Probably too late, but…

I’ve been among the missing again lately, haven’t I? A bit about one of the chief reasons for that later, but I’ll start with something I’ve procrastinated about posting so long it’s probably too late, although maybe someone can meet the deadline.

I got this email from Lee Brewer at AAR weeks ago, meant to pass it along and obviously never did:

All About Romance’s Annual Reader Poll is now open and we would love for you and your readers to stop by and participate in the fun! Please feel free to vote, post the link on your website or Facebook, twitter or other social media!

Informational blog with link to ballot:  http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=15348

The poll runs through midnight Sunday, January 25th, 2015 [changed, read below].

We hope to be tallying your ballot soon!

Ms. Lee Brewer
AAR Publisher Liaison and Pollster

You notice the deadline is January 25th. However, a recent post on the site now says the deadline has been extended to the 30th, which is to say, tomorrow.

I’m sure part of my slow reaction to the message is that this isn’t a poll I can participate in. Unlike avid reviewers, I just don’t keep good records of what I read. The fact I now keep a list of authors I like and those I won’t be trying again is a major step forward in record-keeping. I relied only on the memory that is now getting faulty for years. So figuring out what I read that was published in 2014 would take a lot of poking around in Amazon’s records and my copies of the books, and from memory, I think you have to vote in 6 categories for your ballot to count.

I’m sorry I didn’t get in gear and pass this information on in a more timely fashion and hope those of you who do keep proper records have already voted or can easily do so by the deadline if it’s the kind of thing you like to do.

Now as to the reason I’ve been missing lately. Here she is:

Teagan-12-7-14
Her name is Teagan (a good Irish name for a dog of a German breed, but there it is), and of course there’s a story behind her.

As anyone who has been following here for a while knows, I got another puppy, Story, just two years ago. Story is destined to do the obedience, carting, and drafting competitions my beloved Schara excelled at for so long, and I had absolutely no intention of another puppy. I was out of the puppy market, no more, too many dogs, done, not considering it, NOT.

So a good friend calls me up and tells me she is considering another puppy from a litter an excellent breeder who lives right in my town has. Only 4 puppies, 3 girls and 1 boy. My friend’s last puppy was from this breeder, and my friend says she thinks she’s going to take the male. “Why don’t you come to the eval with me,” she says. “I know you like watching that kind of thing.”

Well, I do like watching puppy evaluations (something good breeders here in Colorado all do to aid them in placing puppies properly), and an afternoon spent cuddling puppies and among dog people sounded great, so I went.

My friend wants a top show prospect, and unfortunately the male puppy’s bite makes that a gamble (sometimes if the bite is off in a puppy it will correct itself after the permanent teeth come in but not always). So she backed away.

Another friend was there and absolutely enchanted with one of the girls but unwilling to commit right then. A third show person had come from a bit of a distance but also didn’t commit.

So instead of smiling new owners walking out with their new puppies, which is what usually happens at the end of the evaluation, everyone left and none of those puppies left with them. I couldn’t believe it. One of the girl puppies was so appealing I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a line of people all vying to have her. Before I left, I told the breeder if that girl or the male didn’t get homes soon, I’d be interested. I was sure I’d never have to honor that because they’re lovely puppies, and they’d all have homes in nothing flat.

A week later, the friend who was so taken with one of the other girls called me and said the breeder had contacted her and wanted to know if I was serious about taking a puppy. You see her husband really wanted those puppies in homes, and so far in spite of the interest no one had committed. I couldn’t believe no one had grabbed up that lovely female puppy, but no one had. All four were still available.

I don’t need another dog. Getting another puppy was not smart. Yes, I have an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old, but they’re both healthy and not going to disappear soon (and when I lose Schara I may be unable to function for a year or two). In spite of all that, feeling guilty for not taking the little boy, I hied myself to the breeder’s and grabbed the pick of the litter female.

Teagan. This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows Schara, 11 years old, playing with Teagan, 11 weeks old. I couldn’t believe the old girl would throw aside dignity and play bow to a puppy like that, but she did.

Play Bow
The story has a happy ending because the friend who was enchanted with one of the other girls did take her after much soul searching about the commitment. Another family from north of Denver took the third girl and thinks she’s the cat’s meow. The boy was the last to find a home, but he went to a young lady who feels the same about him, and that means I was able to stop feeling guilty about grabbing Teagan. The fact is I prefer girls, although I really would have taken the boy if things had turned out differently.

I’ve accused the friend who invited me to the eval of running a con on me and getting me over there under false pretenses knowing I’d be vulnerable, but she denies it vigorously. Even so, I’m not going near another available Rottweiler puppy in any setting no matter how innocent the invitation sounds.

One of the many things I forgot as I plunged off the puppy-acquisition cliff was my vow never to get another puppy in winter. Housebreaking means getting that puppy out every hour on the hour, which in winter means bundling up to the eyebrows, pulling on heavy boots, clomping outside, and waiting on a puppy who is often in no hurry to perform. It means getting up in the middle of the night and doing all that when the puppy starts whining in her crate, even if it’s below zero outside.

