Denver - March 5, 2013
We're puppy sitting for an 8-week old puppy named Charlie this week.
"Why is he here?" I asked Marianne as Charlie gleefully snatched a toy from under my paw. "Hey, I was playing with that!" I told him.
"Mine now," he laughed. "Mine mine mine mine mine. Ha."
"It's because Sandy, his puppy raiser, had a ski vacation planned before she agreed to raise Charlie and he's too little to ski," Marianne said, rescuing my toy and giving Charlie another one.
Charlie abandoned the new toy and pounced on Diddums, holding him down and nibbling on his whiskers. "YUM," he said.
Diddums wrenched himself away and leaped to the desk. He pawed at his face. "Are my whiskers shorter on the left now? Do they look funny?" he asked anxiously.
Marianne examined Diddums. "Maybe just a little shorter," she admitted. "Hardly noticeable at all." Diddums gave a disgusted sigh and began washing his face.
"Time for a nap, Pink Puppy," Marianne told Charlie. She scooped him up and took him back to the crate in the bedroom. After a minute of outraged shrieking we were treated to blissful silence.
"Why did you call him "Pink Puppy?" His fur looks plenty black to me," I asked Marianne when she came back to the living room. "Is it because he's wearing a girly pink collar? I sure hope Sandy gets him a new collar soon; he's gonna get teased if he wears that one to puppy class."
"Wow, that's mean," Marianne said. "I think he looks lovely in pink."
Marianne frowned at me. "What are you - 12-weeks old? Stop being rude. Besides, it's not a fashion choice; the color is meaningful in CCI world. Puppies are assigned a color depending on their birth order. Charlie was the seventh puppy so his color is light pink and that's the collar his breeder caretaker put on him. You were the first puppy in your litter so your color is red."
"Well that's just weird. Who cares which puppy was born first or seventh?"
"Imagine a litter of 10 black puppies. How would you know which one was which? CCI's breeder caretakers assign the colors as soon as each pup is born, always using the same order of colors. They put on rick-rack or yarn collars at first and then introducing real collars as the pups get older. It's important for the breeder caretakers to keep detailed records on each puppy, and in order to do that they created the color system."
"Huh. Well, I guess that makes sense. What are the other colors?"
"I'll have to look it up. Hang on," Marianne said as she opened her laptop and started searching. "OK, here's the list."
4. neon green
5. neon pink
7. light pink,
10. dark green
15. nude (no color!)
"Interesting. What happens if there's a 16th puppy?" I wondered..
"My guess is that the breeder caretaker starts drinking heavily," Marianne joked. "But I'll find out if there has ever been a litter that large."
According to Jan, one of Marianne's dogs-in-law (they raised littermates Stryker and Suva), "I found a litter of 15 born to Pepper and Neptune on 4/6/04 -- an L litter. I also found 3 litters of 14 and 7 litters of 13."
Marianne shook her head in wonder. "That's a LOT of puppies to manage," she said. "I think CCI's breeder caretakers are the hardest-working volunteers of all."
"Or the breeder moms," I said. "I think I'd better send my mom Rumor a Milk Bone bouquet!"
Chow for now!