Collection day!

This is it. The day I have been waiting for for the last few months. Today is the day This Little Doggy comes home with me. Well, when I say “home”, it’s not exactly that. Because I live in Europe and she is coming from Scotland, I have to wait until she’s old enough to travel before I can take her to her real home. So, these first two months are being spent in the South-East of England, where my sister has very kindly let us move in to her house.

Today, therefore, is starting very early, with us leaving the house at 2:30am to head up to Scotland. The idea is that we will be past Birmingham before the hellishness of rush hour descends. If everything goes in our favour, we should be knocking at the breeder’s door at around 9am.

I had pre-written this post, with all my plans of how the car would be set up. The two adult Labs, who will be coming with us, would be safe in the back behind their guard. We would have several options for This Little Doggy, depending on how she takes to leaving the litter. She could go in the back with the other two, albeit separated by a divider, but this would be the least likely option, as I think it could rile the Two Bigger Doggies up. The preferred option would be that she travels in a crate on the back seat, with the passenger next to her. That way, she would be safe and confined, but shouldn’t feel too isolated. The final option would be that she travels up front in the foot well or on the passenger’s lap. This would happen if she was distressed and needed extra comfort.

All options were to have been pre-prepared with a bin liner on the floor, followed by layered newspapers and towels on the top. A packet of wet wipes would be close to hand just in case, along with a roll of kitchen paper and plastic bags for collecting any rubbish. These are the same precautions I took when collecting The Duchess at this age. Thankfully, that time, they proved unnecessary, but I’m not tempting fate by assuming this trip will be just as uneventful.

However, on the back of my vehicular disaster that meant I had to come to England in a van instead of the Jeep, things are rather changed. The adults will be in a crate in the back of the van, and I have borrowed a pet carrier to bring the puppy home in the front. The best laid plans very rarely get followed. At least, that’s my experience. Some sort of bad joke always comes and bite you in the bum.

The trip back down should hopefully be around 6 hours. It’s too long to ask a puppy to go without any food, so we’ll feed her little bits along the way, from the bag of kibble she’s been weaned on. I don’t want to give her proper meals as such, as it may upset her tummy, but she’ll probably be thankful of a steady stream of little bits.

In time, she will end up travelling in the back of the Jeep with the other dogs; I have a divider to keep her separated from them until she can travel without pestering them, but for the first trip, I’d rather  she had someone with her to soothe her if she is scared. It can be a traumatic experience for a young puppy, to suddenly leave everything and everyone it has known, so being there to offer some comfort is important. Of course, she could be a super confident puppy who doesn’t need such careful consideration, so keeping our options open ahead of the long trip is useful. I wouldn’t think it through so much if the breeder was only an hour down the road, but being too prepared for only one eventuality could mean we’d be stuck with a puppy who cried for a whole six hours or, at the other end of the spectrum, was so bold she created a nuisance of herself, trying to explore the entire way. No, options are good!

So, prepared for the journey, with the alarm going off super early, we started off.

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Willow and Shadow thought it was far too early to be getting out of bed
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Aunty Rachel chose her socks especially for the occasion. Tartan-esque to pay homage to This Little Doggy’s Scottish heritage, and a pug, because, well, it’s as close to a Labrador as she could find on tartan-esque socks!

Just about six hours later, and having taken the Two Bigger Doggies for a good run around at a nearby lake, we arrived at the breeder’s, very excited to meet This Little Doggy and see how much she had grown.

Well, what a little chubster! An utterly gorgeous chubster at that.

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Beautiful little button

After the necessaries, hints and tips, This Little Doggy said goodbye to everything she had ever known and we headed off southwards.

We popped the puppy in the pet carrier, but left it open to start with, thinking we could close it up at any point if she became too adventurous. That wasn’t necessary, though, as she stayed curled up in it, or sat up watching through the window, or chewing a toy and our fingers, for the whole journey.

 

We stopped for fuel along the way, and tried to coax her to go to the toilet, with newspaper laid over the floor, but didn’t have much luck – she decided to eat the newspaper instead!

 

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The lead you can see we put on had had no introduction, but this brave little lady didn’t bat an eyelid. A quick scratch at the collar and a chew of the lead and that was it. No thrashing around or any signs of distress whatsoever. What a little star.

Some way farther along, she started to cry and we knew it must have been because she needed the toilet – it had been hours by this point since she had last gone. So we pulled off the motorway and found an unused car park – an area that looked very unlikely to have been used by any dogs. The risk of things like parvovirus is very real to young puppies, but when a girl’s got to go, a girl’s got to go.

She was still a bit reluctant when we got her out, so we coaxed her into it with a lot of movement. What a character!

 

After a very long trip, we finally made it home, with a few hours to spare before settling down for our first night together.

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