Follow along as the puppies grow and develop.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 1 from Jan 30 to Feb 6th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 2 from Feb 7th to 13th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 3 from Feb 14th to 20th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 4 from Feb 21st to 27th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 5 from Feb 28th to Mar 5th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 6 from Mar 6th to Mar 12th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 7 from Mar 13th to Mar 19th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 8 from Mar 20th to Mar 26th.

A Litter - Tractors - Week 9 from Mar 27th to Apr 2nd.

Puppies go home

Covid-19 created all kinds of challenges in terms of getting 7 puppies to their homes.  Two families came to Cottonwood to pick up, just a little earlier than planned.  It was a busy day as we were packing up the trailer, handing off pups and last minute instructions.

 

We loaded up the remaining 5 pups, our 2 dogs and 2 horses and started for home on March 30th.  Our usual trip takes 3 days from Cottonwood, north to Page, AZ  then Kanab, Panguitch, Spanish Fork, Salt Lake City, Trementon, UT, Idaho Falls and Pocatello, ID, Dillon, Butte, Helena and Great Falls, MT , then Sweet Grass/Coutts border crossing and on towards home through Lethbridge, Claresholm, Okotoks, Calgary, Airdrie and Didsbury, AB. 

 

With puppy stops, I wasn't sure how much driving we would actually accomplish each day.  We considered hauling the pups in our trailer mid-tack area, in an exercise pen - but worried it would get too cold.  Online friends who had moved litters before provided lots of great ideas - so we set off, hopeful but prepared for a long slow trip. 

 

The puppies rode on the backseat with Mama, Nakita and after the first 10 miles seemed quite comfortable.  Papa, Nelson generally shared the front seat with Ian or I.  We stopped for fuel as usual but only let the dogs and puppies out at churches or businesses - they only had their first vaccination so I was worried about Parvo and other puppy killers that lurk in the soil and grass at dog parks.  The  puppies did well with stops every 3 hours.  We often combined our lunch stop with their lunch time.  I'm sure a few church administrators must be wondering about the day our horse trailer pulled into their parking lot and 7 dogs emerged!

At night, we stopped at our usual fairgrounds, got the horses comfortable in their stalls while the pups played in an exercise pen outside.  We prepared and had dinner and then got ready for the night.  We usually have our adult dogs sleep in their kennels, stacked in the washroom area.  I made a bed for the puppies under the eating table - not very big but enough room for pups and potty box.  It worked fairly well, although it did require some serious clean up each morning.

Two puppies were collected en route home at the Salt Lake City airport - an exchange that went very well.  The puppies and their bag of supplies headed off to the east coast with their new families.  Then there were 3.  There was more room in the backseat and sometimes all the dogs would be there together.  But the weather was getting much cooler.  It was soon too cold for the pups to spend any amount of time outside and so they had to play in our kitchen area, which is perhaps 6 ft by 8 ft, including the table and chairs, stove, fridge and sink.  Making dinner was a little more challenging.  At bedtime, I set up the bed under the table again for pups to sleep.

Our last night was in Great Falls, MT.  We've stayed at the King's Arena many times before, but this was a wicked night.  We had frozen wipers on the way there and when we got out we discovered that the doors were almost frozen shut.  The horses had lovely indoor stalls and we were happy to have a good heater in the trailer.  The roads had been a bit slick and by morning, with reports of continued snow and freezing rain, we were thinking of staying to wait out the storm.  

 

That was until we discovered that our toilet and bathroom sink faucets had frozen overnight.  That was the last straw - we loaded up in a hurry and made tracks for home.  We had no trouble at the border - a first in a long time and a welcome change.  They didn't even check the horse papers nor the dogs.  Not at all.  I'm always surprised they don't want to know that they have their shots and a health check.  It's another 5 hours from the border to the ranch and it was looking more and more like winter with every mile.  

Nelson and Nakita both got very excited at the DIdsbury turn off, noses pressed to the air inlets. barking, whimpering and wiggling.  They can smell home from a long way off - but I'm not sure they realize how far it still is.  They would happily jump out to run home - the last 60 miles.

 

It was good to pull in at the ranch and enjoy all the amenities of home again.  The puppies trooped across the snow as if they had grown up in it - no complaints at all.  We set up their exercise pen in the cabin, got the dog's crates set up, and moved the horses out to their stalls.

I had called one of the puppy families from the border.  We would pass close by their home but we were under quarantine orders so we couldn't stop.  They met us at the ranch and we put their puppy and his things in the mud room for them to collect.  It felt very strange not to have a visit as we said goodbye.  But we knew he was in great hands.

 

A few days later, when the snow let up, another family came to the ranch to get their pup.  They had a 6 hour drive each way but it was a nice day and the sun was out.  We visited briefly on the deck and handed over their puppy so they could make it home before the day was up.  Driving through the mountains is always better in daylight - fortunately sunset is around 8:30 pm here already.

 

And then there was 1.  The last one will have a special trip home in another week.  I'm booked to fly with him to Whitehorse, YT.  I'll meet up with a friend of the buyer there and transfer the pup.  She will keep him overnight and then pass him to a commercial trucker friend, who is scheduled to be though town en route to Anchorage the following day.  It is a convoluted plan, and reminds me of old time stories in the wild west.  I sure hope the airlines are still flying by Friday and we can get this little fellow home.  

He is a delight and excellent entertainment while we are quarantined, but he needs to be with his family.  In the meantime, he's learning about ranch life - meeting horses, cows, bulls and cats.  He's been on several long walks in the snow and saw lots of birds and deer.  We are working on his sleeping in a carrier - he is not  a fan, but I think it will be essential for his special journey.  Here's hoping all goes as planned!

New Holland - Rocky 

Ferguson - Gus 

John Deere - Tippet 

Field Marshall - Aspen 

Mahindra - Goose 

Kubota - Abby 

Caterpillar - Nuka 

A Litter - Tractors - In their new homes

New Holland
now known as
Aengus Madra Rockatansky  (Rocky)

Ferguson
now known as
Ajax Ferguson (Gus)

Caterpillar
now known as
Alaska's Nuka (Nuka)

Nuka has not yet reached his home.  Hopefully next week he will complete his epic journey.

Field Marshall
now known as
Aspen

Kubota
now known as
Abbygail Joy (Abby)

John Deere now known as Angler's Tippet (Tippet)

Mahindra
now known as
Admiral Goose (Goose)

(403) 638-1282

Bergen, Alberta, Canada

(928) 963-1661

Cottonwood, Arizona, USA

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