This is another picture supplied by Jethro’s breeder. At the time I had no idea he was planning on meeting me with only one puppy to choose from – the runt of the litter.
When I had spoken to him on the phone he told me he would meet me halfway and would be travelling with all the puppies. I knew I was his last stop for the day as our ‘halfway point’ was still miles away from any large populated area. I was however told that there would still be two in the vehicle when we met up – the runt of the litter and an almost fully white brother.
Gosh the runt of the litter looked cute in those photos, but after years of raising the runt I was ready to move onto a different birth order! I really didn’t have a heart for that tiny puppy – after all I would be looking for brains, size, and personality in a full grown dog.
For me it wasn’t just about getting another puppy. No, this dog was going to be my last dog and my best friend. I had hours to myself every day for fun training sessions and lots of treks through the surrounding forests and through that I knew that I could forge the greatest friendship with a large breed that was willing to keep up, naturally gifted to protect, and not so overbred that he’d be incapable of making sound decisions for himself when I wasn’t with him.
Raising the runt of the litter was something I’d already done many times over.
My first dog – in fact!
I’d had pick of the litter. I had read all the best advice on how to choose a puppy. I knew the tests to perform to find the most compliant (but not timid) pup, the tests on trainability, the test for initial trust.
On that night they set me in a room and let 7 puppies run in to greet me. And there she was. My first ever, fully mine, pup. I chose the runt of the litter!
Not this time however. This last dog – I never would have chosen this runt of the litter at all. Except I felt sorry for him. Except I felt confident in my abilities to turn a pup’s personality around. Except – I guess – I wanted a project, a testament to my own capabilities with dogs. And except – because he was the only one left, panic striken and shaking, with no where else to go that night.
Into the JEEP and up the highway went the runt of the litter and I – driving towards many long days of patience, trial and error, and building trust.
His name became Jethro.