Then this happened.
Uh huh, you say. Of course it did, sweetie. Now might you clue us in on what you’re on about now? Because this is making absolutely no sense. You know that, right?
No no, it’s ok. I can explain. Really.
You see, it all started when I was finalizing travel plans with the puppy raiser of Euka’s littermate, Ella, for the following day. This effort of carpooling coordination is worthy of due diligence. Should traffic karma be on our side, the drive to Dublin for the Canine Companions for Independence’s Walk’N Roll fundraiser is darn near an hour and a half. Or it could take longer if I-70 snarl-ups arise. And those are the times when it’s important to really like your carpool partner.
As a final thought as we close our IM conversation, Maggie says to me so Euka still hasn’t started her heat cycle yet? Are you sure she’s not already pregnant? When are the puppies due?
I know, right? I’m hoping for Rottweiler Labrador cross, actually, I say. A Labrottie. Cuz it sounds like an Italian race car. Then I make rrr-rrr-rooombaa race car sounds. Which Maggie can’t hear because we’re IMing.
|I’m feeling a “Caption This” post coming on.|
This a running joke between us, the puppy due date thing. Our delicate flower, Miss Euka, is the last girl in her litter to, well, become a woman, as they say. All the girls have either started their first estrus cycle or have finished the process to return to the business of growing up to be service dogs.
Wait just a sec, you say. Not only does that have no connection to the enigmatic photos you keep throwing on here, but what’s this about service dogs in heat? We dedicated readers are all over here thinking you might want to cut back on the cold meds a little.
Ah, yes. I love that word, enigmatic, too. It’s no mystery it makes me rather happy to see you use it, hahaha [snort]. And I appreciate your concern over this nasty cold bug I’m trying so hard not to spread to friends and family. Even though one of you gave it to me first. And I know who you are, buster.
And hang loose here, people. I’ll tie all this together for you. Just give me a minute willya, sheesh.
About that going into heat thing … Euka and her sisters were selected at birth as possible future breeders of possible future service dogs. I’d love to go on and on about CCI’s stellar breeding program, but after just a few sentences I’d be making things up. I’m simply not that close to it. Let’s just stick with the facts here then.
Best of the Best. Breeder dogs and their puppies are the foundation of our organization. We carefully select and breed Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two after an intensive evaluation process.
Our breeding program staff checks each dog’s temperament, trainability, health, physical attributes, littermate trends and the production history of the dam and sire. Only then are the “best of the best” chosen as CCI breeder dogs.
Did you catch that? Best of the best, y’all. Now as a possible future breeder, Euka was determined to have the right stuff, genetically speaking, to be considered a candidate for the breeding program. She will be evaluated as she matures and this assessment will continue after she begins Advanced Training at CCI.
That is, we carry on as normal with this puppy raising business. Because even though she is a candidate, the odds are very much against her. The dogs in the final selection for the breeding program are held to some very high standards. Only a small percentage of potential candidates are selected to make more service dogs for CCI.
And when I say, we puppy raisers are tasked to carry on as normal, what I really mean is exactly that. Until our little girl goes into heat, that is. And then things take a sharp left in the fork of Puppy Raiser Lane.
Ok, heads up. Here’s where we connect all the dots in this story for you. Ready?
Recall that Maggie and I were joking about Labrotties in our IM? I’m still making stupid race car sounds, when I reach down next to my chair where Euka is napping. A casual peek just to double-check the status of the girly goods and . . . Maggie? I gotta go. I’ll call you later.
Growing up on the farm, it was a Rated-R experience when any of our dogs started a heat cycle. We had dogs we’d never seen before visiting our place like it was Discount Day at the brothel or something. And with that psyche damaging childhood experience, I am fully aware of the dangers of Italian race cars.
Nothing to be done about it but deliver Miss Euka to the safety of the CCI regional center. The Spa Experience, we call it.
And because Euka will likely be at the Spa for the next three weeks, we’ll miss her lovely presence at the various and sundry Autumn season festivities. Only my favorite time of year, no big deal. So I’m grieving over the loss of photo ops at the pumpkin farm with Euka. I have to accept there will be no shots of her admidst the painted autumn leaves. No girly girl Halloween costumes.
Wait, what? No costume photos? Oh nuh uh, that ain’t right. I look at the clock. Between the revelation of our situation and getting Euka to the Spa, we only have about two hours of daylight left. But in those two hours? One of ’em is the photographer’s favorite. The Golden Hour of Light.
I’m so getting a Halloween photo of the princess. This will happen. Oh yes, y’all, this will happen.
|I have a lot of frames that look pretty
much just like this one.
But yeah, before that happened? The stuff in the above photos happened. I just wanted a shot of Euka all back lit by the setting sun. With devil horns on.
And this happened.
|I blame the hormones.|
She tossed those babies off her head and, with the devil horns clamped in her maw, proceeded to run about like ….ok, like the devil was hot on her tail.
There’s nothing like a good romp about the yard to drive out the gremlins, wouldn’t you say? Once the imps were out of her system, things settled down a little.
So, then this could happen.
Ah, a nice back lit golden hour photo of Euka rocking a set of devil horns. That’s all I was after here. Well, once I lowered my standards some.
I was successful in a couple of other costume shots too. But those photos will have to happen in a later post.
Because right now, people? I’m missing the little devil girl and I have to go wake Micron up ‘cuz he looks like he needs a hug real bad [sniffle]. And that’s gonna happen next.
See, this is why I raise the boys. Hope she enjoys her stay at “the spa” and Micron and Jagger pick up the slack.
I know, I know. Why don't I listen to you more? This will be no big deal, I said when tasked with raising an intact girl. I mean, there's three of 'em out of the same litter right here together. They'll all go into heat at the same time and we can take turns driving back and forth to the regional center.
Even when I had those sunshine and rainbow thoughts, I knew it wouldn't be so. But darn it, I was so happy with my easy peasy plan.
I do miss her furry self around here today. The other dogs, not so much. Where's Euka? I ask Micron and Jager.
They just look back at me and say what? Did you say dinner was ready?
They're not much help.
Oh, I so sympathize! I am a photographer who loves fall and raised a current breeder (boy though, way less stressful!). Good for you for being resourceful!