The New Chronicles of Pupperino

Notwithstanding inasmuch as which we gained a new dog and lost another of long standing, although in later years mostly lying down, I have a further addition to report, in the shape and form of this adorable pupperino:

An Adorable Pupperino, Recently.

The circumstances are as follows. The loss of Heidi hit us hard — especially Mrs Gee, who was present when Heidi had to be put to sleep. Ronnie the Jack Russell, Heidi’s longtime companion, has aged noticeably and has become slightly grumpy. The atmosphere in the house has become spiky. We felt that shalom bayit could not be restored without the cuddly warmth and benign presence of a golden retriever.

Mindful of the fact that many golden retrievers suffer grievously from inbreeding (witness this case history, which you shouldn’t read while eating peanuts or any other choking hazard); and that Heidi suffered from hip dysplasia and came from a slightly-less-than-reputable breeder; we resolved to do it better this time.

Offspring#2, who has sourced most of our pets on the internet, looked for any golden retriever pupperinos advertised by the Kennel Club. Just before Christmas she found a litter, born on 2 December, less than two hours drive from Cromer. (This is itself quite a feat as most destinations of note are at least two hours drive away from Cromer.) The breeder had gone to great pains to ensure the genetic health of her charges. The litter of four pupperinos has a pedigree that includes every ancestor back to the great-great-great grandparents — more complete than most human pedigrees with the possible exception of royalty.

For example, although I know the identities of each one of my four grandparents, I know the names of only three of my eight great-grandparents and just one of my sixteen great-great grandparents.

But wait – there’s more. Although the dogs in the pedigree came from a necessarily restricted range of registered breeders, no individual dog makes more than a single appearance in this extensive chart. This means that the pupperino is as outbred as the albeit limited breeding stock allows. The pedigree of a golden retriever that adorned my teenage years, on the other hand, contained a number of repeat appearances. As I recall, his father, grandfather and great-grandfather might have been the same dog. As for Heidi, her ancestry is a blank. We never received her pedigree as the breeder hadn’t paid the fee to the Kennel Club to register her.

The breeder of the adorable pupperino shown above, had gone even further to ensure that her charges were as outbred and healthy as possible. She had commissioned detailed veterinary checks (including DNA tests) on the pup’s mother and father to eliminate risks of the skeletal and eye problems that afflict this breed.

So it was that between Christmas and New Year we travelled to visit the litter, a tumble of lively pups attended by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. The density of golden retrievers was gorgeously overwhelming — and on Sunday 26 January we went to collect the latest addition to the menagerie. She is just a shade over 8 weeks old.

Now, I know parents like to boast about the accomplishments of their Offspring (and pets), but even on the first day in her new home she answered to her name, which is Posy, and three days later is beginning to have some idea that one goes outdoors to commit elimination and egestion.

She is a playful bundle of energy and floof who is growing almost as one watches and is likely to be quite a big dog when she grows up. I mean, just look at those feet. I suspect that the father was the size of one of those bears in His Dark Materials: you know the ones, like polar bears only much bigger, and wearing bicycle helmets.

She has the golden retriever’s uncomplicated attitude to food, and, like Heidi, loves ripping up pieces of paper (something we missed this year, as we opened our Christmas presents for the first time in more than a decade in the absence of Heidi’s Festival of Ripping Up Wrapping Paper.)

She wants to play with Ronnie and Lulu, but they are currently aloof, as they are progressing through the stages of disruption from Anger, through Bemusement, to Resignation and, hopefully, Participation. In the meantime, Posy interrupts bursts of frenetic activity with long periods of lying at my feet in the Home Office.

She is still young for walks, or visiting the beach – she hasn’t had her vaccinations yet — but the summer will be something to look forward to. We have so many memories of Heidi on the beach. Because that’s where golden retrievers belong.

About Henry Gee

Henry Gee is an author, editor and recovering palaeontologist, who lives in Cromer, Norfolk, England, with his family and numerous pets, inasmuch as which the contents of this blog and any comments therein do not reflect the opinions of anyone but myself, as they don't know where they've been.
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