Cedar passed away on November 19, 2015…I knew it was coming but also was in denial and how she passed fills me with guilt. At the time I worked days, the Dogfather worked nights. She got up when the Dogfather was getting ready for work and assumed her position by the front door for me to come home. I didn’t make it home in time. She passed away waiting for me to come home. We buried her at a location overlooking the North Platte River that she loved playing in with her favorite pheasant honking toy.
A few days later we were in one of the local sporting good stores, and I mean hunting & fishing sporting good type stores. We were talking about the next puppy and we had decided that we were going to be open and considering getting a shepherd type dog, German, Dutch, you get the picture. As you exit, they have a board where you can post outdoorsy related goods, services and we always look as there is almost a litter or two of puppies. They had a litter of Labrador Retriever puppies. I was a little apprehensive about calling as I was still mourning my Cedar Girl. We call and leave a message. Not shocked that they didn’t answer as who would answer an unknown number, I would do the same thing and let it go to voicemail and if they care, they can leave a voicemail.
On Sunday morning, we get a call from ultimately the Dog “grandfather”. He lets us know about the litter of puppies that is due to be whelped nearly any day at this point and lets us know if we are interested, we can have a hold on a puppy. We are apprehensively ecstatic, two days later, November 24, 2015, we received the news, momma puppy had her babies, and we were completely enamored. The next day was the day before Thanksgiving, and we drove down to Colorado as we were going to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We spent the entire holiday and spent Black Friday shopping in Colorado as there are more / different stores compared to our home here. Finished up visiting but also know that we really like to try and get home from trips on Saturdays so we can recoup / do chores / prepare for the next work week.
We woke up and bid farewell to my sisters and parents and hit the road back up to Central Wyoming. Now…back in time a little, we sent a message to the Dog Grandparents, completely acknowledging so many variables but also that we were driving back home, and they were a little out of the way home but not out of the way if we could come and visit. They indicated that we were welcome to come. So, we hopped on the US highway off of the interstate and made our way to visit five day old puppies. We arrive and are welcomed with open arms into these strangers’ home, and I have a typically really good interaction with dogs. Momma pup was not happy I was there, very tolerant, but was much more welcoming of the Dogfather than me. We enter the whelping room and there were seven squirming, grunting, rolling potatoes. We shoot the breeze with grandparents and their human children and let us know that they had the lone yellow lab spoken for, but the six black pups were fair game for the pickin’.
We knew that we wanted another girl as we had Sequoia and we do have a bias for female puppers. After copious cute cuddles, we arbitrarily had our top two. So how do you narrow down your pick and know what puppy is meant to be yours at five days old? You over read into anything and everything. So for the two females we had it narrowed down to, one was a pure black, the other had a white star on her chest and white tipped toes on her hind paw. On the pad of the paw pad there was three dots making a little mickey mouse head on her toe. She had a hidden mickey and that was good enough for us.
Just over six weeks later, we leave home after work with towels, toys, and a new little owl collar. Puppies were actually getting their “final” check up / microchipping up in Torrington and we sat in our little blue car waiting extremely impatiently for the puppies to come back so we could pick up our new little puppy…Tikka…Once the puppies came back, we go in and let all the puppies play together for the last time and get tired for the roughly three hour drive home. We made sure we friended the Dog Grandparents so they could follow the growth of the Tikkabutt. After our departure, it was around 7-8 pm and we were hungry.
Ventured in the dark just two days after the Dogfather’s birthday and made our way back to the interstate and decided that we needed to stop for food at the A&W. We order food and hit the road and it seems without fail we can either have really good fries or really good burgers. Never both at the same time unfortunately. I have Tikka on my lap, curled and cuddled and the aroma of hot salty fries fills the air of the car. She has been passed out until we hit the interstate again and valiantly attempt to eat our food. Even though she had eaten before we left, she is a Labrador retriever and therefore is innately food driven. French fries can soothe the savage beast that is a puppy and after a little bit, we are able to get her to go back to sleep and I can then finish eating my food.
We make it home eventually and it’s late. Sequoia in the last seven weeks had overcome her depression and had accepted that she was going to be an only puppy for the rest of her life…Oh sweet puppy, I am so sorry. First things first, we had a puppy that had survived what ended up being a four-hour drive (roads were bad) and we didn’t stop for any potty breaks as she stayed asleep other than for the french fry investigation. We were tired and it was cold, so we brought Tikka in and let Sequoia smell her and get familiar with her before we put her down. Now this is an important detail; Momma puppy was a chocolate lab, and Sequoia if you recall is also a chocolate lab. We are sure that Tikka just saw chocolate lab and this being a strange place just wanted some maternal comfort and nosed the underside of Sequoia. This did not sit well with her at all and turned on her quickly. Fortunately this was the only problem that we had and Sequoia and Tikka and to this day they love each other so much.
Tikka is our athlete puppy, even though she has acquired the body of a retired athlete as she has learned how to counter surf for food and has a penchant for anything left out. Her expertise at getting butter off the counters, thawing pork loins out of kitchen sinks, boxes of cookies and finding any edible item including a neglected new three pound of treats is unparalleled. This is a puppy that is too smart for her own good too as she learned how to unlock every baby proof lock to prevent her from getting into the garbage can, not chew it off, but figure out how to unlock it. We also thanks to Tikka have obtained an amazing group of dock jumping friends, a sport that Tikka absolutely loves even if she doesn’t jump far and is more motivated to just get into the water as soon as humanly possible to get the toy and repeat the process. One of the people we met in our dock jumping adventures is a fabulous lady working dogs from her business to get additional titles and to make sure that her pups are having fun too.
To be Continued…