Dionne not only has a unique sense of humor but also a theatrical sense of timing. Steve and I are about to embark on a trip to the East Coast for about a week, and this morning I was all set to deliver Dionne to Cynthia, the gracious puppy-sitter who helped to take care of her in June. But this weekend, a couple of things became noticeable:
1) Increased levels of Dionne licking her private parts, which look swollen
2) Suspicious rust-colored spots on the floor

Flaunting it

By last night, we were all but certain that she was starting her first heat. (At eleven-plus months, her age is right for it.)

When Darby, our last puppy, went into heat, I called Becca Gordon, the puppy program coordinator. She asked me to come in and have Dionne swabbed to make sure the heat indeed was starting. When I did this, Becca reported that it hadn’t quite started, but the cells indicated it was just about to begin. So I left Darby for the mandatory incarceration that some puppyraisers irreverently dub “Sex Jail,” and others call “Girl Camp.”

This morning Becca was out, so I talked to Stu, the program manager. He said it was a busy morning, with two other girls coming in for their confinement.  He made no mention of testing Dionne. “Bring her in and we’ll just keep her here,” he said.

Upon our arrival at the Oceanside center, Dionne was all but exploding with excitement. At the sight of the life-size yellow labrador retriever statue that’s chained up in the reception area, she barked. Several times.  (Something about it clearly creeped her out.)

“My, so excitable!” Stu commented as he took her leash. This is not a great thing to hear. (All three of our previous CCI puppies who were released had excitability issues.)

I must admit, that fake dog DOES look awfully real.

In response to a question from me, Stu confirmed that part of the reason CCI requires the girls to spend their cycles in the kennels is because the organization doesn’t want to run any risk of the puppies getting accidentally impregnated by some determined canine Lothario. But Stu added that another reason was the acknowledgment that dogs in heat are messy. Since CCI requires that most female puppies be kept intact (unspayed) until a determination can be made as to whether they might be good candidates for breeding, the organization doesn’t want to impose that messiness on the puppy-raisers.

Frankly, it IS nice not to have to deal with the blood and spotting.  On the other hand, I’ve missed Dionne all afternoon.  We’re not likely to see her again for at least three weeks.  So this milestone is a mixed blessing.

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