In which I meet a Puggle Breeder – Repost

The parking lot should have been my first clue. Not content to just fill every spot, there are cars parked on the grassy verge next to the clinic, cars parked on the shoulder of the road in front of the clinic, and cars double parked in front of each other.

Going inside, it doesn’t get much better.

This is possibly the most crowded veterinary waiting room I’ve ever seen, and I’ve sat in Guelph’s waiting room more than a few times. Tula and I are crowded in next to a man with a tiny, sweater wearing Yorkie on his lap. Across from us sits a big, bully headed cross breed of some type or another.  It’s probably one of those mystery blends that are being marketed as ‘rare’ – a Victorian Bulldog or some such thing. Whatever it is, it’s adorable, and it’s stressed out. A baby sits next to it in a stroller, and every so often, when the baby shrieks in excitement, the bully leans over and licks the baby on the shin, eyes shining with worry. Mom tells me that her Bully loves the baby more than she loves anyone else in the house, and it’s clear that she not exagerating in the least.

There’s an adolescent Doberman, looking like nothing so much as gazelle in dog form, all gawkiness until it moves, when it become fluid and graceful. An older European couple have matching black and white Shih Ttzu type dogs on their laps, and one more peeks out of the sweater of the girl sitting next to them. There’s a Great Dane by the door, a quietly watchful Border Collie sitting behind a potted plant, and a pair of madly twirling Pugs in the corner.

In the middle of all these dogs sits a woman with a single cat in a carrier. The cat is keeping just as quiet and just as still as it possibly can, and I am thinking to myself that I would not want to be the tech who has to try to take that cat out of the carrier.

Tula is anxious about all of this, but she behaves herself like a lady. Every so often, when another dog really worries her, she’ll reach up and pat one paw on my leg, staring at me with her liquid brown eyes. I ruffle her ears and tell her it’s all fine.

Most of the dogs are well behaved, especially given the stress and the crowding and the long, long wait times. We’d arrived at nine to check in for Tula’s spay, and had been waiting for forty minutes when the woman with the Puggle walked in. As soon as she came in the door, she began a litany of the same command – “Sit sit sit sit sit, you sit now, sit good boy, sit sit sit”. Not once did the dog do anything even remotely approaching a sit, but every once in a while, as he was leaping at her legs and twining the leash around ankles, she’d reach down and pet him, telling him he was a “good good boy, momma’s good boy”, so it’s possible he had been immaculately trained to act like a lunatic.

Every word she said to her dog was pronounced in a loud tone that was obviously meant to draw attention. She’d tell her dog to ‘sit sit sit’, and when he ignored her she’d look around the room, smiling proudly, waiting for us all to acknowledge the utter adorableness of her dog’s behaviour. The breeder sitting across from me had a gaggle of puppies in a crate at her foot, none of which had made a sound since we’d arrived. She and I looked at each other, shrugged, and rolled our eyes, which left me too distracted to notice that there was an empty seat next to me.

The Puggle Mommy sat down next to me, while her dog sprang repeatedly to the end of his flexi, lunging at every dog he could reach. She was alternating ‘sit sit sit’ with ‘good boy, momma’s boy’, and I tried to remember my New York/Toronto subway training – don’t make eye contact with the crazy people. Eventually, Puggle noticed that there was a foxy cream Frenchie standing right next to him, so he lunged at Tula and proceeded to ram his nose up her butt.

Tula, as I said, is a good girl, but her patience for boys is nonexistant, outside of those one or two times a year when she’s willing to pursue them like a liquored up Cougar at a team sports bar. The rest of the time, Tula would be quite happy to see boys all kept on some remote island where there are no boats, which is pretty much just what she told the Puggle. There were teeth and snarling ‘and get the hell away from me, you misbegotten wretch’ type insults flung in his general direction. Puggle, being not altogether stupid, immediately backed off, giving Tula a concilatory play bow and tail wiggle.

His mom, on the other hand, was laughing indulgently at the antics of her ‘good good boy’, and when Tula snarled at him she proclaimed (loudly), “Oh honey, she just thinks you’re too studly for her, with all your manliness, so leave that little girl be”. She then beamed at me, clearly waiting for me to agree with her. When I didn’t, she took a closer look at Tula and said ‘what kind of dog is that?’.

‘French Bulldog’.

‘Oh, French Bulldog. I’ve never seen one before. Where did you get it?’

‘I bred her’.

‘Oh, do you breed them? I’m a breeder, too!’.

