Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nyxie! January 20

Four years ago from yesterday, a black dog named Kelly labored with the strain of delivering a litter of German Shepherd puppies.  She licked them clean, one by one.  She sheltered their little bodies from the frigid Maine winter.  A new year brought with it bright new lives.  They were born under the supervision of a wonderful breeder in Saco, Maine.  Doreen is the owner of Tiber Ridge Farm, a German Shepherd breeder and dog and horse boarder.  Of course, we knew nothing of these events or of Doreen until 9 weeks later.

Matt and I were searching for many months for just the right breeder and dog combination.  Having done German Shepherd rescue in the past and having experienced terrible loss as a result, it had been a long time before we would even consider bringing a new shepherd into our lives.  We were finally ready when we got Raven's cytology results back as positive for lymphoma.  We sadly accepted that her life would be cut short, even while undergoing chemotherapy with the wonderful vets and nurses at Portland Veterinary Specialists.  We could not have asked for a more compassionate medical team.

As the painful realization of losing a pup settled in, it dawned on us that Arwen would be alone.  Her solitude is unbearable.  She has separation anxiety for being alone.  The humans are fine to go, but she can't be alone for long.  Without another dog with her, Arwen quickly begins to drool, pant, and make desperate attempts to get our of her crate, even to the point of self-injury.  What a testament to the importance of "pack".  Our search for another dog intensified.

There's a publication in Maine called the Uncle Henry's.  Imagine Craigslist for a sparsely populated, wild state.  You never know what you'll find when you look through the Uncle Henry's.  I combed the "pets" section, hoping we'd find a puppy that would be a good fit.  Matt sought an all black shepherd rather than a black and tan, so the search was not easy.  With a small child in the house, Matt worried about the predictability of a shelter dog.  I yielded in this argument, as T is his child biologically - Daddy's decision trumped my open-mindedness.

One day, I opened the Uncle Henry's and started my usual search.  There, in black and white, was this ad:

We called and made an appointment to visit.  Just to look.

It was a wet March afternoon when we made the drive "to look" at the puppies at Timber Ridge Farm.  We vowed to wait no matter who or what was there, making plans for later in the evening. We were headed to a LAN party (where a bunch of geeksters load up their computers and converge on a fellow-geekster's home to play World of Warcraft and drink beer for the night).  With computers in tow, no way could we bring a puppy home.  No how, no way.

We exited the Maine Turnpike and followed the directions through residential and increasingly more rural property until we turned down a winding road that eventually became a gravel road.  Crossing a rickety bridge over a frozen creek, we wondered if we'd gone too far.  The land opened up and large farms rolled to our right, leafless forest to our left.  Then we saw the sign and turned down the long driveway.  Our hearts were in our throats.  

We met Doreen at the horse stalls and indoor riding arena, where we were instructed to go first.  Large, sturdy Czech German Shepherds, panting from playing in the mud, accompanied the truck as we pulled in.  The dogs were wary but confident, watching our movements and circling to gather the new scents.  Doreen met us and we talked for a few minutes.  Then is was the moment of truth.  We were told we could drive up to the main house, now that we had met her where the dogs were used to boarders coming in and going, they would allow us to approach the house with more ease.  As soon as we got to the house, the dogs seemed more alert, more guarded.  One of her beautiful males started bringing Matt his toy to throw, as Doreen brought out the pups.  

Sleepy eyed and awkward, two black pups emerged to greet us.  An outgoing, energetic fireball wearing a collar, and a doe-eyed, sleepy naked pup.  The first had been claimed and bought earlier, but was boarding with her former mama and sister.  She was all over us immediately.  A climbing, sniffing, chewing ball of energy.  I was secretly glad she wasn't available.  Her energy was just too much for our family.  The other pup was all about Doreen's lap.  She handed her over to us and the little pup curled up, clearly exhausted.  She was sleepy and grumpy, taking bitey shots at her sister at each frenetic lap pass while she lay curled on a lap.  They'd been playing all day and the little pup was done, spent, pooped.  At least until her sister started digging in the mud.  At this, the little pup hopped down and laid in the hole - digging and biting at her sister to keep her away from the prized brown mud.  

We were in love.  Doreen's perspective on her dogs fit ours.  We were looking for a healthy, sound dog with intelligence, a protective and loyal spirit, and the drive to work as she was bred to do.  She was also a raw feeder, something that I had been interested in trying.  The cards were stacked, and we wrote the deposit check.  We would pick her up the following day. 

Part II to be continued... 


  1. Can't wait until the next installment. A beautiful puppy pic. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Awwww, cute puppy picture! Happy birthday, Nyxie!!

    Elyse and Riley

  3. Ohhhhhh! It's a cliffhanger! I can't wait to read the rest!


  4. Yappy Birfday to you Nyxie.....We's can't wait for da next part of dis story.


  5. Awwww... adorable! Happy birthday to Nyxie!

  6. Ahhhhh!

    Happy Nyxie Day!

    I khan't wait to read and see more!


  7. Happy Birthday, Nyxie - you were an adorable puppy. Bring on Part II.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  8. Happy birthday Nyxie! We're tapping our paws waiting for more!

    jack & moo

  9. What a cutie! Happy birthday Nyxie!!

    Holly and Khady

  10. Happy Birthday to Nyxie! You were a pretty and adorable puppy. Can't wait to read the second part!!!

  11. Happy Birthday, Nyxie! Such a cute pup pic! Can't wait for Part II!!!

  12. Happy Birthday Nyxie! Isn't it the greatest thing when dog you were looking for finds you?

  13. I've only ever know one person who was able to go "just for a look" and return empty-handed...and they went to look at fish, so you can see how that turned out the way it did. I'm so jealous that you have puppy pictures! With rescues, our baby pictures are all "available for adoption" photos. Our girls look underfed, confused and abandoned (especially Toni - her photo nearly made me cry the first time I saw it because she looked so desperate for comforting). No wonder you brought Nyxie home - she was a darling pup!!

  14. Happy birthday to wonderful Nyxie!

    I'm stopping by to thank you for joining Pet Blogs United & welcome you to our community.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  15. Happy Birthday Nyxie. I can't wait to hear more about her puppyhood!

  16. We can't wait for part two!


  17. Thanks for visiting Stumpy's blog! I, too, have a passion for German Shepherd and I love the Czech lines. Can't wait to read more!!!

    My heart and soul live in New England, too!!!

  18. What a cute pic. Happy birthday!

  19. So it's Nyxie's birthday? Happy birthday! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.


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