Dear Edith, Echo and Elliot,
Thank you for posing for pictures tonight. Maybe tilt your chins up a bit. It was a pleasure.
Seriously? Must you try to engage with our other dogs in the yard as well as that squirrel on the branch while we try to snap your picture? And be so excited about the dog howling two doors down? We know you can hop and twist, clever boy…but can it wait? How charming that you love to leap into my arms, too; hold that thought, and just sit nicely for a fraction of a second.
Love to you all,
At her puppies’ seven week mark, Bella is still not opposed to an occasional nursing session. Yes, they have emerging teeth, yes, they eat solid food heartily, and yes, she’s increasingly happy to see them being tended to by others. Still, if she’s not wearing her nipple-blocking pink baby onesie and the puppies are hungry – she obliges.
We’ve had a houseful of family members here this week, with a number of young grandchildren. I feel strongly that all the puppies’ encounters with little ones need to be positive at this stage, so we supervise well, or keep the puppies behind closed doors. Crying, shrieks while in the pool or on the trampoline – these are fine for the pups to observe, but all direct handling must be positive.
And Emmett. This fellow is camera shy today, and actually, I love presenting them the way they really are, not as mini-models. I have a long photo series of Emmett darting away from the camera, which we think is completely charming.
Jim and I met in 1974, in a group of mutual friends attending a Grateful Dead concert in Santa Barbara, California. We both grew up in Palo Alto, where Jim’s mother notoriously interviewed Jerry Garcia as a potential guitar teacher for Jim – and rejected him. There was no question that the puppies would be entertained this weekend with the televised “Fare Thee Well” reunion concerts celebrating fifty years of the Grateful Dead experience. They hung on every note, as the photo shows.
Our neighborhood was crazy with Fourth of July fireworks last night. We always host festivities at our home so we can keep our dogs company, a habit that matters to us most when we have puppies. Our adult dogs are all relaxed about fireworks and these puppies were as well, nursing quietly as they listened. I had the puppies out this afternoon when I heard distant thunder too, with a sprinkling of rain as we gathered them inside.
Fireworks, thunder, and a rock concert… an eventful weekend for the little “E”s.
The L’s have been brushing up their behavior in preparation for their new homes. Of course they’re rowdy when they play with us or our adult dogs or one another, but they settle well.
Potty training outdoors is the rule now. They come when we call, eat twice a day from individual bowls (not above trying to take a nip from a sibling’s bowl – it’s a work in progress), sleep through a seven hour night in their own crates (unless the puppy is Laddie, sometimes waking in the middle of the night with hopes of joining a sibling, which is fine at this stage.) They follow us as we lead them inside, outside and across the deck. They play sweetly with well-mannered children, which is all we allow, and they know we’ll have our hands under their chins when a child gently pets them, to help them manage those frisky tongues.
Their “sit” is excellent by now and all four are quick to respond. Tonight I helped our granddaughter to signal them, and they responded nearly in unison. (I’ve done this with other toddlers over the years, with puppies and also our adult dogs. Even very young children can be taught to handle them, and dogs can be taught to respond.)
So, are they perfect little angels? Not at all. Their new owners have lots of work ahead of them, but their foundation is solid and that’s always our goal.
I’m glad I wait to form opinions about the puppies’ temperaments until they’re eight weeks old or so. It helps to see them together, but also alone, and in different social situations over the weeks prior. Molly and Ren have fairly relaxed puppies, playful and lighthearted but pretty calm at the core. It’s true for the L litter as well.
Lark is a happy-go-lucky and adventurous puppy. Linnea is gentle and likes to observe before engaging. Lottie is a loveable teddy bear, not easily ruffled, and Laddie is an adoring, affectionate little fellow who will wrestle with his litter mates but would rather be in our laps.
When I scan back over our collection of puppy pictures, I can often identify the individual puppies at a glance. We tend to have “types”: those that resemble our male, Clancy McGee, or black and white puppies that look like our Maddie Mae, and many that have dark tricolor coats and large round eyes. But they’re still unique, and I love trying to pick them out by name. Once I do, I remember their personalities – that’s what really lingers.
I took these photos of Lark, Linnea, Lottie and Laddie in the backyard today just before they settled down for a nap in their shady play area. Through the open iron fences they saw Josh and his retriever, Skip, appear with the lawn mower. Our fourteen month old toddler guest squealed as she doused herself with the garden hose, the adult dogs roamed around the flower beds, and my daughter and I laughed and talked on the chaise lounges and jumped up to let dogs in or out or to assist the baby. I don’t think the puppies really napped much, but they were good sports throughout.
Lark, Linnea,Lottie,and Laddie.