On the plus side, I now have the potential of my very own Rottweiler driving team, which will be a lot easier than when I worked Schara with my friend’s male for driving and we had to meet in a parking lot twice a week to train (the same con artist friend by the way).

~Ellen

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10 Responses to Probably too late, but…

  1. Lena says:

    She’s lovely! Congratulations!

  2. June says:

    Hi Ellen
    Love the photos even though I am terrified of Rottweilers. I guess this means no new book for a while. Enjoy the new member of your family, I will wait patiently.

  3. Rosheen says:

    Good excuse! LOL yep no going just to look! Still have our last ‘look’ almost 21 years later! She (a cat, but more dog like) is still going strongly, a bit slower. Our dog baby (which was just a look as well ) got to 18years and 1/4, we miss her very much so no looking in our future, other wise we are sunk! None here pure breeds all preUNloved rescues. Enjoy your new and old four legged crew. Ps hope the writing is inspired by them, liked Cords and Hatties dogs :). Just reread again WITHOUT WORDS

  4. Rosheen says:

    Opps must do a typo spell check pre posting comment ‘Hassie’ auto correct is a $@&/

  5. Thanks, ladies.

    June – There are a couple of breeds I look at rather askance for one reason or another. In my neighborhood years ago there was a pair of Great Pyrenees that actually killed other dogs, and right now there’s another that got loose frequently and terrorized me on walks with Story. Fortunately I carry bear spray on those walks, but experiences like that can really affect one’s attitude toward a particular breed.

    Rosheen – Boy, you’ve had great longevity in your pets. I’ve always had big dogs and just past 13 is the longest any one of them has ever lived. My last cat did make it to 20, although I treated her for CRF (chronic renal failure) the last 4 years. Two of mine are rescues too. They were turned into Rottie rescue as “Rottweilers”, but neither one can be more than half.

    Ruff and his sister Redi came to me right at the end of the time I was doing rescue on my own. They were so shy and fearful I kept them (all the rescues I ended up keeping in those years were ones I was afraid to adopt to regular families for temperament issues except Millie, who was returned years after the adoption with health issues). I lost Redi to osteosarcoma at 8, but Ruff is still with me at 12, stiff and gimpy, has a heart murmur, but he’s still happy and wagging.

    Victor was a heartworm case I volunteered to take through the treatment a couple of years ago. Had no idea what I was letting myself in for and by the time it was all over, he was mine and I adopted him.

    I think it was Kipling who wrote about “giving your heart to a dog to tear.”

    ~Ellen

  6. McD says:

    Now if only we could somehow con you into writing two westerns a year, like your friend conned you into another pup. 🙂

    Enjoy your new baby, Ellen…she’s gorgeous!

  7. Ha ha, McD. Sitting through an eval one afternoon and saying, “I’ll take that puppy,” doesn’t compare in any way to what goes into writing a book – although on second thought once the puppy is home and housebreaking and controlling chewing loom, there may be some equivalence.

    The instructor at Teagan’s puppy kindergarten class actually said something the first day about when you get a new puppy you should take it outside every 20 minutes. I can only imagine the look on my face when the woman said that. I took Teagan out once every hour during my awake hours and whenever I heard her stirring in the night and thought that made me a martyr, a saint, and a superior puppy owner. Every 20 minutes and one might just as well stay outside and not bother taking off all the winter gear between times.

    She will be 4 months old on the 6th, is housebroken now, and even goes outside by herself. The worst is over although I have a lot of time to put in on both her and Story before I have my carting/drafting team.

    ~Ellen

  8. June says:

    Thanks for the tip about Bear Spray Ellen. I don’t think I can get that
    in the UK!!!!!

  9. The legality of various self-defense sprays varies from state to state here in the U.S. too, June. Fortunately Colorado still believes people have the right to defend themselves, and we do have bears here – primarily in the mountains but they sometimes wander to lower elevations. I used to carry a small canister of pepper spray, but when I had to use it (aggressive Golden Retriever of all breeds), it came out in an anemic stream that only carried a few feet. It did work on the Golden, but I don’t want to have to let something nasty get that close and I wondered about how that pathetic spray would work on a tougher minded breed.

    The bear spray travels in a cone of foam something like 30 feet. So the upside is you don’t have to let the charging aggressor get too close. The downside is that if there’s wind and you aren’t facing the right way you get some back spray yourself, and it’s nasty stuff. The voice of experience speaks here.

    If I lived somewhere I couldn’t purchase a commercial product, I might carry a homemade concoction or maybe something actually designed for a different purpose. I’ve heard hair spray in the face can slow down a human attacker. 🙂

    Have I ever told the story of being attacked by a skunk here?

    ~Ellen

  10. June says:

    Of all the state’s in the USA, Colorado is the one I would absolutely love to visit, even if it does have bears!

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