The jig’s up. Someone spilled the beans: a Madcap Tilaboo Bull Terrier puppy will soon be joining our family. And guess what?!? I was invited to the puppy party!! *insert clapping and hopping up and down here*
Meet Florin and Rupee. (Can my grin get any wider?!?) One of these adorable girls will be mine. I am over-the-moon with excitement. I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas Eve. But instead of getting the tree ready and wrapping presents, I’ve scoured out a crate for beside my bed, another for the kitchen, washed soft fleece blankets, and made sure the x-pen is clean and in working order. And I’ve watched Puppy Culture yet again. But the highlight? The very best thing so far, was attending the Puppy Party. It beat out sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what I want for Christmas.
The breeders, Annie and Jane, invited the prospective puppy owners and several of their personal friends. These friends have also been showing dogs and loving bull terriers for decades. It was a guest list that had me eager and excited–a plethora of knowledge regarding bull terriers specifically and conformation in general. Because you see, on top of the fact that my girl is indeed lovely, I learned there is a very real chance she may be lovely enough to wind up in a show ring. Had I considered this when I filled out the puppy application? No, I had not. But when you contemplate the years Madcap has been thoughtfully, painstakingly endeavoring to improve the breed, and the lineage of both Naboo (Madcap Jump for Joy) and Robbie (Emred’s Devil’s Advocate), the potential should come as no surprise. This litter of puppies seems to have been dusted with that elusive show-glitter in spades.
My eye is untrained, so I only saw adorable, fat, chunky, 6-week old puppies. There aren’t words to describe just how adorable they were… and are. But combine puppy breath with the clumsy hops, the eager excitement to see people, the rolling and tumbling as they romped together, the ‘ferocious’ growls and the very real piranha-like teeth as they latched onto pant legs, slipper fleece, or pajama bottoms and, *sigh* Christmas in September is all I can say.
The Puppy Party is not only a great deal of fun, it is also a carefully controlled affair. The purpose behind the experience is to help build confidence and empower the puppies. The entire Puppy Culture program is truly remarkable, the party being but one event amidst the ten weeks the puppies remain under the loving care and watchful eye of the breeder. I was thrilled to be a participant and honored to run one of the stations. Puppies are at each station for two minutes, then moved to the next. The process is repeated and then the puppies are returned to their pen where they promptly fall asleep, worn out by all the excitement, novelty, and learning.
In the next room, we gathered around the dining room table and feasted like Lords and Ladies. Conversation and discussion commenced–I was enthralled… and a bit out of my league–many of the expressions and terms used in regards to the world of show were unfamiliar to me. But what was nice? What was wonderful? There was so much enthusiasm! The love of the breed was palpable and in no time I was asking questions- ones of clarification and ones that clearly demonstrated my ignorance. It didn’t seem to matter, all were answered with thoughtful consideration and respect. Oh, and laughter, there was lots of laughter.
After lunch, the puppies awoke and were brought outside for a romp. As a follow up to our luncheon conversation, Jane took the time to place each puppy on a bench, conducting a mini lesson on what breed standards each one currently possessed. Rupee’s eyes were small, dark, and triangular shaped. Lira’s muzzle was balanced and slender, her ears set high on her head. Shekel’s broad chest combined with his overall ‘typiness’ of the breed were desirable traits. On and on, Annie, Jane, and Gail, calling out what they could see while I looked and tried desperately to see what they saw.
And then, it hit me. Whichever puppy I bring home, however her evaluation turns out in two weeks, these wonderful people are going to be a part of my life–for a long time. If indeed we do wind up in the show ring, they will be there to mentor, help, and support us. If we wind up on the Barn Hunt circuit, they will applaud our successes. Or if we attempt agility, they will eagerly encourage our efforts. It’s not going to matter what we do. My Bull Terrier puppy comes with an amazing family who will be there when we need them. Santa has come early this year. My heart is full.