She was practically ready to explode with excitement, and happily shared with me that she had a litter at home (of course) of ten (naturally) “Pure Bred” Puggles. I was as polite as I could possibly be, but I couldn’t help asking “Aren’t puggles a cross between Beagles and Pugs?”. ‘No, no’ she protested – hers weren’t like that. Hers were all real purebred Puggles. I was just too tired to either fight about it or to try to educate, so I shrugged and went back to my magazine. Two minutes later, Puggle mom asked me ‘So is she spaded?’ (yes, really – she really said “spaded”, I swear to God).

‘No, she’s here today to be spayed’.

‘Oh, that’s too bad. Can you imagine what cute puppies they would have?’, as she indicated her dog, which was busy trying to strangle itself on the end of her flexi lead. I couldn’t help looking at her with an expression that I’m sure was three parts incredulity, and one part disgust. I pondered all the things I could say, and settled for just shrugging again, and going back to my magazine.

Tula and I finally got called to go in to the office and meet with the vet. When I left, Puggle lady was busy telling the European couple next to her that she still had puppies available for sale, for just “$200 for purebred ones”, and “wouldn’t Sheezoos crossed with Puggles be darling?”.

Her dog was peeing on the potted plant.

Walking Dogs in My Backyard

Away we go...

I spent the afternoon walking the dogs. Lucky for me, our house backs on to 4 kilometers of walking trails – well, walking trails now, but originally it was an old farm road, made redundant when the path of the new road changed.

The road winds uphill from our house, through a path of arched trees and between heavy woods. It crosses our stream, which runs downhill and becomes, for one moment, a small waterfall. At night, when it’s quiet, I can hear the water rushing over the rocks from our bedroom window. From our deck, or from the pool, it sounds like a real waterfall, not the trickle it actually is.

The dogs love this walk – they are never happier than when they are barreling up that hill in front of me, stopping to investigate interesting smells, intriguing puddles, stray patches of tall grass, bugs on rotten logs. They will only go as far as my sight line, even Delilah now, who in her not so very long ago youth would have been three counties away and not looking back once. Her mother, Sailor, was the queen of the runaways in her youth. She once led us on a chase that lasted three blocks, over roads and through yards and into heart stopping moments where I wasn’t sure if she was going to be killed, or if I was going to kill her. Now, Sailor doesn’t stray more than two feet away from me. Old age apparently has its advantages.

It’s entirely possible that walking dogs through what is, essentially, my backyard is a fairly boring way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There’s not much I’d trade it for, even so.

Photos after the cut.

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Weekend End Frenchie Photos

Tula's 3 French Bulldog puppies

The boys, their last weekend together

Here are some photos from the last day or two – and can I just ask, completely without any prejudice, aren’t these boys growing into the most handsome fellows?

Teddy’s markings are so eye catching – his mask may have faded, but his “eyeliner and mascara” are still in place, giving his a sort of doe eyed prettiness that’s hard to look away from. Simon – now Zeus – is in his awkward phase. His head, while still gorgeous, looks too small for his body. It will all even up in a month or so, and in the meantime he’s just a gloriously gallumphing little guy. He’s growing into quite the snuggle monkey, too.

Alvin still looks like Alvin – round, cartoon eyes and that adorable little grin. He’s just to cute to be anything other than a muppet, I swear.

And speaking of little Alvin, he left today, back to Paula’s first, and from there on Sunday he’s on to his new home. Paula tells me he was NOT happy about the solo car ride home, but he’s settled in well at her place, and is behaving like the little gentleman we know he is. I know he’s on his way to a FABULOUS new home, but I just can’t help missing his little tiny muppet face. His brothers, on the other hand, have been gleefully cackling “More food for US, sucka!”. Hellions, I tell you. Cute hellions, but hellions none the less 😉

You can see the photos over on Flickr, or check out our iPhoto slideshow below.

Outside Puppy Playtime

Just a quick post, because I’m actually stuck at a conference for most of the weekend, but here’s the video that I’ve been promising forever. Sorry about the wait, and the lack of posts – more to come Monday!

Saturday Puppy Cute Overload

"B" is for my French Bulldog Boys

"B" is for my French Bulldog Boys

I am giving you fair warning – the following photos are so loaded with adorable cuteness that you will quite likely be rendered a babbling, crooning, baby talking fool just by looking at them.

Personally, I’ve been reduced to walking around the house clutching at least one puppy to me at all times, while a constant chorus of “Who’s a cute widdle man? You is! You is!” comes burbling out of my lips.

And that’s not a complaint, either.

Photos after the cut.

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