Carol Reiter: New addition, one on the way

May 2, 2009 

CAROL REITER

I forgot.

It's been too long since we've had a puppy. Way too long, apparently, because I forgot what having a puppy around is like.

Our little border collie puppy, Moss, is cute as bug. He's very mottled, like his grandma Jan, and he has one blue eye. He is packed full of personality, and is already growing like a weed.

But he's a puppy. Man, is he a puppy. He chews and bites and jumps and digs and leaves puddles where he's not supposed to.

He discovered that if he ran in front of me and grabbed my shoe, I would stop. He loves that, because if I stop, I might just play with him. But then he tried doing it when I had no shoes on. Man, did that hurt. A little needle tooth in a toe does not feel good.

The other three dogs are taking it pretty well, considering. Lenny is in pout mode, positive that I have once again discovered a way to make his life completely miserable. He grumps around, lifting his lip at the puppy when I'm not watching, and generally just being an old grouch.

But it only took one snap from Len to make Moss realize that the big dog meant business, and now the puppy steers clear of Len.

Jan doesn't much like Moss either. I keep telling her that Moss is her grandson, but she just looks at me and lifts her lip at the puppy. Moss leaves her alone too, so everything is OK.

Peg wants to play with Moss. She wants to, but she sees her mom being mean, so she's not sure she should play with him. Moss isn't afraid of Peg, and he tries to get her to play, and when I'm not looking, and Jan is nowhere around, they play.

But if I look toward the dogs, Peg quits playing. Oh well, she'll get used to the puppy and then they will be friends. It just takes time with my grumpy, self-centered dogs.

At the same time that we brought the puppy home, we got some awesome news.

Our old mare, Mary, is 22 years old this year. Last year, we tried to breed her to Willy, but she didn't take. We had tried for two years before that to breed her, and she wouldn't get bred.

So we just figured she was getting too old, and gave up. In the meantime, she got a big growth on her leg and it needed to come off. But before the vet cut it off, it was mentioned that Mary might be bred.

So he checked her. And to the surprise of everyone, she was bred.

She's due any day now, and we are all on pins and needles waiting for it. Mary was an awesome cutting horse in her time, and then turned into an award-winning show horse. She is incredibly smart, and riding her is like driving a Ferrari. She's quick, she's catty, and I swear she can read your mind.

So this baby should really be something. We don't care what it looks like, or what color it is. We've learned the hard way that hoping for anything other than a healthy foal is playing with fate. We'll be happy with whatever we get.

Mary's baby will be the last of the Willy babies this year. We had a bunch of paints, a bunch of colts (only three fillies) and a bunch of good-minded babies. Willy has turned out to be more than we ever could have hoped for, and we're blessed to have him.

Now all we need is that last baby, and everyone can take a big sigh of relief. Except for me, who has to live with a needle-toothed little puppy who thinks toes are pretty cool to chew on. Oh well, he'll be grown soon enough, so I guess I should enjoy him while I can.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or creiter@mercedsun-star.com.

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