My puppy is here!
Precious arrived on Friday with my friend Kat in tow. Or maybe it was the other way around. But anyway! Kat runs Long Road Kennel in Decatur, Illinois. She’s never been to West Virginia before. She’s never even taken a trip by herself before. She has five children. She’s mostly never alone. She made her first trip, by herself, eight hours to boldly tackle driving in the “high mountains” of West Virginia. She met my hired men, Robbie and Rodney, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. She met my friend Jerry, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. She met my cousin Mark and his wife Sheryl, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. Of course, I had already told her these were just foothills, not mountains. But she’s from the corn- and soy-fields of Illinois and she said, “These are mountains!” I fed her venison and goat meat, and she shot my .22 and rode the four-wheeler. She had a weekend vacation in the holler! And stories to tell when she got back home to the flatlands.
And I have a puppy! I’ve had a lot of questions about the new puppy, so I’d better do some s’plainin’.
After I moved here, I started wishing for a house dog, a companion in the house. I didn’t do anything about it for awhile, until I heard about a Great Pyr that was available through a local rescue. I love my Pyrs. Now, I know better than anybody what it’s like to have a Great Pyr. They’re large dogs and best suited to the field. They need a job and lots of room to run. But, this rescue Pyr had been a house Pyr, with a small backyard, and I was convinced she would be suited to staying in the house and going on long walks with me every day. Since she was already a house dog. Knowing Pyrs like I do, I should have known better. I adored Gwennie and she loved to go places with me, but she didn’t like it when I went anywhere and had to leave her in the car. She ate the seatbelts out of my Explorer one time. When I left her in the house to go to the store, she ate all the blinds down off the windows. When I left her in the fenced fields or the barn while I went out, she ran a gate right off the hinges and broke down the fences. She did adore going on long walks with me, however!
Gwennie and Casper, puddlin’ on a walk on the ridge.
But anytime I had to go anywhere that she couldn’t go with me, safely containing her was a problem. I spent a lot of money and hired man hours trying to work out the fencing to where she wouldn’t get out of it, but she was not raised a field dog and had zero interest in becoming one, nor was she happy being left in the house. I would come home and find she’d broken out of wherever I’d put her and was running up and down the road chasing cars. This was a dangerous situation for her, and for my neighbors. Worse, she would break out and then break in where I had Coco and Chloe and fight with them. I thought maybe that would calm down–after all, Coco and Chloe fought, too, when they first met, but after a few months, they settled who was boss and became best friends. Over a year later, Gwennie and Coco were still fighting to the point of tearing each other up and leaving one another bloody. And believe me, I was not letting them get together on purpose. If they saw each other outside, they’d go nuts and break down fences to get to each other and engage battle.
Eventually I decided that for everyone’s best interests, especially Gwennie’s, she needed to be re-homed. Gwennie is a good dog–not blaming her at all. This was not the right situation for Gwennie. She was re-homed through the rescue, and I believe she is with a family in New York now. I’ve never given up a dog before, so this was not easy, but for the sake of all the dogs, it was the right thing to do.
Still, I had my dream of a companion dog in the house, but again didn’t do anything about it for awhile. I didn’t want to make another mistake, for the sake of my heart and for the sake of the dog. Now I have a little Chinese Crested pup and I’ve had such questions and comments about her! Why did I choose this exotic “designer” dog? Did I get her just so I could dress her up and write about her on the blog? Was I not thinking of my demographics? You guys? I don’t make personal decisions based on my blog! She’s not livestock, she’s a pet. A personal pet. Will I dress her up and write about her? Of course! But that has nothing to do with why I got her. I got her because I want a house dog. And I’m trying to get one that is better suited to being a house dog. I didn’t actually go out looking for a Chinese Crested, though. I didn’t go out looking for a dog at all.
Last summer when I went to Weston’s Army boot camp graduation in Oklahoma, I made a slight detour to visit my friend Kat in Illinois. I’ve known Kat for 21 years. I met her (virtually, online) right after Weston was born, on a romance writer message board. Ross was a toddler, Weston was a newborn, and Morgan hadn’t even been dreamed up yet! Lo, all these years later, with all our kids mostly grown, and emailing each other every day all this time, Kat and I had never met in person. It was time, and her home in Decatur was only a few hours out of the way on my trip, so Morgan and I stayed with her for a few days. Kat’s been a professional dog trainer for years, and I knew she bred Chinese Crested dogs, but I hadn’t thought much about them. The first Chinese Crested she got was a hairless and I didn’t pay that much attention to her dogs after seeing a picture of that one. Hairless Chinese Cresteds often win the ugliest dog of the year award. Because they’re so ugly. Well, to some of us! Chinese Cresteds come in three varieties–hairless (hair only on their heads, feet, and tails), hairy hairless (they have more hair than the hairless), and powderpuffs. Powderpuffs are fluffy little balls. They are ADORABLE. I didn’t realize how adorable until I stayed with Kat and her bunch o’ Chinese Cresteds. I fell in love with her dogs, took one to bed with me while I was there, and threatened to kidnap one. They’re small dogs (toy-size) with sweet temperaments–not real “yappy” types. They don’t bark as much as other toy breeds.
And so, I went to Illinois last summer and saw cornfields and soybeans and flatlands and Chinese Cresteds (and Kat took me to a Rural King! we don’t have Rural King here!) and when I left, I said, “Next powderpuff baby girl born, I want her!” And that, my dear friends and readers, is how I came to have a Chinese Crested puppy. In October, Kat’s Daisy had a litter of two–and one of them was a powderpuff girl. And now she’s mine!
And as for the battle over the dog bed….
Buttercup won that one.