Thursday, June 30, 2011

Libie (the former Miss Lime) Comes to Visit!

♪ ♪  We're doing Camp Esherick again...

Yup, we have a canine visitor for the next two weeks while said canine's humans are on vacation. Here she is, twelve-week-old Libie (pronounced Libby), the only pup from Elsie's last litter with the yellow coat, formerly known as Miss Lime:

What a cutey-puhtootie!

Surprisingly, Libie seemed to  "remember" us -- or at least saw this place as strangely familiar. She recognized Elsie right away (lol... went straight for Elsie's teats!).

Libie was, of course, a bit timid when she first arrived, and she missed her humans when they left (she trotted around looking for them and whimpering a little). But she gradually settled in. Lots of love and playtime with Grandpa Don, Grandma Joan, Uncle Daniel, and Momma Elsie helped, as did a few other things (not the least of which were food and ice cubes!).

She learned that she has her very own food/water bowl here (any place with food, water, and ice cubes can't be that bad!):

She discovered she can nap next to her bowls here just like she does at home:

That said, Libie did still have a pouty moment or two when she missed her family, especially for her first few hours here:


But playing with Momma Elsie proved to be an invigorating distraction:

It was fascinating to watch Libie go from being a sweet-gentle-people-oriented-low-key puppy to becoming a full-fledged nearly adolescent canine in all-out-romp-mode while playing with Momma Elsie (who, btw, has the patience of a saint!):

Water provided another fun distraction. Libie has a "real" pool at home where she can actually swim. Here, the wading pools will have to do, and (in a pinch) there's always the water buckets:

If she gets really bored, she can always wait on the top of the steps to pounce on unsuspecting Kenya:

Or she can play hard-to-get with Elsie:

All-in-all, it's going very well.  And it's great fun to see one of Elsie's pups again. Libie will be with us for just two short weeks (which, I'm sure, will feel like forever to her family), so we'll have plenty of adventures to share.

Many thanks to Libie's family for allowing us the privilege of enjoying their "little girl" while they're away. She'll do just fine!

Next up: what's happening with the regular canine crew. We have lots to tell!

Until then,

Sunday, June 05, 2011

And Then There Were None: Master Green Finds his Forever Family, Too

Well, we are officially puppy-less now (if you don't count one-year-old Chessie and three-year-old Tuc!).  Master Green found his forever family, and we couldn't be more pleased.

He's entering a loving, experienced-with-Labs PA family that includes his new human mom and dad, three teenage girls, and their lovely five-year-old-in-need-of-a-buddy yellow Lab (a new big brother of sorts, which will be wonderful for Master Green).  The placement seems perfectly suited for humans and canines alike.

Here's Master Green (new name as yet undecided) with his new humans:

This pup is going to be loved to pieces and trained very well, and (truth be told) I could never have let him go if I wasn't absolutely convinced of the "rightness" (if you will) of the fit for him and his new humans. I'm tickled both for Master Green and his family. It's all good.  It's all very good.

So, the pups have found their fabulous forever homes, and we've reclaimed our deck, our kitchen, our time, and (finally) our sleep -- but only as much as six canine critters and  "normalcy" will allow. It's not a bad trade. But we'll miss the little guys.

We do, however, get to hold on to the satisfaction of knowing we did all we could to give these pups a solid start in life. To boot, we've experienced the joy of watching them whelped, of seeing them develop, of loving and nurturing them, and of raising them through their first two months of life -- a privilege for sure, and one we treasure and carry with us. 

And let's not forget "puppy therapy."  Indeed, "there is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."

I would add "there's also no joy like watching a puppy you've raised lick the faces of his new humans, knowing all too well the the mutual delight they're going to find in each other for years to come."  When it's right, it's really right. And it is so for all of this litter's puppies.

That makes the letting go manageable. I could never do it otherwise.

So it's all good.  And now we're back to our life with six Labs and even more life lessons for them to teach us.

And so it goes.

Until next time,

Friday, June 03, 2011

Nine Weeks Old: Curiousity and Caution

Here's our handsome Master Green, now officially nine weeks old. Yes, that's a dry-puppy-food-crumb goatee you see there; I interrupted his dinner last night to take this shot.

