We know which puppy is to be ours from the first litter!
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mandolin Trails CaraBella Mia! Isn't she just the cutest thing you ever saw? :)
We had a time coming up with the name. Leonberger tradition required us to choose a name beginning with a "C" for her registered name (as is required for all the puppies in this particular litter). We ran through a bunch - Mandolin Trails Carolina Cadence (we would have called her Cady), Mandolin Trails Cream in my Coffee (we just loved this one, but couldn't get anywhere with it), Mandolin Trails Caramel Latte (we would have called her Cara), and several others. But it was pretty easy to settle on CaraBella Mia when we learned which girl would be ours.
Our breeder has told us that this little pup looks very much like her mother looked when she was tiny. They even nicknamed her "Mini Me" when they were playing with the pups. The mother is named Absolutely Arabella, and so we will call our little girl Bella, in honor of her momma (see here).
We go to Virginia to get Bella on December 11th and are pretty excited to bring her home. We understand that she is a very busy puppy, into everything, learning things first and fast, at the front of the line, bossing the other puppies around, talking nonstop. Very much the Queen Bee, and exactly as she should be!
We still have lots to do, so today means a trip to the pet store. This week we will measure some things and buy some gates. We might be rearranging some furniture. Fun, right?! Based on how Max and Gracie engage with Zuko when he comes to visit, I expect that they will be best friends in no time at all, but this is certainly going to be interesting and keep Mr. Bryant and I busy busy. We are planning out the first week with schedules and such, since I have to work out of the home - and even travel, dang it. But the following two weeks I am 100% home, as is Mr. Bryant. In the new year we should have a reasonably flexible schedule, which will be perfect. And in mid to late January, we will be bringing home our second puppy to be Bella's BFF!
Our little boy puppy is growing beautifully as well, you can see pictures here.
Sometimes it all just takes my breath away. Bella's picture was the first puppy picture that caught my eye on the Mandolin Trails web site, when she was only 8 days old.
I asked our breeder about her, but I never thought that she would come home with us. I didn't want a "pick of the litter." We don't plan to do conformation, we have no interest in breeding puppies - and perfect dogs (and cats!) need to breed so their characteristics are gifted back into the blood lines. We do plan to do obedience and would love to go to Companion Dog; maybe Rally - but a smart dog will really enjoy these activities, and doesn't need to be a "pick of the litter" from a breed standard perspective. So we just wanted a fabulous wonderful delightful smart loving pet. A pet that would be loving to the family, get along with other pet, love the kids, play lots. A pet that would be part of the family, really. Perfect for us. Bella looked so perfect to me in the pictures that I was sure she was going to someone that would show her, maybe even take her to Westminster.
But each time I looked at the next week of pictures, my eyes stopped at Bella. She made me smile. The breeder talked about her energy, how she was going to be a singer, how she talked so much, how she was a cuddler. I showed pictures of her around, but also looked at all the puppies, knowing that any one of them would be perfect for us. And yet, Bella is the puppy that our breeder chose for us! And she sounds like the very perfect one. Synchronicity. A larger plan at work. A glimpse into the divine movement behind all things. A blessing.
Makes me stop and be thankful for just how amazingly lucky we are, in the midst of everything.
Should be a pretty darned interesting holiday!