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I have all of the Canine Companion phone numbers programmed in to my phone. I may have mentioned before that as a puppy raiser, when you turn your pups in all future news (good or bad) comes from your puppy program manager (PPM). So while normally I would welcome a call from our PPM when you have a dog at puppy college you really don’t want to hear from her unless it is near graduation time. Seeing her name pop up when you get a phone call at least gives you a ring or two to prepare before answering.

When my phone rang and I saw it was our national breeding and puppy program manager I was curious to say the least. The C litter had been on the ground for about a week and all was going along swimmingly. Just up the bay about 4 days before the C litter was born Sabina’s sister from another mister had her very first litter. Jade (Glade is her official CCI name), had her first litter of 12 hungry puppies. For what could have been a myriad of reasons Jade was having difficulty keeping up with milk production, and the pups needed to be fostered out.

Yeah – pretty much not the call I thought I would be getting on a random Tuesday afternoon. At some point this would become a matter of life and death for these pups and we wanted to intervene long before that, which led to a Tuesday night pick up of the W pups.

Before I tell you what happened next I have to share the puppy drop-off / pick-up process. Very long time volunteer and breeder caretaker Pam often (generally weekly, or near weekly) makes the trip between Sacramento and Santa Rosa. This makes her the defacto “CCI express delivery service” that most of us have taken advantage of at one point or another. In an attempt to make the delivery as simple and convenient for Pam as possible we meet in a fast food parking lot on her way home.

First the restaurant (and I use that term loosely) is not in the best part of town. By not best I don’t mean poor, I mean high crime in the nearby areas. However this is a highly visible freeway close fast food destination. Still there are a variety of people parading through as you are waiting to meet Pam. While you’re sitting there watching the stream of people the absurdity generally hits me. As someone who has never been involved in a drug deal I assume that this is what it must be like. I am sitting in my car, windows and doors locked, trying not to look like matter out-of-place or to draw any undue attention to myself.

The hand off is swift and for those of us who have done it a few times there is a little dance that happens coordinating dogs, dog food, and other dog paraphernalia from one vehicle to another. Little talking or visiting, we get our merchandise and head our separate ways. It is really pretty funny.

This time was no different – as soon as Pam rolled into the parking lot, puppy people began emerging from their vehicles. I brought my own transport box (What are YOU looking at? Haven’t you seen a woman walking around a fast food parking lot carrying a large black laundry basket before?) The hand off was swift – two little helpless bundles shuffled from a crate into our laundry basket and then on the road home to Auntie Sabina’s house.

Sabina is the most awesome dog I have ever known. I am highly confident that this integration is going to go well. At the best she is going to be excited to take them on, at worst she won’t be happy but still follow direction. I will admit I am a little worried, but it is more about making sure these little pups are nourished and hoping I didn’t just take on a bottle feeding project.

Worry was for not. Don’t get me wrong I did get the Sabina eye roll and under the breath grumble but then she just rolled back over and let them nurse. All puppies act, all the time, like they are starving but these two were certainly hungry. Phewww – I am taking that as a good sign. She doesn’t seem to keen on cleaning them, but I can manage a little back-end clean up as long as she provides the front end feedings.

You’re the best Auntie Sabina. Simply the best.