Friday, February 8, 2008

And The Winner Is............

The hotel was nice and I actually was able to sleep. The puppies had worn me out the day before. I got to sleep past 6 AM which is always a treat for me (I get up at 4:40 AM on weekdays). I headed to the farm and arrived just before 8 AM. The owner of the farm has heart problems (which is why he is retiring and getting out of the greyhound farm business) and pays Julio and Olivia to feed the puppies and take care of a few adult dogs. I met the farm owner the day before as I was leaving and he asked that I not take any of the puppies out till after the adults had been fed, turned out, and brought back in. He was concerned that the older dogs would fight or jump the fence if they saw another greyhound outside of the fence. I did not understand this concern since these were adult dogs who had seen plenty of leashed dogs before. I could see fights breaking out if there were loose dogs, but............ regardless, I didn't want to break any rules.

No one was at the farm when I arrived and I was not sure if feeding was completed already or not. Since I had to leave at 11:30 AM, I did not want to waste anytime. I pulled out Brook the "B" dog. She was easy to catch and slightly easier to walk this time. I thought she did good considering that I was walking her by herself. I was able to lure her into a sit on a hill side. She rolled a hip and quickly laid down. That concerned me a little since you really want a good sit for competiting in obedience.

After 20 minutes or so, Julio and Olivia arrived. Brook and I met them at the kennel building. They assured me that it was fine to have Brook out while they fed and they brought her a big bowl of kibble and raw meat. She ate almost the whole bowl. They brought out food for the other puppies in large square pans and literally tossed them over the fence. They are allowed to eat as much as they want to at this point in their lives. I decided to put Brook up, but unfortunately I had to walk her away from littermates and food to get to the gate at the other end of the run. She was quite resistant and flailed like a fish caught on a hook. I had to push her much of the way and finally resorted to just carrying her. Through it all, none of the adult dogs cared.

Again the baby gate worked like a charm and allowed me to get in and out with a puppy with ease. Next, I caught the red, "I", alpha female and brought her out of the run. She was huge! She had gorged herself on breakfast and I think ate more than any of the other puppies. She was round as a basket ball. I learned later that they are fasted on Sundays to keep them food motivated when it is hot. If they are fed everyday, they can turn into picky eaters. Fasting them one day per week keeps them sharp and eager to eat. It probably explains why the whole litter was fairly food motivated. I took the "I" dog for a walk and we explored a different part of the farm this time. At one point she resisted and flailed like a fish because she wanted to return to the littermates, but I persisted and eventually she gave in and continued our walk. There wasn't much more I could do with her since she was visiably gorged. I decided to give her 45 minutes to nap and would take her out one more time. Pre-gorge picture on left. Post-gorge picture on right.

I sat on the screened porch with the farm owner. We chatted about greyhound farm life, his retirement, the puppies, and I thought about my choices. Monday morning's evaluation was not much help since there was not much I could do with the "I" dog. Based on Sunday's look, I decided on the "I" dog. I felt they were both equally fantastic and tested very well. Both were friendly and affectionate. In fact, both had poked their heads through my legs to look up at me which was cute. The main difference between the 2 was that the "I" dog was a little more confident and independent which is exactly what I wanted.

I took the "I" dog out one last time to take pictures of identifying marks..... a funky left ear and a scar on her left side. I also wrote "I" on one thigh and "JEN" on the other :-). I hated to put her back, but I was in a rental car and was headed for a seminar in Tampa. We would have to make plans for her later. I wish I had brought at least some Frontline, but I guess another week of fleas will only make her stronger. So with that, I put her away, took a few more pictures and left.

If anyone is interested in a ten month old puppy, there are still 5 or 6 that need homes. I would especially love to find Brook a home that would enjoy training her since I think she would be a lot of fun for that.