Stella’s sophomore selections have indeed arrived just in time for the spring season. Starting (though in reality, beginning many hours before with Stella’s, very long ramp up to actual puppy) at midnight (ish) on Thursday (technically), March 26th, with the (eventual) appearance of a big old black male as the first in show, Stella produced 5 healthy and well weighted black puppies to offer up to the world of great family companions. Cindy’s cynical prediction of 4 males and 1 female was indeed on the money (do not tempt those gods of fate with your reverse psychology young lady). The size of five seems just right, although the waiting list for a black, female Teapot may have grown a bit with the realization of this litter. The one female will be under the spotlight…will she be the next Stella? (not if she knows all that entails). The males will have it easy; grow up strong and handsome and don’t do anything so stupid along the way (or make sure if you act silly that you are indeed, strong and handsome to counterbalance).
The story of this litter would definitely carry the theme of “family style”. With our move north a couple of years ago and subsequent settle (sort of) into the home of Cindy’s folks, we have found a spot that brings us to a solid state. What this opened up, as a flood gate, was the possibility of my nephew Greg and his wife Andrea to potentially choose to join us here in this community of Saranac Lake and maybe make a life around each other. As this logistic fell into line then stepped forward a long standing consideration to both, start a business and do so with people who can (possibly) stand to work with me. Greg and Andrea fit the profile perfectly (great work ethic, willing to try new things and, most importantly, high thresholds of pain). With dreams being realized left and right, of course, Cindy would need her own selection and again, of course, it must involve something short, stout and (appropriately) aromatic. Ooila!, Teapot Labradors is born and Stella is dubbed queen of the scene and asked (maybe lured is a better term) to produce another litter of small wonders to carry on the good name.
With all these conditions in place (stud finder again refusing to buy local (Oliver) but choosing to FLY semen in from Michigan, Stella grudgingly accepting an artificial insemination, schedules be damned this is happening whether we are ready or not) we find ourselves in a moment such as we were in last night. Greg and I return from a day away learning about all the neat things one can do with spray foam, Andrea and Cindy in that state of having watched way too much Stellavision all day…eyes glazed over and unfocused, drool marks on the front of their shirts and this goofy look that says, this is fun and now it’s your turn. After a couple of hours apart and Stella still very much in a holding pattern, a plan is hatched…Greg and Andrea stop by the local store, get all the necessities, coffee, creamer, vanilla ice cream, ginger beer and brownie mix, and we settle in as a unit to bring these puppies into the world (dammit). Their friend, our friend, nephew Nate’s special friend Kari, asks to join and the team is set. Let this be known that this was NOT a party but a serious gathering of brownie eaters who just happened on a litter of pups being born.
As Wednesday bore down on Thursday and the brownies were but a memory and the 6th cup of coffee began eating away the lining of my stomach, Stella began pushing in earnest and after some tense now you see me, now you don’t moments of visual trickery, puppy number one made his cool and collected debut. As a good Adk dog would, he arrived with everything he needed on his back…sleeping sack and enough food to last 63 days in the wild world of StellaBelly Wilderness. Mom promptly took charge and ate everything he brought to the party (placenta, what placenta?). She cut the cord with measured gusto while the crowd of rookie whelpers helpers stared in dismay. She cleaned him up and gave him a good lick start and then let him settle into his rightful place as King of the land of the Plump Nipple. His reign lasted for about 16 minutes and then, with a grunt from Stella and a good catch from Andrea, Big Sister was on the scene and his days of nipple meister were over. Again, Stella acted as the seasoned pro (and food hound) she was and is…eating, cleaning and feeding her brood of two. Over the next few hours as caffeine, sugar and sleep deprivation kicked in, Greg’s hair and his stream of consciousness commentary both become more bizarre and entertaining. Just as both were starting to scare me, puppy number 5 announced his arrival and Greg was pegged to be the first human to greet him. He made the grab, kept his commentary positive and then was asked to leave and not return until he had showered and possibly seen a therapist. It turns out that #5 was all Stella had in the bank and after proper downtime and a cleanout shot of Oxytocin it was off to bed…just as the most beautiful sunrise was peeking over the mountains. Yup, life is just fine up here and there’s 5 more to help us all enjoy it. Peace.