Today was the day we met This Little Doggy for the first time. The most exciting day in the journey so far, so it was little surprise that I woke early and couldn’t get back to sleep. Partly through excitement and partly through having Señor Cuddle-Bum making sure my ears were appropriately clean at 6am.
We had stayed overnight in a hotel near to where the breeder lives, so we only had a short trip to see her in the morning. The dogs ensured we looked appropriately doggy by covering us in mud just as we were about to leave. I looked at the smears on my jeans and J’s coat, sighed, and decided it was probably a better indication of the people we really are than if we had turned up coiffed to the nines, with perfect hair and make-up.
Google informed us the journey would take nine minutes, so we set off with thirty to spare, and ended up doing several laps around the block so we didn’t disturb the breeder too much earlier than agreed.
As the door opened, we were overwhelmed by a tsunami of Labradors welcoming us as only Labradors can. Thumping tails, full body leans and sprawling out for tummy rubs. What a wonderful greeting! We were introduced to Momma Bear, who was right in there, demanding our attention. She was the sweetest little thing, incredibly affectionate, and I immediately took to her. We chatted away with the breeder for a while, over a coffee, doling out head scratches and tummy rubs as required.
We asked all the necessary questions, such as:
- What date can we collect her?
- What food will she be weaned onto?
- What will her feeding schedule be?
- Will she have been wormed?
- Will she have had any of her vaccinations?
- Will she be insured?
- What are the terms of the contract of sale?
With all this covered, we went to meet the puppies. Well, as you can imagine, they were gorgeous. What 4-week old puppies aren’t? I mean, to be honest, they’re pretty ugly really at this stage, being so wrinkly and squished, but in a totally adorable way!
We had our cuddles, and continued cosseting the older dogs who, to be honest, were far more interesting than the wriggly worms. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to see how the pups would seek out our hands to have a bit of a play and a chew of our fingers; a premonition of my imminent future, I fear! Once they had fed from their terrifically patient and attentive Momma Bear, they all soon dozed off, so we left them to it and went to meet Dad.
My first impression of Poppa Bear was how magnificent he was. A true hulk of a boy, but still with a moderate frame, not overly bulky at all, unlike some of the almost cartoonish dogs you see these days. And the personality was just oozing out of him! Here was a dog who was full of life, full of joy. Exactly what you expect of a Labrador. Maybe a little bit nutty, but someone has to keep those chocolate stereotypes going!
I had fallen in love with Poppa Bear’s dam when I first saw her pictures, and also loved his sire, who I came across during my puppy search, so I was utterly delighted to see what a fine boy they had produced. He’s still only young, but my entirely novice eyes see a champion in the making, there. No pressure!
Having cooed over him for a while, and taken lots of pictures, we returned to the kitchen to finish off.
I really didn’t want to leave the lovely, lovely dogs, but time was ticking on and, with a long journey ahead of us, we had to head off, leaving This Little Doggy behind to do some growing until we see her again.