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The Future



  The evening before the litter was born, Lily was restless and turned down her dinner. We settled into the whelping room for the night. She paced and nested while I attempted to doze. In the early morning hours, I saw she had one of my shoes tucked into the whelping box with her. Thinking I would need it later, I reached into the box of pre-washed puppy toys and found one to offer in trade. That green dinosaur became her favorite puppy. She spent the rest of the night with it in her mouth or nestled between her forelegs.

I gave Lily the run of the house in the morning and she kept her “puppy” in her mouth constantly. When labor started we tried to set it outside of the box and she objected. So it became Puppy Zero. It remained with her as the nine littermates arrived. Lily learned to nurse and clean her new family, and did not neglect her favorite. She always looked somewhat disappointed when she licked under its tail with no result.

We took advantage of this special relationship. In the first days Lily would only leave her puppies if we took Zero along. As the pups became mobile we used Zero to help their dam lie down with them.

This special puppy’s life came close to a tragic end. As Lily became comfortable leaving her brood, she would grab Zero and carry him with her as she left. Once she left him, and one of the youngsters grabbed him and slit his throat. Luckily Rick heard him squeak and ran to the rescue. A few sutures repaired the wound.

Puppy Zero has shown a tremendous amount of early promise, stacking nicely for photos.  But like most "puppy flyers" we expect him/her/it to fall apart as the littermates mature and get outside to run.

Stacked photos at eight weeks reveal a puppy's structure.  Unfortunately that short upper (and lower) arm disqualify this puppy as a show prospect.  I suspect there are some throwback genetics at work here.  It's a shame.  I was looking forward to the challenge of showing a self green sable.