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We often tell people Sabina is non-verbal. To our other puppy raiser friends that means she doesn’t alert bark or know the speak command. However she is pretty darn verbal. Don’t get me wrong, we tried very hard to get her to speak, and now that she isn’t subject to all of the service dog rules I would love a big beefy bark on command when there is someone at the door. Just not going to happen with this dog. When Dave was trying to teach her speak she totally looked at him as if he was an ass and speaking was beneath her. (God how I wish I had video of that.)

One of Sabina’s many nicknames is “sassy.” I grew up in the “sass mouth” era; as in “don’t you sass me young lady” or “I will wash that sass right out of your mouth missy.” Even as a pretty young pup she would express displeasure with a little grumble under her breath in that got to get the last word in type of deal, like she was sass mouthing me. Still when I give her a command she doesn’t feel like doing, take away a toy, or in general tell the queen bean no, she will still comply but has to throw a little sass in.

In extreme cases of her really needing our attention she will toss in a whine or two. Whining is generally reserved for “hello, I have been sitting at the door for over 5 minutes like you taught me, can’t you see I need to go out?” It is also used for my favorite – “HEY it is 0330 and am about to blow chunks you better let me out of this kennel!!” There is also an occasional “I am so excited that (fill in the blank) is walking up to the door, or I am so excited we are almost to the CCI Campus I have to emit some sort of sound whine.”

However when the puppies arrive there is a whole new vernacular. It goes something like this:

  • Sitting in the box or leaning on me, staring at me accompanied with a consecutive string of sass mouth grunts = Time for my 800th meal of the day! Let’s go!
  • General sass mouth grunt after given the “pool” command (get in the whelp box) = seriously these little ankle biters are hungry again?
  • Whining like something is killing me = there is a puppy in my armpit, get it out!

Yep – a puppy in her armpit. Actually it could also mean there is a puppy squeezing in between my back and the whelp box, but generally it means there is a puppy in my armpit. Puppies need three things at this point: sleep, food, and warmth. They are constantly moving around, burrowing to find the best place to sleep, eat, and get warm. I am amazed at their ability to squeeze in and under things. While I think puppy butt sticking out from under her armpit looks cute, I guess if I where her I would like to be able to lay down and get some rest. After all everything else about them, armpits appear to be her last attempt at self-preservation.

I guess something has to be sacred right? Why not armpits? I don’t particularly like people probing around in my armpits either. She

probably deserves to have puppy-free armpits considering that they are everywhere else climbing on her head, wedging themselves under her tail and hanging off her … okay that may have gone to a bit too far. Sabina – I herby declare your armpits as off-limits and willdo my best to keep them puppy-free. If one sneaks past me just let me know, it is the least I can do.

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