Like all nine-week-olds, Master Green is inquisitive, but he's developing more caution. Puppies move into a fear imprint phase between nine and twelve weeks of age, so it's a tender time for him right now.

We continue to be impressed with these pups' intelligence and trainability (Momma Teece, Tuc has done you proud!). Master Green (and Master Yellow when he was here) figured out very quickly how to ask to be let inside (where it's cooler since we have AC indoors). And both pups took to crate training and housebreaking well (with only mild protests). Master Green consistently sits on command now, waits on command, sits automatically for his food and ice cubes, and is quite eager to learn. He's a joy to work with.

He occasionally has his moments of appearing to be an old soul -- pensively watching the world go by.

Low-key and easy-going, he doesn't seem like a nine-week-old. I admittedly forget sometimes.

He seems to be developing a nice blend of desire to please and people orientation, but also a contentment to be on his own.  I'm probably growing way too fond of this little guy. If we felt we could keep him and still do him justice, we would in a heartbeat. It's going to be very difficult to let him go, but we know it's best for him and will give him a greater likelihood of reaching his potential.

Nine weeks old is also still time of discovery. But not every discovery is a fun discovery! What Master Green failed to realize when he stuck his head in the bucket was that this particular bucket is the poo-patrol bucket (where DH collects the poo from the yard when he's on poo-patrol).

It didn't take him long to decide not to go any farther with his bucket exploration.

Oh, but there's a big world beyond the bucket just waiting to be enjoyed (and it's safe because Daddy Don is close by!).

Master Green on patrol.

And spotting Momma Joan with the camera.

There he is; the old soul again.

Perhaps his favorite discovery this week is a bit of cheese wedged inside a bone. Though our dogs don't ever get table food, we do occasionally use cheese as a treat or training incentive.  It appears Master Green will be quite cheese motivated.

Sweet, silly, smart, adorable, snuggly little boy: he's going to make a fabulous addition to some forever home someday (hopefully sooner than later, or I'll be hopelessly attached!).

A brief update: we've received a few inquiries about Master Green this week, a couple of which for various reasons would not have been the best match (but that we thankfully did not have to make decisions about -- the interested parties came to that realization themselves).

We do have a potential forever-family coming to look at him tomorrow, and we'll see how things unfold then.  In the meantime, I'm treasuring our time with the little guy. No doubt about it (no matter how much I try to deny it): I'm really going to miss him.

Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Thursday, June 02, 2011

And Then There Was One

Well, here they are yesterday, the indomitable duo (who could be quite impish when together -- shown here nabbing my camera strap while I'm taking the picture). They've been doing just fine without their sibs, seeming to acclimate quite well. Both boys have been crate training successfully, too, going nearly six hours at night now accident-free! :)  Such sweet, smart little boys!

We're delighted, however, that Master Yellow has found his forever home now, too (he left us this evening). His new family includes not just his experienced-Lab-owners humans, but a new canine buddy, too (a 2-year-old beagle). The placement seems ideal -- a great match all around, and we're tickled for Master Yellow (as yet unnamed) and his new owners.

No worries about Master Green being lonely, though. He's surrounded by people (here with DFS on the sofa) and the rest of the canine crew (Pinot shown above). And, by temperament, he's quite content to be on his own. He often quite happily lies down by himself (he'll just as happily snuggle, too!).

And being the last to go has its advantages: more room in the pool, for starters.

Until Pinot decides she wants to get in too (look out Master Green!).

The other dogs are quite tolerant of Master Green. Here Pinot puts up with him, even when Master Green thinks he can try nursing!

Having only one pup left also means Momma Elsie can snag a few toys (sometimes more than one at a time!).

And it means loads of 1:1 affection and training time with Momma Joan and Daddy Don.

Oooo... and Master Green is quite happy to relax and enjoy dining at his own pace without having to worry about someone one else coming and sampling his dinner. :)

So it's all good. It's been a little hectic here the last few days, but all is well. And we're absolutely thrilled with the pups placements so far.

Now we just have to wait and see who Master Green's forever family will be. :)

Until next time,