I was pretty sure Beverly would go into heat before her first birthday. Steve bet me ($5) that she wouldn’t. He won. For weeks, I’ve been making her roll and checking for the swelling that normally precedes each cycle, but I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary.
Although I lost the bet (and my $5), I’ve been scared that she would start sometime in the past week or two. If that had happened, we would have had to take her to the kennel (either at the CCI campus in Oceanside or to an alternative facility). CCI typically does not spay the female puppies until after they’ve begun their advance training, since there they they might be selected to be a breeder. But they don’t want to risk the girls accidentally getting pregnant — or to subject puppyraisers to what is invariably a pretty messy interlude. That’s why the kennel stay is mandatory, and it usually lasts about three weeks.
I was worried about the timing because Steve and I are about to depart on some extended travels in Arabia and Uganda. I’ve arranged for Beverly’s care in our absence, but adding Beverly-in-heat to the mix would have been a bit of a nightmare.
That still could happen. I’m writing this post from the airport in LA. We dropped Beverly off at her first set of sitters yesterday afternoon. She’ll be with John and Diana for two weeks, then she’ll spend a long weekend with Susan and Frank. After that she’ll return to our house, for care by a team that includes our housesitter, our son, and a friend and former puppy-raiser who lives just a few blocks from our house.
If Beverly goes into heat while we’re gone, everyone knows that she needs to go to the kennel. I’m confident it will all work out.
And somehow, even though we’re all still waiting for her to go into heat, I suspect it will feel less urgent from the other side of the globe.
For some months, we’ve known that Beverly was afraid of staircases with open treads. Several of our past puppies have developed the same phobia, so it came as no surprise to see it again. Eventually each of her predecessors overcame it, so we’re optimistic that Beverly will do so too.
But now, out of nowhere, something else has begun to terrify her: street grates. We first learned about this reaction a few weeks ago when she was staying with a puppy-sitter who observed it and reported it to us. I knew it wasn’t uncommon; CCI’s monthly puppy report form even lists “avoids grates” as a possible issue involving surfaces that one’s puppy might be struggling with. Steve and I have never had to check that particular box in the past, but now we’re seeing what grate fear looks like.
We’ve been trying to work through it, mainly by being calm and cheerful to demonstrate that grates are not malevolent monsters waiting to gobble up unwitting puppies. Sometimes we try to lure her on them with extraordinary treats (liverwurst! smelly sausage!)
This morning, Steve and I actually got her to walk on this grate, located in the alley near our house (though I failed to photograph her success, being involved in the coaxing, as I was.) We’re hopeful that, with patient instruction, she’ll get past this (literal) bump in the road.
Beverly passed the one-year mark yesterday. She’s grown into a beautiful and pleasant companion — the easiest CCI puppy we’ve ever raised. To mark the occasion, we should have done something special, but I have to confess we failed at that. It was already something of a dog party, however, given the presence of our grand-dog, Felina, here in Southern California on her first big road trip with our son Michael and his pack.
Upon her arrival, Beverly was mesmerized by the corgi. Beverly struck various “puppy play” positions (paws down; butt up in the air), but Felina only barked back, occasionally charging as if to herd Beverly. This launched Beverly into crazy pirouettes and racing circuits, which I tried repeatedly to record. I finally captured the following. (Forgive the shaky camera work.)
Steve and I feel almost as puzzled by Felina at times as Beverly appears to be. We live so deeply embedded in the CCI universe, and we’re so accustomed to CCI puppies, it’s eye-opening to suddenly be living with a dog who doesn’t know all our clubby commands for daily life. (Not to mention thinking like a corgi).
We’re all getting along, mind you. It’s just educational — and fun for a change of pace.
Living in the retriever world, as I have for so many years, my knowledge of corgis was next to nil until about 18 months ago. Then my son Michael and his girlfriend Stephanie acquired a corgi puppy whom they named Felina. She’s been a source of great entertainment for them (and the subject of many of Michael’s Facebook posts), but because they live in Reno, we had not yet met Felina in person. That changed this weekend, when they traveled to Southern California to participate in an event called Corgi Beach Day. I couldn’t resist making the two-hour drive up to Huntington Beach yesterday morning, and I took Beverly with me. (Mike said she could be an honorary corgi.)
Michael had said that as many as 1000 corgis might be converging. I was skeptical. The day started out gray and chilly, not exactly beach weather. But as Beverly and I approached the meeting spot, the clouds were clearing, and I could see people with leashes attached to little dogs with perky ears and stumpy legs streaming toward the designated dog beach. Beverly and I joined them, passing more than one car bearing a “Corgi On Board” bumper sticker. Sure enough, the beach held a large cluster of tents and people and frantic canine activity.
Beverly and I only stayed for about 90 minutes, but that was enough to get a taste of how fanatic the corgi crew can be. The theme of this day’s event was tikis, and many of the corgis were costumed to reflect that.
The tents were jammed with corgi-themed merch and services.…along with contests (for costumes, limbo ability, “cupcake”-eating prowess). Beverly and I caught the “talent show” and we glimpsed a tiny bit of the arcana of this subculture, in which dogs are known as “loaves” (because of their resemblance to the baked bread dough), their furry butts are commonly called “momos” (because of their resemblance to peaches, aka “momo” in Japanese), and the pose in which a corgi’s legs splay out from the dog’s prone body is known as a “sploof.”)
I learned that corgis come both with and without tails, and they come in various colors — even pure white and “merle.”We could have adopted a corgi, and brought it home. But I wasn’t sure what the rest of my pack would think of that.Anyway, since Michael and his gang drove down after the beach event and are staying with us for the next few days, we’re getting a brief taste of actual life with a corgi. To be continued.
I’m the one who dropped the ball of reporting on the life of Beverly. The life of Jeannette got super busy with travel and work for a couple of weeks, and then I sort of lost the habit of keeping up with posting.
But Beverly had a few excellent adventures during this spell. One long weekend, she stayed with Lisa Matthews, who lives in our neighborhood and raised Kora. Turned in last November, Kora appeared to be headed for graduation this coming May, but in the 11th hour, she was released for barking and a couple of other problems. Lisa had not yet gotten this news when Beverly stayed with her, but after Kora’s release, the two girls shared a fun-filled afternoon.
The next weekend, Beverly stayed with our long-time puppy-sitting heroes, Susan and Frank. They took her on some great outings, as usual, including a movie excursion.
As in the past, they had only the warmest praise for her.
Steve and I — and Beverly — will be setting off on more adventures eight days from now, but in the meantime, we have interesting activities plans. Stay tuned. (I will make every effort to report on some of them.)