Hello everybody. For those wondering, we have been a bit out of pocket for the last week or so. It all started when I woke up to my wife looking at her phone in absolute joy. All my groggy ears could make out was garble that sounded like someone meeting a new baby for the first time.. “how cute”, “adorable”, “oh my” .. the usual fare. I had a moment of “my god what have I done” until she showed me her screen with a YouTube video playing of a puppy. Apparently she had just been alerted by a friend that they were looking for a qualifying home for … well, THIS!
We had been looking for a new addition to the family now that our youngest, Raven, had recently turned seven (link here). While finally getting the sleep removed from the eyes, Linda explained how the puppy I was looking at was a performance bred toy Poodle and they were looking for a home where he could continue his champion line in the performance sports – agility, dock diving etc. To be honest, it sounded too good to be true. This puppy was going to be slightly bigger than Raven which is what Linda wanted due to the difficulty our Raven has with the teeter being so light. The video included scenes of him already doing introductory apparatus familiarization, treat awareness and a number of other skills which he already excelled at – far earlier than our other agility champions.
Hit the jump to read more about our new addition.
With my blessing, Linda reached out to the breeder to get additional details. From all accounts, this would be a perfect new addition to the family and needless to say from the shot above, Linda was all in. After we provided references (per the qualifying home comment above – performance breeders are very particular about their champion lines) and agreed to the contract we received word that they thought we would be an excellent pairing.
In all the excitement we forgot to ask a crucial question – where did the breeder live!?! Was not expecting to find out New York – sheepishly asked if that happened to be a uniquely named city in Illinois – nope, she meant the state. Some possible mid-distance options fell through, so we decided to make a mad dash out there to get him in order to make it back in time for my big 50k race that was only two weeks away at the time (now one week). Got a few power runs in before we left that Tuesday at noon with hopes of getting at least one training run while on the road before we returned that Friday – you read that right, from middle of IL to NY (~Syracuse) and back in 4 days. We also agreed to bring along his sister to hand off to a breeder who lived in Michigan.
His sister is on the left and our puppy is on the right in the shot above. I laughed when I saw them as they looked like mini Ramones (like Mini-Kiss but more Sheena Was a Punk Rocker than Love Gun). That trip was an absolute grind and kudos to Linda who did a lion’s share of the driving. Storm after storm and what appeared to be a narrow tornado that ripped right through a small village probably 20 miles from the breeder – they were trying to clear the road when we passed through, sheared trees to the left and sheared trees to the right of the road with power lines draped everywhere. Guessing we missed it by 30 minutes or less. Finally got to the breeder and we couldn’t be happier – a little bundle of energy and joy and just what Linda was hoping for. Now our other two dogs didn’t share that same opinion. Here is Raven begging me to take the “abomination” back (his word). Sorry, Raven and Benji, he is here to stay – better keep an eye on your toys.
The drive back was as struggle both from the tiring journey out and the absolutely insane traffic we had to fight our way through. Honestly I don’t know what has happened other than the pandemic and time at home has completely eroded some people’s driving skills. We almost got hit ourselves at least 3 times by people drifting or outright just deciding to come into our lane without checking first. Poor little puppy had to hear quite the stream of profanities as Linda was doing her best to keep from getting us crushed. Oh, and if you are going to make us pay ~$90’s in tolls we shouldn’t have to sit in standstill traffic while you have multiple lanes down for work. Sorry, I digress. We are home now safe and sound and the little one is getting accustomed to the daily routine and trying its best to get fully accepted by the pack.
For the most part everyone is getting along fine and are even starting to play a bit together – as long as the puppy understand Raven always wins hehehehe.
So, you are probably wondering what the little dude’s name is. The breeder had temporarily named him Vern (before you laugh, his full name was actually pretty cool – Vernal Equinox as he was in the Spring litter). We thought about some options to keep our name similar to leverage his existing name awareness. After a long debate and shooting down every one of my incredibly great name options, Linda decided to name her puppy Lil’ Pistol in honor of what a handful he is going to be. Raven is technically my dog and this was a replacement for her dog she lost while she was up in Mayo with the heart surgery. So, with the breed lines added, the full name is:
Silvabirch Hawk Hill G8rcreek Lil’ Pistol
… and since you would never make a puppy try to learn that long of a name or force him to learn how to spell all that at the top of his homework papers, his call name is the much shorter – Ruger.
Say hello to our new precious member of the family and a big thanks to Linda’s friend Rose that let us know about the opportunity. Now time to get some badly needed sleep .. if Ruger actually lets us. Note, Raven packed up some of Ruger’s food, a bone and a couple treats in a bandana tied to a stick. We caught him just before he opened the door and kicked poor Ruger out of the house. Even with Benji in the house, Raven still considers himself an only child and not happy about having to share any quality time with mommy.