Kyle Belleque, the owner of Lucky (mother or our litter) came in Thursday night, and left shortly after noon today. He spent Friday working at his job, and this morning went on a training run with Aliy Zirkle.
His departure today is bitter-sweet. Kyle is a good friend who has contributed vastly to my Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs kennel and saying goodbye to a friend is never easy, but even tougher is saying goodbye to Polaris, White Star, Midnight's Son and Lucky.
It's not an entirely sad thing, either. Polaris, Star and Son are going home - where they will no doubt enjoy their lives running and pulling with their own team of big dogs. They are starting a new adventure in their young lives, just as Cassiopeia, Capella and Orion will be starting new adventures here.
There is little argument that the age between 7 and 9 weeks is the ideal time to integrate a puppy into a new home. At that age they are in the midst of a magic window in time in which dogs learn how to interact with humans, as well as with other dogs. The first 16 weeks of life are crucial to the habituation and socialization of puppites, and Kyle's pups will no doubt be playing with children, interacting with adults and will be exposed to as many new circumstances as Kyle can arrange, just as the 3 Stardancer puppies will. By working hard to expose puppies to a huge variety of people, noises and things now we can help them be less fearful of new things when they are adults.
Lucky was a delightful presence in the Stardancer Kennel. She has an incredibly sweet temperament and steady disposition that makes her a soothing, calming influence in the yard. She is an excellent mother, taking excellent care of her puppies without being overprotective or overly anxious about it. Everyone who met her has come up with the same adjective - "Sweetheart".
For now, we are all becoming accustomed to a new definition of "normal" in our kennel and our home. It's time for me to feed the team and do my kennel chores, and tomorrow morning we will be off for another training run as part of making the transition from our summer to winter routines.