. We lifted out the two biggest boys and set them on the grass outside their little pen. Waddles and tumbles, grunts and squeals. The yard was full of it. Mama had stopped nursing them a week earlier, their sharp needle teeth proving more painful than she was willing to put up with.

BD asked about the father and they pulled out the cutest photo - Papa, proud black boy, from across the river, in full hunting pose. Honestly - any one of those babies would be a treat and they’re close enough that we could go over and pet them while they matured, but I could sense that BD was just not ready to commit to any particular one. I suspected he really wanted to drive all the way to Southside VA, and since it was a pretty day, and our anniversary, well, why not?

So with a lingering stroke of a furry back, we drove off. It was well past 3 when we got to South Richmond and we had to twist and turn through 1980’s suburbs to find the house, but we got there in the end. There were only 2 pups left, and the boy was really not interested in us. He was happy enough to be held and petted, but if you put him down, he went off and flopped on the porch, his back to the strangers. Even his owner commented that the little fellow wasn’t doing much of a sales job. And again, I could sense this pull on BD. He wanted to drive south.

Keyesville is below the Notaway River, but not as far south as the Meherin - not quite on the North Carolina line, but not that far from it either, in Charlotte County. That’s 9 counties and a big fat city away from the banks of the Rappahannock. It’s a fairly low land down there, though we were a little west of the really swampy parts, into the first rolling hills of piedmont Virginia. Lots of pine trees, very few towns, and, once beyond the Amelia County line, we were out of the suburban sprawl too. Nary a vinyl village on the landscape. Just long straight roads, like ribbons shaken out across the landscape.

The Dirks live at the end of a dirt lane, not too different from ours. They have far better grass than we do, but I am grass cursed. I seem fated to live in a dirt pile. This time of year there are buttercups to make things look a little green, but once their season is passed, we have to beg even the dang wiregrass to spread across our lawn. The Dirks' have dogs. They breed Labrador retrievers. They love them, nurture them, and carefully breed them for size, color and conformity. Mr. D hunts his favorites. Mrs. D keeps every bit of genealogical information in her files. And they had puppies. Three litters!

We are dog people. We have never gone more than a month or two without one. I have two sooners right now, drop-off dogs who came to live with us and fill our hearts with joy. But life without a Labrador is really no life for me. We’ve owned 4 Labs and we’ve had two litters born here on the flats, out of our first Lab, Tru(e). In the first litter was a big whitish yellow lab, fat and rolly polly, with a face to melt my heart. I can’t tell you why a certain dog will speak to you while all the others are merely beautiful, but that big white male spoke to all of us. We sold him and to a good farm life. But we have always regretted him moving out of our lives. When Poky died we knew we wanted to replace him with another male and BD wanted a Black Lab. His heart was the most broken of us all, that sad Christmas 9 years ago, and I can love most any Lab. That’s how IkeTheDog came to live with us and obviously, that was how it was supposed to be.

But this time around, though I was mostly looking for black boys, I really wasn’t locked into a color. And at the bottom of that Charlotte County dirt road was another fat white boy pup - and - yup. He walked into my heart. I believe I knew the moment I saw him that he was the one. I really couldn’t look all that hard at the others, though goodness, they were all magnificent dogs. His dad was a huge stocky blocky male, named Styx, after the river in mythology. His mother was a slender midsize girl with very sweet manners. And he was just what I was looking for. I let BD spend as much time as he wanted with all the other cute puppies. There were beautiful chocolate labs, some dark golden ones, a couple of bright yellow ones, but Big Whitey, Big Champion, Tub-a-lard - well. There really was no other choice.

BD talked. He walked around. He tested several little black boys. He would walk away then call the pup. If it followed he’d walk up to it. If it ducked and ran away he’d say "This one is not bold". If it ran towards him he’d say "that’s a bold fellow" in the sort of approving voice that told me he had his favorites. My white boy passed the test - with enough boldness to satisfy BD. In the end, as the cool of evening crept out of the woods, he said "that’s the one you want isn’t it?" Yep Yep. That one is mine.

We left a deposit. It was so hard to leave him one more week, but both BD and I really do believe a puppy needs a certain amount of time with his litter. But not too long. We discussed it all the way home, but I really already knew - just as soon as my program at the library is finished on Saturday, we are going to be in the car heading south again. I want all of Sunday to play with my big white boy.

We haven’t got a real name for him yet. He has to be here, at his own home, before he can reveal his true name to us - not so different from how a cat does. No point in giving him a name that’s not really his. So we’ll keep him overnight. We’ll take him out into his brand new doggy world on Sunday, along with Aunt Priss and Aunt Socks. He will find the marshes, and Jacob’s Gut. He’ll get to see where the snake likes to wind into the tree branches to wait for tasty meals. He’ll get a boat ride. He’ll snuggle on the BigBed. And sometime on Sunday he’ll tell us his name.

And then I will tell you.

posted by Bess | 8:56 PM