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First-Time Puppy Daddy
by Nick Nebelsky
I am a new Puppy Daddy. This blog is about all of my experiences learning about, teaching, and loving my new puppy.
Episode 1: A New Puppy in our Future?
Episode 2: How it Went Down
Why did my wife keep thinking about it? Alas she had lunch with a friend who told my wife that she had three dogs and what made it really easy was bringing in the puppies while there were other dogs in the house. She told my wife that NOW was the best time to get a new puppy while Max was still alive. Max could “show him the ropes, the lay of the land” so to speak. Hmmm, I did question her. I knew what she really wanted was to have a therapy dog that we could take to the hospital. We already volunteered there one day a month brining Holy Communion to the patients. And the more she learned about the therapy dogs, she vowed that our next dog would be trained as one. Now let’s back track a little here. Ever since I’ve known my wife, going on eight years, we have always wanted to live overseas for a bit, travel to our heart’s content, yadda yadda, yadda. So how does a new puppy fit into this scenario? I don’t know. But how do you convince a woman not to get a puppy, especially when it’s a black lab? I mean have you seen these guys? Yea, expressive eyes that melt your heart. AND since she had already told our daughter that we were “thinking” of getting one, it was too late. It was going to happen.
Episode 3: Meeting Beau for the First Time
April 4th, 2018
We drove nearly three hours from our home down a dry, stone-covered road to get to the breeder’s farm. As we drove up to the property, we spotted a wire-fence filled with three little yellow labs. I wanted to grab one right there and take it home! Our goal for today was to meet the puppy we would be adopting and then meet his parents. We settled on another boy dog because my wife read that male puppies tend to be more affectionate than females because females are very protective and aren’t needing attention like males are. My wife has a history with this breeder because it’s the same one where we got our current black lab, Max. This wasn’t my first time around a dog breeder so I knew what to expect. The puppies were so cute. They were out there waiting for their owners to come pick them up! We spent little time there so as not to form a bond with a puppy we would not keep. “That’s what our puppy will look like when we come back again to get him, “ my wife said with glee. They were all so dang cute. The breeder opened the front door and out came an older woman who looked like she just walked off a Norman Rockwell painting.
She invited us in and in the middle of the living room was a blanket and another wire fence surrounding three more puppies. She picked up the fence, reached down and grabbed our new puppy. I’ve been around a lot of puppies, but never one this small where I got to hold it. His eyes were still shut, and he made these cute pig grunts as he sat on my forearm. His nose was so small, it hadn't even started to develop yet and so his nose was pushed up into his face. I told my wife to take a video of me holding the puppy. He was amazingly small at that time.
Afterwards we walked outside and met his father and mother. His father was standing proud, very quiet, with a beautiful golden-white face. He looked very young. The mother was a lot shorter than the father and was still nursing. This was her first litter. She was a wild child running around us so fast as if the house was on fire or someone was chasing her. Was that a trait the puppy would pick up? Only time would tell. I hope not. I must admit it did raise some red flags in my mind. But to be honest, I just thought she was a little spooked and was looking for her puppies. Why do I even bring it up? You'll meet the Tasmanian Devil later!
It's hard to judge a puppy at that stage because he's so small and just sits in the palm of your hand grunting like a pig. Our oldest dog, Max also has a grunt when he's happy; especially when I scratch his back near his tail. I know he's happy because he makes those noises. I guess our new puppy was very happy to see us.
Inside the modest farm house was a blanket, and a movable wire fence. And three little roly poly puppies. They were real chubbies. Only three in the litter meant there was no fighting for nipples, no one left out of breakfasts, lunch, and dinner! Yes, plenty of food to go around. And it showed. They were so cute, eyes still not opened yet. And that’s when I picked up the one we wanted, the black male lab. My wife read that it was better to get male puppies because they tend to be friendlier than females. And since this was the only black male, this one was probably going to be the one. We didn’t have a name picked out for him and went back and forth on a series of names. And then we were playing an online trivia game and the host’s name stood out to us. His name was Beau which means Handsome. Yea we tried lots of names and nothing seemed to fit as well as Beau. The kids started saying, let’s call him Bowie. Well we do call Max, Maxie sometimes so I guess that would be allowed. So we had a name, all we had to do was leave a deposit and he would be assigned to us.
He has the temperament of a wild stallion running around the farm and yet he doesn't really bark all that much. He's fiercely determined and is relentless. I hope that once we train him for agility training that this will be a great trait to have when he's maneuvering the obstacle courses and other races. I also liken him to a speed skater on the ice. He gets low to the ground and is a little speed demon! In my next blog, I'll discuss the Adoption and pickup. I hope you'll join me on this wonderful, crazy, and mind-numbing adventure!
May 4th - The weekend prior to picking up Beau, we decided to drive to Los Angeles for the weekend. It was 9 hours to get there, 7 hours to get home, and since I did all the driving, I was exhausted. The next day we had to meet with the breeder to pick up Beau and that was another 6 hours drive the next day. Thank God our daughter was with us visiting from College. She was in Beau mode and spent the next two days getting to know him. I have some great photos of her with Beau and another yellow lab that was also being picked up that day. We spent a good hour at the breeder playing in the yard while waiting for all the paperwork to get signed and such. When you see Beau's eyes, it's very easy to fall in love with him and our daughter took to him immediately!