Saturday, August 28, 2010

How It All Began...

My doggie mom, Chaumette, with all of us pups at Week One
I was not my mother's first pick, mes chers.  She was afraid, mostly.  The thought of having a show-quality puppy made her slightly queasy--she hadn't the first clue when it came to showing in conformation.  And since so many MYV dogs did well at the biggest shows in the nation, it would be a tough act to follow.  So she opted initially for Blue Collar puppy, the one advertised as "willing to please."  She didn't feel she deserved me, Green Collar, described in one line by Adrienne: "His head is a thing of beauty."

Blue Collar Puppy...and I am Green Collar:)

Here I am again (the puppy sleeping on its back)
But Susan informed her that she could not pick until the Blessed Day of Acquisition...and that she had second pick for male puppies.  A lady who had turned down a puppy from the previous litter (the pup Elias, who would become the first male AKC Grand Champion) reserved the right for first pick.  Mom was worried, especially when said lady could give no solid indication of when she would come and claim her right.  Mom had a limited number of days in which to pick me up and acclimate both of us to our new living arrangements and couldn't afford to lose a day.  The final agreement was that Susan and company would pick the lady's pup for her and that Mom would get to pick between the two males left on the day she had originally planned to drive to the kennel.
The 13th of December was cold and crisp.  True to form, Mom and her friend Alexa arrived way too early at the kennel and were greeted by more Beaucerons than they had ever seen in their lives--most notably, Sig.  But no people.  Sig's imposing bark kept them in the car for what seemed like forever, and then--Earl!  Earl emerged from the garage to put his two Beaucerons, Cyrano and Sonata, into the car, before he disappeared back into the garage.  Mom skittered off in pursuit, gingerly knocking on the door to tender admittance.  Susan was there, with Earl and Sandy--all watching as a couple went over and over my sisters, trying to figure out which one they would take with them.  Mom and Alexa waited again with their green bag, this waiting even more interminable.  FINALLY, Mom told me, it was her turn and she followed Susan back outside to help collect the boys.  Susan went down the gravel road and Mom stood at the top of the hill, shifting from one foot to the other.  She was very nervous, she confessed later, unsure if she even deserved such a good dog as these pups were rumored to be.  In fact, her journal attests to doubts such as these a good month before she met me.
So lost in her anxiety was she that she was almost bowled over by me (a harbinger of things to come!) and my roly-poly brothers.  I was the first puppy that reached her, mes chers--yet she would not allow herself to be so easily won.  We muddy rapscallion pups were hauled into the garage and set loose.  We commenced our shenanigans, tumbling and barking with admirable ferocity.  The first (Blue Collar, I believe) was plopped onto the table for examination.  I was shoved into a VariKennel with Red Collar.  Between Earl and Susan, Blue Collar puppy was given a pet rating as well as a quick hug and kiss before being returned to the kennel.  Red Collar was released and through the wire door of the kennel, I could see him being offered a multi-colored plush jack by the new lady.  Red Collar frolicked about, tugging and playing.  Mom was impressed, even more so when Red Collar was put up on the table and Earl and Susan evaluated his conformation.  Red was very drivey, Mom said admiringly. 
And then my turn.  When I first saw Mom's green bag, I had no idea that it was like the magical hat in Harry Potter that chooses to which house a new student shall belong.  Mom had brought the Green Bag of Choosing, full of magical toys that she hoped would divine which pup would be best at doggy sports like agility and obedience.  I remember playing a little, licking her a lot...and then getting distracted by dust bunnies.  Mom frowned, wondering about my play drive.  Just as I was hunting down the fattest dust bunny the world had ever seen, I was scooped into the air and came to rest on a high table under a bright light.  Like my brothers, I was a little afraid and kept trying to hunch down instead of sit.  I wish I could say that her hands were magic and that I instantly calmed to her touch, but it was not so.  Earl and Susan examined me and then brought out Red Collar again to compare.  "I think I know which one she wants," Sandy said, nodding towards Mom--whose hands were on Red Collar.  And it was true.  But for Earl's decision that Red Collar would do better as a special, the pup known as En Theos would have been Eperon.  Susan liked me better but deferred to Earl with a laugh, citing that he had a better track record at these things.  Mom felt a crushing blow at the news--that Red Collar would not be hers--but tried not to dwell on it. 
This story sounds rather depressing and not at all like the fairytale anyone supposed, eh?  But it is.  The good we would pick for ourselves is rarely the best good for us, mes chers, and seemingly random events often fall into patterns we can only perceive as destiny later on.  When she reaches this part in my bedtime story, Mom always says, "The moment they wrapped your freshly-bathed backside in a towel and handed you to me, I never looked back.  Once you were in my arms, you were The One.  I never even glanced over my shoulder at the other pups ever again."

And they lived happily ever after.  But you already knew that, mes chers:)

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