What did you just call me? asks Euka. Did you say Princess Dudley Nose? Because I kinda like the sound of it, but I don’t know if I should.
What I was saying, I say, is that the princess’s nose is going dudley. Another reminder that you’re not a little puppy anymore.
Actually, I continue, You and your littermates will be eighteen months old next week. A whole year and a half. Who’da thunk the time would go by so …
Wait, hold that thunk a sec, says Euka. Where exactly is my nose going? This isn’t that mind bending game you play where you “got my nose” and it turns out to be your hooman thumb, is it? Because, Food Lady, that’s just messed up. You need to know that.
|Auntie Flo arrives early|
What? Your nose is going where? I say. I just said your nose is going … ah. Ok, I see. No, Euka, you misunderstand. I just mean your boop button is turning pink. It’s a coming of age for CCI pups. Well, at least you yellow coated ones.
But you said last October that I was what you called Of Age. says Euka. ‘Member that? Because you were real annoyed with somebody called Auntie Flo when she came by to make me a wooman. Remind me, who is she again?
Right, I say. Nevermind that. Especially now that you’ve just jinxed us by invoking her name. I think we’re due another visit pretty soon, if your girly calendar is working on the retriever time zone.
Anyhoo, says Euka. Pink boop button, you say?
Yep, I say. Pink. As in dudley nose. It’s nothing right or wrong; it’s just genetics. And as you pups near your turn in time to the Advanced Training program Canine Companions for Independence, we usually see the first signs of the pigmentation change on your nose pads.
Not our little girl anymore
|Euka’s black boop button. This photo was taken on the
first day she opened her eyes. Even then she had that
kiss me, you fool attitude.
(photo by Chris Kittredge Photography)
Since Euka is such a petite beauty, a mere fifty three pounds with a full stomach, we’re asked by folk if she’ll be getting any bigger.
And sure, since she’s less than eighteen months old Euka will continue to develop her frame. She’ll gain more muscle mass and her skeletal structure will move into its adult formation.
It’s what we refer to in our kids as filling out.
But taller and longer? Nope, Euka will remain a small framed girl. Despite me telling her she can’t get by on those good looks forever, I really do think she just might. I suspect our Miss Euka will maintain a youthful look for quite a while.
Her nose being the exception. I admit that I really didn’t appreciate the dudley nose look at first. When raising our first pup, the lovely Inga, I was wishing upon hope that her black nose would stay that glossy ebony. But all that wishing was for naught.
And it was after handing over the leash to her new partner in the CCI graduation ceremony that I realized how short-sighted this was. Being a highly trained assistance dog has nothing to do with nose color. Of course it doesn’t. I feel so silly now when I think how much of my emotional energy was spent on such misplaced priorities.
|Gotcher inner beauty right
here, says Jager
And then this other weird thing is that I think pretty much all dogs carry their own beauty. What might be considered a flaw to otherwise perfection is really what makes them charming, right? I mean, even our freaky little Jagerhund is forty pounds of spotted handsome stuff to us.
And I no longer think of the dudley nose as less than perfection.
Nope. These days I can’t wait to see it on Euka. Because it gives me a warm feeling of hope. A spark of expectation.
I can see her, our Miss Euka, in my mind’s eye, my imagination, as I look into her future. All grown up and fully trained.
That day … graduation from CCI with her new partner. I can see this, pink nose and all.
And I wish upon hope that Euka does too. And I’m feeling more like my priorities are properly numbered these days.
Prepare yourselves, fans of our smart and ornery Euka.
Countdown: Ten weeks until matriculation into Advanced Training.