The Home Team: From Novia Scotia to Westport, live via the puppy cam!
Published 7:19 am, Saturday, September 6, 2014
On Aug. 12, up in Ardoise, Nova Scotia, Chloe and Liam gave birth to six squirmy little reddish puppies -- five boys and a girl. This event was significant to me because, as you may have guessed, one of these tiny little Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers will be mine. And if you put any stock in dates as auguries, the way my family members -- crazily superstitious sports fans -- all do, then the birthday was an auspicious one: Aug. 12, 2003, was the day we brought home another little puppy -- our dear departed Ricky the beagle.
Next weekend, my oldest son, Matt, and I will be flying to Halifax for a short excursion that will be part pleasure, part business. The pleasure will be exploring, biking and kayaking in a part of the world I'm told is drop-dead gorgeous. The "business" will be to try to get a fix on which one of those cute little tollers will eventually be Puppy Herman. Then, in early December, after what I'm sure will seem like an endless wait (bringing a dog across the border adds eight weeks to the process), my friend Lang and I will drive up to Ardoise to bring the pup home to Connecticut.
But in the meantime ... there's puppy cam.
That's right: Here in 2014, in the bright new world of there's-just-about-nothing-you-can't-see-live-on-the-Internet, I can kick back and watch the future Puppy Herman grow and develop whenever I want. (If you care to, you too can have a peek: Just go to the Salty Dog Kennel website and click on the "Puppies" tab.) Don't get me wrong: It's not like I follow the Puppy Cam constantly. I only watch, I don't know, maybe six hours a day?
(Oh, look now! Green Collar is going all macho, and challenging Orange Collar to play-fight. How cute is that!)
Now, I have to admit that even though Chloe, the mom, is gorgeous (OK, so I might be a little partial), for the first few days the puppies looked kind of like ... mice. Their eyes were still closed, and they'd blindly tumble all over each other in their constant search for mommy and her milk. But now they're more than three weeks old. They can see. They're starting to walk, though they still stumble and bumble quite a bit. (I can see Orange Collar right now, trying to make his way across the pen. Awww!) Their coats are getting redder, their white markings more distinguished. They're getting cuter by the day. Yes, things are starting to get interesting.
Since I'm hoping to do just a little better in the obedience department than I did with Prince Ricky, I've already lined up a trainer. She tells me I don't want the most timid pup in the litter (that would be Red Collar, who spends most of the day sleeping apart from the rest under the pen's overhang), but I also don't want the most aggressive (that would be Purple Collar, who constantly claws his way to Chloe the Milk Wagon, damn whichever sibling gets in his way).
So which one is mine?
Is it Green Collar, who seems to be licking his toes right now? Is it Pink, who's taking a little nap with Orange? Or is it Blue, whose tail hasn't stopped wagging for even one second since I started watching this morning?
To find out, stay tuned to the Puppy Cam!
Hank Herman is a Westport writer, and "The Home Team" appears every other Friday. You can keep up with him on his "Beagle Man" blog -- http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/ -- and on Twitter @BeagleManHank. He may be reached at DoubleH50@gmail.com.