Friday, April 2, 2010

A New Arrival, A New Pack Member

I'd known for some time that my beloved old Casey was failing and, though I knew I'd be heartbroken, I also knew myself well enough to realize that her place in the pack would soon be filled. As I did with cattle breeds, I began searching the internet for dog breeds. Of course I knew a lot more about dogs than I did about cattle, but there were a lot of dog breeds out there which I'd never seen.

I narrowed down the field to three breeds. The first was Havanese, a bit like a Maltese, but sturdier and multicolored. But I could find few Havanese puppies and those I did find were very expensive and the breeders were - well, strange. I considered Papillons, the butterfly dog. Like the Red Poll cattle, they sounded absolutely perfect. My niece has one and my aunt has one. But I kept remembering the dog of my childhood, a Scottish Terrier, and began searching for Scottie pups. They were all sold and besides, the breed has a reputation for being a little bit snarky with other animals and requires professional clipping.

But then one night I saw an ad for one female Papillon for sale in Rotterdam. I drove out to visit her, and this is what I found:

A suburban family owned the mother and father Papillons. They'd had a litter of 3 and only 1 remained. From left to right, this is the puppy, the mother and the father. All were exceeding happy, lively, friendly and playful:

Papillons are counted as being in the top 10 most intelligent breeds of dogs (out of about 70 breeds which were rated). They've excelled as service dogs for the handicapped, as circus dogs - and even been been trained to herd sheep. Their coats require little grooming and I'm sure they'd make marvelous hiking dogs. Well, as you've already guessed, I purchased this little puppy and we began the drive home through the heavy rains:

When we first arrived at my house, the poor little pup was quite frightened by all the other dogs and cats crowding around to sniff her. Then I took all the dogs outdoors in the mud and rain. The puppy didn't do anything out there but get wet. When we returned inside, a bedraggled and bewildered puppy stood atop Seamus' giant muddy footprints. Is it any wonder my house is nearly impossible to keep clean?:

Wren, Wally, and Winky ( the three Ws) all lost interest in the puppy quickly but the younger Seamus and Fergus just wanted to play. I kept them mostly at arm's length which, I fear, only increased their fascination:

Seamus and the puppy check each other out, trying not to appear too interested:

"Hey, are those MORE dogs and cats in that room?!? Is it safe in there?":

This is my favorite photo. Be sure to click on it to enlarge it so you can take a close look at the puppy's eyes as they look with horror and fascination at that monster beside her. She seems to wondering if that's a genuine Sasquatch:

I've named her Daphne, though I'm not sure quite why. I listed about 8 possible names but kept using that one and she kept answering it. Of course, she'd have answered enthusiastically even if I'd called her 'Spaghetti:'

Even at this early age (4 months), and even on her first night in this house full of dogs and cats Daphne exhibited the classic Papillon look and the butterfly ears/head. I think this little girl will have a happy life and bring joy to everyone who meets her:

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