A New Puppy

When Joy died the last thing on my mind was another puppy; but then a few weeks after her death, Joy came to me in a dream and reminded me of Sky River Goldens.  I had checked them out in my search for a golden puppy to raise for Nicole and Adrian in CA.  They had adopted one of the service puppies I had raised, Tarka, when she was released from the program.  With Tarka approaching 9 years of age, they decided to start another pup.  They tried to find an older, trained dog without luck so I asked if they wanted me to raise a puppy for them–I think they were ecstatic.

However Sky River Goldens have strong hunting lines and since Nicole and Adrian do not hunt, I passed on this breeder although their pups, program and pedigrees sure looked attractive to me.

Eventually I found just the breeder and just the puppy for Nicole and Adrian.  Her name is Maddy Anne, she was born the end of December 2009 and we picked her up the first of March 2010.

She is a very smart pup and quickly learned many things.  She loved playing with Freezy (our yellow lab) and Joy (before she got too sick and then often Maddy would just lie near her).

By the time she went to CA she had matured into a beautiful golden retriever and quickly became part of her new family.  Her presence was soon accepted by Tarka who now had more energy with a sister around.

So Maddy made it through a difficult summer with less attention because Joy needed more of our time.  But her wonderful natural personality and her early training in Nancy Tanner’s puppy classes turned out a fine pup.

So now my Joysie is gone but she comes to me in a dream and reminds me of the Sky River Goldens.  I thought about it for a few days and then, somewhat begrudginly, I contacted them.  Actually I mostly did it for Freezy who had become very lonely with both Joy and Maddy gone.  Our Vizsla is still here but he does not play much and not the way the girls did. 

I have noticed that when one of our pack dies, it affects the rest of the pack as well.  Each dog reacts differently but Joy’s passing was a loss to Freezy since Joy had raised her and they played every day even though Joy had slowed down a bit with the years.

Sky River did not have any pups on the ground but were expecting one of their females to come into heat any day although she was already late and they were beginning to think maybe she had had a silent heat.  But a few days after I contacted them, they emailed me to say that Fergie was in heat and in the process of being bred!  I had told them about Joy and about her dream; they thought the conjunction of Joy’s dream and Fergie’s “sudden” heat was a bit of magic.

I knew their pups would not last long and that I had better put down a deposit if I had a chance of getting a pup.  I figured if I just couldn’t do it when the time came, I would just donate the deposit.  But every time I looked at Freezy I would see her needing a new sister.

But she did her best, especially when we had snow, to keep her spirits up.  She, like Joy, loved the snow; would roll in it, chase balls in it, run cirlces.  She especially liked it when the snow was so soft that a thrown ball would sink and then she would run, jump up in the air, and pounce on the ball often pushing it deeper, making it even more fun to dig out.

When I plowed the driveway and front yard I would build snow mountains that she loved to play on or just lie on and look around.

Then on 11 January Fergie gave birth to 5 girls and 3 boys and Sky River started sending me weekly photos.  Finally when the pups were about 7 weeks old they called to describe two pups that I could choose from and also sent photos.  Pat and I talked about it and looked at the photos and our pup just jumped out at us.

Sky River is in Spokane which was a bit too much of a drive, especially with the iffy weather we had been having.  But they said they could fly her from Seattle to Helena and should would only be on the plane for about 4 hours.

Saturday the 5th of March we picked her up.  As Pat finished the paper work, I took her out of the crate.  Her tail was wagging and she smothered me with puppy breath kisses.

So, a couple more days and she will have been here a week.  It seems longer than that because she has adapted to our home and routine so well.  And Freezy is very happy to have her. 

Ruger always checks out the new pup and then puts up his boundaries. 

All he has to do is wrinkle his lips when they get too close and they know to back off.  Then when they get older, and he is in one of his running moods, he will play gazelle with them. 

While waiting for the puppy, names started going through my mind but then one stuck: Sacajawea.  We call her Saca, Sacy, SacayJ and she quickly learned her name.  If she is away from me and I call her she comes running as fast as she can.

She is the smallest golden retriever puppy I have ever raised, is about the size of the German Shorthair Pointer, Cactus Jack.  But Fergie is never much over 60# and it looks like Saca will weigh about 55-58#.  Freezy is about 80# with her winter fur and a little extra weight.  Saca makes her look like a small pony standing next to her.

Freezy really wants to get into a good game of chase but she being amazingly careful.  She does run past or over her sometimes and Saca rolls like a ball, picks herself up and chases after Freeze.

Saca’s namesake is Sacajawea, the young Shoshone girl who lead Lewis and Clark on their expedition, showing them the way, cooking, translating, helping with just about everything while taking care of her baby.  Her name translated means “Bird Woman”, fitting for a bird dog.

Saca is still needing to go out 2-3 times a night, has not learned what “no”, “leave it” and not biting hands mean.  She is still getting used to a collar, which has a little bell on it so I can tell where she is.  She has to stop and scratch and then run to catch up to us.

It was only 10 degrees and snowing the first few days she was here.  One day I dug out our Shih Tzu’s little jacket for her.  It kept her warm but she came to me a couple of times to be held so her feet would get warm.  She would watch Freezy the whole time and then struggle to get down and run to catch her.

It is amazing how fast she has learned her name and recall; cheerios in my left pocket does it every time.

We are hoping to audit a couple of Nancy’s last puppy classes in the next few weeks and then take the full class in April.  Freezy started teaching her the stick game yesterday.  And she loves to chase tennis balls and can carry one in her little mouth.  But for right now, we are mostly just eating, sleeping, and playing.

Please check my PhotoBucket site for more pics of Sacajawea: http://s849.photobucket.com/home/Mtcfarm/index

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