So, we finally got to the home of the breeder, several hours past the time we had originally planned. Of course, I had called her to let her know what was happening, so it was all good.
When we got there, the breeder let all of the remaining puppies and Juniper, the litter mom, out in her backyard and we went out there to get acquainted.
Now, we had been matched with one of the puppies, the one the breeder was calling Alder. But we had found out just the day before that we were actually going to have a choice because something had fallen through with one of the buyers and another puppy, Hawthorn, was also available.
Neither puppy took to us right away. In fact, the only one who came up to greet us happily was the one that the breeder was planning to keep! Super friendly little pup!
Alder, our match, stayed right next to the breeder, hiding behind her when we made any approach. Hawthorn hung out but didn't come close. As it turned out, all of the puppies were in a fear period and the only one who had come out of it was Oak, the one the breeder was keeping.
So, we hung out and talked and just let them get used to us. After a while the breeder put everyone away except the puppy Hawthorn so we could interact with him a bit. He came around and let us hold him and he warmed up enough for us to get acquainted. He was a nice puppy. He was friendly and very, very huggable. He was a pretty mellow guy.
And that was the thing - earlier that morning Ben and I had been talking and I had said that Dean and Tessa, as a pair, were so mellow. I was hoping that the puppy would add the "spark" that we had lost when we lost Speedy. Not that I expect the puppy to be Speedy, of course. But I was hoping for that quality.
Hawthorn, nice as he was, didn't seem to have it.
So, after a while, the breeder put Hawthorn in and Alder came out. Alder came up to Ben and he picked Alder up and Alder gave him a million little puppy kisses.
I knew that was it! I knew that in that second Alder had won Ben over completely and that he was going to be the one! After Ben spent some time with him, I took him and I enjoyed that same puppy treat!
Alder had shed his shyness with us and it was clear that he was exactly the dog we were looking for.
The decision really was made in two ways. When I had found out that we would actually have a choice of puppies, I told Ben that unless I saw any glaring red flags for performance (although unlikely), I would let him choose.
Ben is so good with Tessa. Although she has come a long, long way with him, she still doesn't give her whole heart to him. She likes for him to come over to her in a safe spot and pet her, but she doesn't ever go to him to solicit attention. And he treats her like a little princess. I know he would love it if she could let her guard down and just love him like she loves me, but she can't, he knows it, and he loves her anyway.
So, I wanted to give him the chance to say "this one!"
But I also had one little test of my own. It was the same way that I decided on Dean. I thought, "which of these dogs would I regret driving away without?" The answer was clear - Alder! As nice as Hawthorn was, I knew that I would miss Alder if we didn't take him home.
So, Alder it was!
After that, I went to the car and set up the crate and we packed up Alder and Reed, another puppy from the litter who would be riding as far as our house with us for another buyer, and off we went!
I couldn't believe we finally had our puppy, but I loved him already and I knew this was going to be a really good thing.
Alder was actually very quiet for most of the ride, but Reed did protest for a while. Dean and Tessa were none to happy about the tiny interlopers, either, even though they had gotten a chance to meet both of them in the back yard first. Unfortunately, they were far more interested in sniffing every inch of that back yard that they hardly paid attention to the puppies!
But they all settled before long.
Before we left the area, we stopped, again, at a Dunkin Donuts so Ben could get more coffee!
And we took a very long and rainy drive through Connecticut, north of New York City, into New Jersey, and finally back to Pennsylvania. We went to the truck yard and got my car. For the sake of simplicity I left the puppies with Ben since the crate was settled in his car, and I took Dean and Tessa with me. I think they appreciated the chance to decompress a bit.
Due to stops and rain and having to get the car, we didn't get home until 2:30 AM!!! Then we had to unload puppies, potty them, get the crate in, and get everyone settled.
Late as it was, we spent about an hour letting the puppies explore the fireplace room, which I blocked off with my new ex-pen, playing with the new toys I had gotten.
We got to bed around 4:00 AM! The puppies wrestled in their crate for about 20 minutes and then they went to sleep, and we all got a little bit of rest.
A very, very, very long day. But one of the best days ever!
On the way home! This guy has TONS of personality!