25 August 2016
Bringing Up Banksy :: Part 2 of 9.
Picking Out a Puppy
All my friends who understood my obsession to Get Better at Dog Agility kept saying, Why don't you just get a border collie puppy? Border collies are de rigeur around these parts, dime a dozen at our local agility trials. I was all, ha ha ha ha HA. I knew a lot of border collies. They were weird and kept dropping their slobbery tuggy things in your lap and were as big as my whole living room. And needed back yards, not a tiny patch of cement with some dead potted succulents and a collection of thrift store taxidermy smattered around. With sheep. There was always this faint vibe of sheep around the border collie people.
Also my husband had this funny little saying he used to like to say, sometimes. All the time. It went like this.
"We are NOT getting a border collie."
So I didn't even know what kind of puppy I wanted. It couldn't be too big because of our tiny house filled with tiny dogs, and it couldn't be too small because I walk in giant forests where giant coyotes roam. Hypothetical future puppy would love my other dogs and be super fun to train and love agility. And be super cute. And smart. And fit into my VW station wagon. And bring the ball back to my husband instead of running away and hoarding it, Otterpop. I just wanted a cool herding type dog with friendly parents. I was pretty sure I wanted a puppy from rescue, because all my other dogs came from shelters or rescues or the sides of roads, but this seemed a little bit more challenging with my very long list of specific puppy criteria.
Loads of my agility pals had puppies. They were always getting puppies. They'd parade their cuteness around at agility trials, practicing their cute tugging on cute little braided colorful fleecy things. They'd been on puppy lists. They'd flown to international glamour spots like Canada and Denmark and Hungary to pick up puppies. They had puppies sent to them in the cargo hold of planes from Russia and Croatia. They had bred their own dogs with semen shipped on ice from Austria producing entire litters of puppies to choose from out of their living rooms. They knew about pedigrees and breeders and structures and lines.
Oh, I also wanted a black puppy. To match my other dogs.
I called up breeders. I emailed rescues. I visited litters. I texted with friends. So many possibilities, a whole global network of potential puppies. With their pedigrees and lines and structures and questionnaires and deposits. And gossip. My god, the opinions to be had of potential puppies. Dramatic soap operas with tangents involving ancient sheep herding lines, moral dilemmas of mixed breed intermarriages, and ominous whispered warnings of red puppy flags.
My personal puppy vision quest was all encompassing. Being that had important binge watching of Orange is the New Black to do every night, this much research was cramping my style. There were sneakers to buy on the internet. Tacos to consume. Things to draw with pens. So where did I actually go to procure the valued family member who would be with me for very single second of the next fifteen or so years of my life?
Facebook may be a creepy corporate time-sucking surveillance marketing machine poised to take over the world, but almost every single dog agility person on the planet goes on it. A lot. Maybe too much. And just like that, my puppy's breeder posted a little video of an available puppy frantically splashing around in a baby pool, feverishly attacking each and every little water droplet. She had crazy light blue eyes and she wasn't black.
There were texts and phone calls, and then the next thing I knew, I was flying with a toothbrush and my little dog tote bag on a plane to a far off land called the Midwest.
Coincidentally, my best friend Debbie had recently relocated to the Midwest. Indianapolis? Perhaps you've heard of it. I hadn't, outside of the big car race. I felt like I might as well have been going to the moon. On tv, jet setting Beyonce-esque types dashing across airports and hopping on a planes with cute tote bags all tra la la, always look super glamorous. The reality of flying to the middle of the country on the exact same weekend as the giant annual NRA convention with dirt cheap last minute plane tickets involved dark bus rides from long term parking fortresses, sweaty airplanes stopping in a lot of places in the middle of the night, smashed in the center row seating, and bags the size of bellpeppers under my eyes. Exactly zero tra la la.
But still, it was for My Future Puppy! Debbie bought me breakfast, we borrowed a friend's eleven-year old daughter and drove out to the country to meet the baby puppy. True Indiana Facts: David Letterman is from Indiana! Indiana has more miles of highways per square mile than any other state! All the highways ring around Indianapolis and shoot off to four other states and Great Lakes of the North! There are many things built from bricks! Eyebag bellpapers be damned, this actually was exciting and glamorous, visiting a whole new state just to meet a puppy.
One of those highways drove us straight to the breeder's house. The puppy seemed great. Although everything was all a sleep deprived, jet lagged blur. I couldn't tell if the puppy loved me, but I sure do love all puppies. She definitely loved eleven-year old girls.
All of the instructions I'd received from my experts in evaluating the potential puppy? Ha. Basically, here was a teensy, wild puppy, and all she wanted to do was run and play and wriggle out of my arms. I met her breeder and the breeder's fiance and the puppy's mom, dad and brother. All were nice, cute and friendly and looked like they could run fast. The puppy was a purebred border collie and she wasn't black or a rescue. Exactly what I wasn't especially looking for!
I wrote a check, we wrangled her into the car, and I had a puppy.
to be continued...
by team small dog at 5:44 PM