Sunday, August 22, 2010

We Mae Have Found Our Fannie!

After a lot of searching over the last two days, it looks like we may have found our next dog. She's silver and black instead of salt and pepper, but that's OK. See if you think this little face is cute....

She's a purebred from a breeder who's been breeding mini Schnauzers for 55 years and was the 2006 AKC Breeder of the Year in the Terrier Group. We're going to visit her tomorrow and, if all goes well, we'll bring the puppy home. She's 8 weeks old and that's the minimum age for a reputable breeder to release a puppy.

More after tomorrow's adventure.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Search is Back On....

Received a call from the breeder this afternoon. It turns out that the puppy we were to get, who he had named "Skinny Minnie", has a severe heart murmur. While it's a good thing this was discovered now, sadly, the puppy will probably have to be put down.

So, we're back searching for and contacting breeders. And, we're keeping the positive attitude that things happen for a reason.

Unfortunately, this probably means that we won't have a dog in time for the next road trip, but the trip is a happening thing regardless.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Naming the Puppy

Like all parents expecting a new arrival, say within the next three to four weeks, the parents are challenged to come up with a name. What a daunting task. You want it to be just the right name, fitting and easy. So, Linda and John poured over thousands of names on the Internet. It was interesting to learn that Maggie was the 3rd most popular female dog name. But, there could never be another Maggie Mae, so that name was out. John was determined that our new dog would NOT have a name like Brittany or Sasha. You get the drift. How about an older name and one a bit more refined (no, not Lady Gag Gag, either)?

One of these eleven cuties (shown at four weeks old) will be our new dog.

After a long struggle, both of us had nearly agreed on "Curleysue". "Curleysue" was an endearing nickname John had given to his beloved Linda Sue when she got a strange permanent. It was shades of Little Orphan Annie and the nickname stuck. When mini Schnauzers need a haircut (yes, they have hair, not fur, which is why they don't shed) their hair gets pretty curly, especially around their paws and on the fringe of their "undercarriage". John was willing to accept "Curleysue" as the new dog's name, but it just didn't feel quite right.

The pups were born on July 4th, so Linda came up with Betsy Ross. Other ideas put forth by Linda were Heidi Ho, Poppy Sue, Heidi Doody (Howdy Doody's sister), Abigail, Amanda, Zoe Sue, Zelda May, Peggy Sue, Natasha, Holly, Gracie, Betsy Lou, Angel and Sara Dippity. Obviously, Linda wasn't that committed to "Curleysue".

Yesterday morning, John made the mistake of making and drinking two double mochas, followed in the afternoon by a Starbuck's Mocha Frappacino. John did a lot of tossing and turning that night, but it paid off. He conjured up a name for the new puppy that we both really like.

We think the name will be a real conversation starter. The conversation will start like this.....

"Hi! That's a cute dog. What's his name?"

"Oh, it's a girl and her name is Fannie Mae."

"Why on God's green earth would you ever name your dog after the Federal National Mortgage Association?"

"Oh goodness, we didn't do that! Want to hear the rest of the story?"

If they say "No", we'll remind them that they will go to their grave not knowing how Fannie Mae got her name. If they say "Yes", we'll tell them this little "tail".

To conform to the Miniature Schnauzer breed standards, new pups have their tails docked (cut off) when they are two to three days old. They are left with a stub that's a couple of inches long. It's all good! First, when they are fully grown, they won't beat their humans with their tail. Second, the dog has no chance of developing an obsession to endlessly chase its tail round and round in a circle. Third, they can still raise that stub when they are excited. They can point it straight back when they are calm and happy. And, when they cower, they can't really put their tail between their legs (remember, they have no tail), but they can fold their stub down over their little behind.

Now, as far as the mini Schnauzer knows, they still have a real tail. And, when they are happy they can wag that tail. They don't realize it's just a stub and that no big semaphore flag is flapping back and forth. And, when a mini Schnauzer gets that stub really wagging, their whole rear end gets into the act. It seems like the muscles that pull the stub one way, have to go in the opposite direction. So, it appears that their rear end and their stub are going in different directions. It's a really cute sight.

So, what does all this have to do with naming the puppy? Even when the look on the dog's face might not tell you just how joyful and happy she is at that moment, her Fannie Mae.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Adding Joy to Your Life

When John picked Linda up at the San Jose airport after her visit to Texas, she started tearing up a bit when she got in the car. Normally, Maggie Mae would have been with John. It's funny how the house can feen so much more empty than before.

We had talked on the phone while she was in Texas and both agreed that some day we should have another dog. And, we agreed that the dog would be a female, miniature Schnauzer, Salt and Pepper colored with uncropped ears and a docked tail. We weren't ready to talk about when.

John had been thinking about right after our next road trip in October, or just after the first of next year. One evening, he broached the subject with Linda and shared his thoughts. Linda had already been looking a mini-Schnauzer breeder sites. John said he would understand if Linda wanted to wait a while. Her reply, "Why postpone adding something to your life that brings you joy?"

Linda found the name and contact information of a lady in the Northern California Miniature Schnauzer Club whose job is to refer people to reputable breeders. Linda contacted her and got the name of a breeder in Northern California. She called the breeder who had two litters of pups (4 male and 7 female) from two moms. They were born on the Fourth of July. This breeder also participates in dog shows, so he will be keeping from two to four of the females. John called again today and spoke with him. All eleven of the pups at four weeks of age are shown in the photo below, and we have no idea which one would become "our" dog:

One of our concerns was our upcoming road trip. Should we try to take a puppy on this adventure. We dropped by our vet's office today and found out that it would be great for the puppy to go on the adventure with us. When John spoke to the breeder today, the breeder told him that he takes the puppies in his motor home and that he also crate trains the pups.

So, this afternoon we have mailed our deposit check to the breeder. It will be somewhere between three and six weeks before we can pick up our puppy. Then, we'll still have plenty of time to take her by the vet before we head out on the road trip.

Since we received Maggie Mae as an adult, we have to study about raising a puppy. John ordered two books for us to start learning.