Whenever I think about puppies, I think about several events in my doggie career that involved the fuzzy little critters. ...
Later these events often proved to be rather invaluable lessons. In fact, I learned a lot that time we began searching for our first show puppy. ... Perhaps you might be interested.
Both my wife and I had been around dogs and
cats when we were youngsters so we saw no reason to deny our own children
Off we went and what a sight it was!. ...
Why, it was a carnival! .... Tents and flags and booths and dogs and people!
... People of every description! ... We had to be a part of this. ... Simply
a registered dog would no longer be good enough. ... We had to have a show
dog! ... A dog that would get
The people we met at that show seemed to
be congenial enough.
Reality is a second-class citizen at the dog show.
We were directed by some very connected
ringsiders to a
We drove to his "kennel" that following weekend. "Murphy Manor" turned out to be more like four hours away and the place was not exactly what we had expected. Recent thunderstorms had turned the last thirty minutes of the ride into a four-wheel drive commercial on unpaved roads.
The Blazer was a mess. Clods of heavy
mud plopped from our
"Y'all go on around back. .. This here
door's nailed shut. ...
I began to feel uncomfortable. ...
The place smelled somewhat
Dr. Gunther Murphy was seated at a kitchen table, a King Edward clenched in his teeth. He popped a fresh can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. A rolled-up T-shirt revealed, "Born to Polka" tattooed on his flabby upper arm. He appeared to me to be less than a six-pack away from turning into a sniper. .. On the wall behind him, hung a velvet painting of G. Gordon Liddy and, next to that, an electric "Bug Zapper" was plugged in and seemed very busy.
"Pleased to meet you, Doctor," I said stepping over a chain saw and reaching to shake his hand.
"Yeah! ... You can call me 'Doc' like ever'body else."
"I heard that. .. How long have you been away from the hospital now?"
"Three years and five months. ... Got out early."
"Early release." .. He shifted in his chair.
"Pharmacology was your line?"
"Well .. sort of. .. I was kind of an informal sales rep."
"I see." .. I decided to change the
subject. .. "Well, we were
"Got that right. .. What color you want?" ...
"Black and tan, I guess. Aren't they all ..."
"You one of them show folks, ain'cha?" ... He interrupted.
"Well, we're thinking about it."
"Ya'll probably need a black or black
and tan one then. .. Them
"Yeah. .. The others: blonde, white,
blue, black and white. ..
"Yes, honey." .. Magda answered.
"I was talkin' to the man here. .. Y'all want a dog or a bitch?"
"We were hoping for a puppy bitch.
.. Do you have a promising
"What you want is more important than
what I got. .. I'll get
"Is that possible? .. I never dreamed .."
"Anything's possible. .. Will this be with X-rays, or without?"
"Gosh, if X-rays are available, that would be great."
"Magda, we got any X-rays left?"
"Lots, Gunny." .. Magda opened a kitchen
drawer and waved a
"Good. ... They'll probably need an
OFA normal set now. ...
"I hear that the German lines are really
desirable now. .. But
"Mark that down, Magda. .. Make sure
you put some German in
"I don't believe that we can afford that."
"Same price. .. All my puppies are
the same price. .. $750.00.
"Sure. .. You can't be too safe nowadays,
you know. .. These
"Can we see her?"
"That ain't the way we work." .. Gunther
stared at his feet as
"That seems like a rather odd way to do business, Doc."
"What? .. Odd? .. Yer talkin' to the
leadin' German Shepherd
All the statements I had heard at the show about how Murphy's dogs were winners rushed back to mind. We certainly wanted a winner.
"OK, Doc. .. You gotta deal."
I paid $400.00 in cash that day. ..
Because we were so nice,
"Now don't show her for a few months." Gunther cautioned. "She needs some time to cool off."
We supposed that "cool off" was dog
talk for becoming