Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Trip Home

I thought that a puppy might make great blog fodder especially after the exciting movie shoot ended, but now I am too busy to blog. Ha!  Actually, Maddie has been several years in the making.  After doing so well training ex-racers, it was natural to want to start from scratch at some point.  I had considered getting a puppy from an oops litter (accidental breeding at the track), but would find out about litters too late or puppies had to be spayed/neutered before being adopted which is not healthy at such a young age.  I also would like to know the parents.  It is one thing to pick a fully grown adult dog (you know what you are getting), but it can be a roll of the dice with a puppy.... so ideally you like the parents and hope the puppy carries the traits you like in both parents.
Point Breeze Lionheart - Guliver's father
Herb Wells Photo

Several years ago, I fell in love with the Huntington greyhounds bred by George Bell.  He has a decent sized kennel so he has the ability to breed only his best greyhounds.  His greyhounds are shown in the breed or conformation ring, but they are primarily tested on the field in open field coursing.  He only breeds those that excel and stay sound at the sport they were originally designed to do.  His hounds are mostly moderately sized, sound, durable, very athletic, very functional, and gorgeous.
Huntington's Fantasia - Guliver's sister
Herb Wells Photo

However, George breeds so rarely that litters were few and far between.  Plus he is in California so the logistics were tougher and timing never worked out.  Then in October 2009, I met Kelly Fidler at the ASFA Greyhound National Specialty hosted by Southeastern Greyhound Club here in Georgia.  Finally, I would get to meet and see some Huntington greyhounds up close and personal as she owned three of them.
Huntington Ruby Too - Guliver's sister
Herb Wells Photo

As expected, I liked her Huntington greyhounds a lot and was excited to hear that she was planning to breed Huntington's Guliver of Monarch and Huntington's Cleopatra.  I liked them both in person.  I told Kelly that if George Bell blessed the breeding and felt they were a good match that I was very interested and to keep me in mind..... so almost three years later.... here we are.

So Labor Day weekend, Stephen and I drove to Texas.  We were looking forward to seeing Kelly and John since we were friends at this point and we were going to spend a couple of days playing with the puppies.  Unfortunately, the litter was very small (only four puppies) and for a number of reasons, it came down to a  black female.  Her reports were good and as long as I did not see any red flags, I was probably going to take her.
We arrived Friday just in time to visit with the puppies during their evening playtime.  The puppies were eight and a half weeks old and they were all so stinking cute.  None of the puppies showed any red flags.  They all ate the treats I offered and tugged with the toys I brought.  They played with empty coke cans or plastic bottles with rocks in them (in other words, noisy toys).
They wrestled in a baby pool that was not on level ground so it shifted and made a lot of noise as the puppies moved around in it.  All in all, they were all stable, outgoing, curious, and beautiful.  I worked with Maddie on sits and downs and she followed my food lures easily.  By the end of Saturday morning, I had decided I would take Maddie.
On Sunday morning, we let Maddie have her normal playtime with her littermates in the morning.  We wanted to start our 15 hour drive with a tired puppy.  We packed the van and rearranged the crates.  We had already worked with Maddie in her crate the day before so she would not be totally surprised.
I also wanted Maddie to spend time with Riley and Seven since they would be her travel companions when we left.
We left around 10 or 11 AM.  I started Maddie up on my lap.  She was concerned, but exhaustion soon set in and she fell asleep.  As we continued to drive, I slipped her into her crate where she continued to sleep most of the time.
Riley in the background showing Maddie how to roach on the interstate.

All in all, the trip home was safe and uneventful.  Maddie traveled great and after the first nap seemed to forget all about having just left home and her littermates for the first time.  Sometimes she would chew on a bully stick, but mostly she slept which I was very happy to see.  The van can sound rather thunderous on rough roads, but she easily slept through most of the road noise.  At truck stops, we would run her around in an effort to burn more energy so she would continue to sleep.
Stephen and I arrived home safe, but dead tired at 4 AM Monday morning........ with a fully rested and ready-to-go greyhound puppy.  I spent the next two hours playing with her so she would let me sleep for a couple of hours.
And how does everyone feel about the new baby?  Let us ask the gallery...
Seven - "Really?"
Riley - "Not your best idea."
Reagan - "OMG! It is touching me."