Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Story of Phantom

We have been talking about missing having a Dog around our house for a while now. Our friends had yorkie puppies (the litter we got to see being born) and we had to watch the last (non-purchased) puppy for a week while they traveled. Watching that puppy really sealed the deal (in our minds): we are a DOG family. Rob (of course) really wanted a miniature schnauzer. The only problem was that we had never seen any advertised (we weren't really looking before this, but Rob still always checked the paper).
SO the idea was there.... we had come to terms that owning a new puppy wouldn't really be "cheating" on our blind-old-spoiled dog living with his grandparents in Wisconsin: yet we really had no idea how to go about finding a breeder here in Germany. We really wanted a German bred schnauzer, too.
Then there was the moment - At my son's cub scout camp, the last day, when family joins us for the end of camp skits and picnic - I saw the most beautiful silver miniature schnauzer. We all approached the dog to pet her and asked the owners where they bought her, how old she was, ect. Then the lady made a phone call, wrote down some information and handed me the piece of paper and said, "Here is the lady that helped us, she said she can help you and you should give her a call."
That is how I met Astrid. She is not a breeder, I think she actually is part of the German equivalent of the AKC. She also speaks very good English. She told us of a breeder that had a liter due in the middle of July and to call back at the end of July. We patiently ticked off the days when we could call her back. Finally, I called and she told us that the puppies were born: 5 boys, and 2 girls. Astrid told us to wait another couple of weeks until we could go visit the puppies, but in the meantime she gave us the breeders website so we could see pictures that they posted on-line. At length the puppies were old enough to have visitors so we set up a day to meet with the breeders and Astrid said she would come to help translate and mediate the contract.
We went out the breeders house Monday August 27th. All 7 puppies were still there with the mom, but there were 3 that we had to pick from (they were distinguishable by different color ribbons around their necks - we had to choose from red, yellow, or green). We played and played and tried to concentrate on just the 3 that we had to pick from, but the other 4 were all so cute and playful too that we kept getting distracted. We wanted to let Sarah pick, but she couldn't decide. The burden then fell to Rob, but he couldn't pick either!! SO Astrid helped us out a little by explaining that the puppy with the yellow ribbon, who was by far the cutest, had softer and curlier hair so he would need to be trimmed much more often, and get dirtier much more easily. So, now it was down to the red and the green ribbon. Finally, I pressured Sarah for an answer since we had been there for 50 minutes and they were all just sort of watching us.... Sarah chose red-ribbon, and that is the one I had in my head too, so we were all agreed.The breeders let Sarah put the little collar on him that she had bought. They told us that our little guy weighed the most at birth. We can go pick him up on Sept. 17th.
Here are some pictures taken from the breeders web site and some that we took when we went out to visit. The first one is when the puppies were first born, there is our red-ribboned Phantom on top of the nursing heap.
This is Phantom at 10 days old. We didn't know this one would be ours at the time, so it is fun now to go back to the breeders website and see the pictures of the red ribbon puppy.
This is Phantom at about 3 weeks oldThese are the 3 puppies that we had to chose between. Can YOU chose? Not fair! The choice is made and Sarah puts the collar on him, and poses with her new puppy.

Everyone takes a turn posing with the new puppy.

After playing with him, posing for pictures and a tummy rub, he fell into an exhausted sleep all stretched out right next to us. So we scooped him up and put him in the middle of a pile of his sleeping brothers and sister in the little pen they have set up outside for the puppies.

But as we sat there watching him sleep, he looked over and slowly began creeping over to our voices, away from his brothers and sisters. Yep, he's ours.

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