Should they see all the puppies we’d brought back? Would it be easier for them to make a choice if they saw only one or two? We discussed the pros and cons as we drove along. In the end, we decided they had waited for a long time and they deserved to see all the puppies we had and make the choice themselves. I was not particularly sentimental about these puppies. We have a houseful of dogs and each one has its place in our lives. Not one of these puppies would have to be fit into our daily rhythm except for the short time we would have them. Besides, I don’t like the feeling of sentimentality creeping into my daily life. Overt sentimentality makes you vulnerable to those that would prey upon you. Nobody wants that. I am always a little disappointed with myself when I stand in the ring at Montgomery and cry for our Sunshine, gone too soon. This is the one time I indulge those feelings. Not at home in our yard with people coming to choose a puppy.
We had planned to have a puppy pick-up party with all the owners coming to take their puppies home on the same day. But with this family we made an exception and it was decided they would come two days after we arrived home. The whole family was coming and we had to be ready.
Of all our buyers these were the people we were the most confident about. They were experienced Kerry owners and were fun loving with a big family for support. Still, they needed the right puppy for them. Their girl needed to be softer in temperament and one wanting to be with people. By now we knew the puppies much better and had our own ideas about which would be the best puppy.
The appointed hour arrived and the family was at our gate. Dressed in shorts. The puppies had razor sharp nails and teeth. We felt like passing out armor as this rather large group of people sat on the ground: innocent victims in waiting.
Here came the puppies. All five of them. Running, barking and fighting to see who could rip the flesh from the bones of their visitors first. The onslaught was met with delight. Nobody seemed to mind being chewed or scratched. Every puppy was picked up and loved and cuddled like never before. We told them a little bit about each puppy, careful not to seem to be pointing them in one direction or the other. It really was up to them.
The puppies were oblivious to their impending fates. One lucky pup would go home to a real family while the others would have to stay on a little longer. The family had a name picked out for their puppy. Treas, since this was their third Kerry. You could see them studying the puppies and for a while each member seemed to have their own favoirite. One of the boys loved the lone male from the start. This pup was rougher than his sisters and seemed to delight in terrorizing them. But when he was picked up he was quiet and seemed to enjoy the contact.
All the while the Rose puppy mingled in and out of the group. She alone seemed to have figured out these people were visiting for a reason and might be good to know better. Everybody picked her up at one time or another, but Lisa, the mom, seemed to like her a little better than the others. There was some measure of sympathy for the Orange puppy. Smallest and sometimes picked on, she was generally shyer than her littermates. The Pink puppy had a person coming for her on that Sunday as did the Black boy puppy, so they were never really in contention. That left the Rose, Purple and Orange puppies. Which would be chosen. As we played with the little ones on the lawn and patio we all laughed and smiled. The puppy wars were loud and I’m sure their sharp tones could be heard blocks away. All terrier lovers, nobody minded their antics. It was so great to see them all together, happy and learning about their world right in front of us.
As the light was fading, it seemed we had worn each other out. and a decision had been reached. The Rose puppy was leaving and would now have a real name and a real family. Treas was our first to go. In this process we had learned as much as her new family had. For the first time I saw each puppy as an individual, not just one of the litter. A little being, wonderful in its own way, not merely a collection of its faults and shortcomings. I felt pride knowing these puppies had come into the world having as their purpose to make people happy and share love and warmth with their new owners. Wasn’t this as good as a huge rosette that would only fade with time?
In our back yard, on a warm summer evening, every one of those puppies became a part of me. I cared where they went, not just the theory of caring to find the right home for each one, but the real emotional part of caring. Each little face looking up at all of us, wondering what was going on, seemed so much more special to me than it had just a few hours before. I had become sentimental and I suddenly didn’t mind the feeling at all.