Last week you met my boys, today I'll introduce the girls. My girls are much rougher and tougher than the boys. They have very strong personalities and are each very different.
Samba is the mother of the pups. She's the leader of the pack of ten and lets them all know it. If someone gets out of line, she'll growl or flash her teeth. Even though she's smaller than any of her pups, she'll put them on their backs in submissive poses if she thinks they need some discipline.
Samba is the most loyal dog I've ever known. She stays by my side at all times and if I have to leave her behind when I go out, she lets out a heartbreaking cry, then I can hear her sobbing as I go down the steps. Rob has told me that she waits by the door all the while I'm gone.
When Rob takes the dogs outside without me, I always have to walk Samba to the door and tell her it's OK to go. If I don't she'll stay with me instead of going out to play with the others.
Samba loves to ride, but is restless in the car. She wants to be there immediately. If she could talk she'd be asking, "Are we there yet? How much longer?"
Her favorite time of the day is dinner. Samba loves to eat. She has opened the pantry door and gotten into the dog food and eaten until she got sick. She likes kids because she sees them as good sources of food at her level.
Tess is beautiful. She's probably the prettiest of all our dogs, but we have fewer pictures of her than any of the others. She's shy and seems to avoid the camera, but she also is always in motion. Tess loves to run and jump and never stops. She will retrieve a ball for hours, always bringing it directly back to the thrower.
Tess has the sweetest, gentlest manner of all the pups. She loves to cuddle and her very favorite thing is to have her belly rubbed. She's easily distracted and has to be reminded several times each meal to eat. She'll see something and wander off to investigate and forget about her food. Her training is taking longer than the others, too, because she is so easily distracted. If I give a command it takes a while for her to process it and perform it. Once she does it, I have to be careful with my praise. If I'm too enthusiastic with praise, she'll jump up and run in circles with excitement. Tess needs a calm atmosphere to work in.
Tess has some physical problems. She has deformities in her legs. We had hoped to show her, but when she was about three months old she developed a strange walk with her front legs spread far apart. At first the vet thought it might be just laziness and that she would outgrow it, but it continued to get more pronounced.
X-rays showed us that there is a curvature to the bones in her front legs. It seems that sometimes the bones grow at different rates and the longer bone curves to accommodate the shorter one. Now that she is mature, you can feel the curve. We x-rayed the back legs, too. The hips look good, but her knee joints are out of alignment. She has a strange, unattractive gait, but it doesn't stop her. She runs as fast as any of the others and is always on the go. We know that in the future Tess will probably have some arthritic problems, but we're ready.
Rob declared Lola the most beautiful puppy he's ever seen. Today she's a big sturdy girl who loves to run and play. She has a gorgeous coat, but Lola isn't the best behaved dog. She's stubborn and she has selective hearing. We're working on that.
Lola started obedience class last summer, but didn't make it through. She was distracted and distracted the other dogs with her jumping and spinning. She does know some commands, but is slow to respond, hoping I'll change my mind and she won't have to do it. We have to be firm with her and be sure to follow through.
Lola loves to play ball, but gets tired of it after a few throws and runs away with the ball. She is a persistent thief. She counter-surfs and anything she can reach is in danger. I always have to be aware of where Lola is and what she's showing an interest in.
Norma Jean is the happiest dog in the world. She has never had a bad day. Nothing gets this dog down. Tell her she's been bad, so what? Take something away from her, OK she'll find something else. Lola doesn't want to play with her, she'll go play with Tess. She takes things as they come. She's very much like her father, Fudge.
Norma Jean has always been my special dog. We were worried about her at birth because the puppy before her was injured during birth and didn't survive. She was the last one born and I held my breath, but she was strong and healthy. In fact, she was the largest and acted like a little bulldozer pushing the others pups out of her way so she could get to the best food source. When she was only two weeks old Dr B told me that she was too fat and I should hold her for two minutes while the others got a headstart on nursing.
Norma Jean is a messy dog, she likes to roll in the grass and in mud. She can't stay away from water and I am always catching her with her feet in the water bowl. I try to stop her before she starts paddling and sending water flying all over the room. I'm hoping to get her and Tess to the lake this year so they can really enjoy the water.
Yesterday she decided she needed to dig the trampoline out from under all the snow. None of the others were interested in helping her, so she worked on it by herself for quite a while.
Norma Jean lives to please. She loves people and just wants to play and be loved. She's a rather strange looking dog with her huge white face, but she's so friendly that most people can't resist her.
Bailey is a loner. She's very independent and likes to take a toy and go off by herself to play. She will join in a run around with the others sometimes, but she often just watches. She's always been that way. Before her eyes opened she was attempting to climb out of the whelping box. We had a rail around the sides of the box so the pups could get under it and not get squashed by Samba. Bailey would get one leg up on the rail and try to drag herself up onto it.
The day after her eyes opened, she managed to climb out. There has been almost no containing her since. At three and a half weeks we moved them to a pen in the kitchen. It had two foot high wire sides. By the time she was five weeks old she could climb out. She has also learned to climb ladders. She loves to dig and has criss- crossed the yard with her trenches. I watch closely that she doesn't dig near the fence. She is the best candidate to escape.
Bailey does not play ball. She takes her ball and finds a quiet spot to play with it. She spends hours hunting for mice and moles and loves to track rabbits and squirrels. She goes back and forth over their tracks endlessly. She has caught a bird on the fly and even watches bugs in the grass. She's a bit cool with strangers and needs to get to know them before she warms up. She is very quick to learn commands, but if she's hunting, she'll ignore us. She's a thief and is so fast that she'll get away with something before you realize it's gone.