I realized that the puppies are six weeks old now, and I’ve been hoarding all that puppy goodness to myself. I apologize. That was so selfish of me. To make up for it, I’ll introduce you to the gang and tell you a little about each. Some general information first:

  • 7 puppies total, including two females and five males
  • Both parents are American Working Farmcollies, and both really do work here on the farm. They work hard, and they never take a day off. They even work nights. I wouldn’t do what they do for what I pay them.
  • At six weeks, they’re eating lots of crunchy puppy food, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and dry dog food from the big dogs’ bowl whenever Papa Ralphie Dog isn’t looking. They’re not weaned yet and still enjoy a snack of mama’s milk whenever she’ll stand still for that.
  • The names we use here aren’t their permanent, forever names. We just have to call them something when we’re telling each other what cute thing one of them did. It’s simpler to use a name than to start with ‘you know the black one with the spot on its nose — not the one with the funny pineapple or rabbit ears or whatever on his chest, but the other one.’ (We had those sorts of conversations before the pups earned their temporary names).
  • It was an oops litter. We’d planned for puppies from this pair, but not this year. The dogs, apparently, didn’t feel the need to consult us about their choices.

The last week has been full of adventures. First, the pups were evicted from the humans’ house and took up residence in the big old dog house at the bottom of the yard. In and under . . . mostly under. They love the holes in the concrete blocks. Fortunately, there’s a block at each corner and two more for the doghouse doorstep. That’s Sable (female) under the step, and Hippo (male) peeking out from further back.

Blackie, the male with the pineapple/rabbit ears on his belly, is a sweet one. He looks most like his mama, and I’m beginning to think his temperament may be similar. He’s smart and observant, but not pushy. He’ll sit quietly for his turn to be pet, and he likes to hang out with Bebe, one of the older farmcollies. Bebe’s like your bossy aunt, the one who wipes snotty noses, hugs away your tears, and also makes you eat your peas. In human terms, Bebe is Mama Dinah’s aunt since she and Dinah’s dam were littermates. Bebe was raised and trained by my first farmcollie, Sadie, and is carrying on the tradition of helping raise pups right, no matter who they belong to.

The genius husband started calling the pup above Rotty because of her black and tan markings. The real truth is Rotty stands for spoiled rotten. She’d just awoken from a long nap at the genius husband’s side . . . in the house . . . in our bed. She was the runt of the litter, little, cute, strong, and spunky. Her markings actually are the classic black and tan English Shepherd type. Papa Ralphie’s a purebred English Shepherd, and Mama Dinah’s pedigree is mostly English Shepherd, so the coloring could have come from either line.

Here’s Hippo, male, chewing his favorite stick. At this age, there’s a lot of teething and chewing going on. They’ve learned it’s okay to chew on sticks, the rope chew toys, and each other. Humans and big dogs don’t like to be chewed upon.

Freckles, male, might have been the first to learn the perils of tugging a big dog tail.

He definitely was the first to learn the trick to picking up the food dish and carrying it off.

Sable, female, watched Freckles for a minute and grabbed the other bowl to prove girls are just as good as boys. I grabbed both bowls and replaced them with big, heavy old pie plates they can’t lift. Yet. That’s Spot, male, with Sable. Look at those faces. They’re thinking hard about something.

Places to go, things to do. That’s Patches, male. He’s a mannerly little guy, always sitting when he’s told, never chewing on fingers . . . well, mostly never. He keeps himself occupied and mostly out of trouble. And he’s gorgeous. He reminds me of my first farmcollie’s sire, who was a beautiful tri with a quiet, observant manner and impressive skills.

And that’s Mama Dinah, who’s the most patient of teenage mothers and a promising farm dog already. Wonder what secrets Rotty’s whispering in Mama’s ear?