There’s quite the buzz these days among the CCI puppy raisers over a particular litter of puppies. No, not Jeb’s litter. This litter is the Extra-special E litter, sponsored by Eukanuba. And guess who is raising one? Food Lady! Er, I mean Donna Sword. You may remember that she raised Mars’ littermate, Micron, making her and Marianne and John dogs-in-law. Funny, this CCI family. She recently turned in her third CCI puppy, Yaxley, to the North Central Campus for Advanced Training. Of course I had to find out more about this E puppy:
ROCKET: How did you end up with an E puppy? Some connection to Eukanuba perhaps?
DONNA: Yep, I work for P&G Pet Care in Research & Development Finance. I’m actually a heritage Iams employee having started with The Iams Company eighteen years ago. I’d been in love with the Eukanuba and Iams brands of pet food since before I started here. Truth be told, it was after I started feeding this food to my pets that got me wanting to be part of making these great products. The Iams Company was local at that time and I thought it to be an incredible business. I still do.
So when the Eukanuba team contacted me about the upcoming E litter and if I would be interested in raising a puppy, well, I jumped at the opportunity. And not just me; we’ll have two other P&G Pet Care employees raising a E puppies, too. This will be the first time we’ve raised littermates at the office.
ROCKET: How fun! I wish I had littermates at my office. Do you know which puppy you’re getting? Male or female? Do you know the name? Collar color (indicating birth order)?
Donna: I do indeed! We’re being assigned Euka II, the precious little package with the bright pink collar. She’s named after the Eukanuba brand, but is also the namesake of Euka, our recently retired VP of Canine Communications at P&G Pet Care. Here's a link to an article about Euka.
Ah, but Euka II won’t be stepping into Euka’s paw prints in the executive suite. Instead she’ll be hanging with me in Pet Care R&D to learn about her career as a service-pup-in-training.
Euka is pronounced like yooka. Which also sounds like yuca (not to be confused with yucca), mentions a South American friend. So what’s a yuca?, I asked her. She says, a tuber. It’s kind of like a sweet potato. Ok, so our Euka II is like a little sweet tater. Looking at her on the livestream, I think that fits her nicely.
DONNA: It’s a link to a live “Puppy Cam.” Check it out!
ROCKET: (Watching in fascination) Oh, my. Marianne and her colleagues would get absolutely no work done if I showed them this. DO NOT TELL THEM OR WE’LL HAVE NO NEWS ON THE AIR! Confess: how much time are you spending watching the puppy cam?
DONNA: Um, I dunno. It’s not like I can be all stealthy about it during the workday. Because every time I log on, I tend to squee and call everyone over to watch something that’s just stinkin’ adorable. Like when little blue was on his back like a turtle, stubby legs kicking the air. Or when light pink fell asleep draped over a nursing littermate. Or when Mom Taya gently nudges . . . well, you understand, right?
The puppies’ eyes will be opening soon and then real exploration of the world begins. There’s no hope for me after that.
ROCKET: Jeepers, I can hardly stop watching it myself. (Turning away with difficulty) Huh. Hey, you write a blog that we love (Raising a Super Dog.) Will you be doing extra blogging or special reporting for this puppy?
DONNA: My blogging schedule will be the same, I think. Posts go up twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays. What will be different is that we have three puppy raisers at P&G Pet Care that will be raising E puppies. Two of us are experienced puppy raisers and one is a first timer. So we’ll have littermate training (and playtime!) photos to share. Oh, lots of photos to come.
ROCKET: What’s it mean that Eukanuba is sponsoring the litter?
DONNA: Eukanuba has a Facebook app dedicated to CCI and the E litter. Links to the Livestream Puppy Cam is on this page, as well as how to click to support Eukanuba’s $100,000 donation to CCI. Each click is free for us, but is worth a $1 donation from Eukanuba.
But really exciting is that Eukanuba will be following this litter from birth until the pups become assistance dogs. We can spend the next two years with these puppies, getting to know them as their personalities develop. I’m really liking this idea and completely jazzed to be part of it.
ROCKET: I should think so! Have you told Micron, your other dog Jager and the cats about Euka? What do they think about her?
DONNA: Oh, poor Jager. He’s asking for the same thing he’s always wanted: a water bowl of his own without the retriever backwash. But Micron is looking forward to a playmate again. Jager is a great squeaky toy, he says, but he does prefer the energy of a fellow retriever. There’s no talking to the cats. Their goal remains unchanged - world domination, starting with our household. They both have vetoed the puppy idea. But as long as we keep the food bowls separate, I think we might enjoy a degree of domestic harmony.
ROCKET: You crack me up! Have you heard from Yaxley yet?
DONNA: After a month of Advanced Training at CCI, Yaxley has decided that this career is not for him. He would rather be a beloved family dog, he says. Maybe a gig as a nanny would be worth exploring. Yaxley has been adopted by one of my co-workers who has known him since he was a cotton-ball. He’s moved in their home pre-loved, an enviable position, I’d say. This is a young family and Yaxley will have a little boy of his very own. Even better, he still comes into the office a couple times a week for play dates with Micron. These two just picked up right where they left off.
ROCKET: As Marianne says, we all end up in our perfect life, even if it’s not as assistance dogs. Sounds like Yaxley knew what he really wanted. What else should I tell my readers?
DONNA: Rocket, thank you so much for the interview. I encourage everyone to keep in touch with the extraordinary E litter on Eukanaba’s Facebook page over the next several months. And to check in on Raising a Super Dog to read about Euka II’s puppy adventures. Euka II will be arriving at our place in mid-November. We simply can’t wait! This is going to be another amazing ride.