Rather reluctantly, actually, I decided to use Luke. Not because he was not a good dog himself or because I didn't think he could produce well. In fact, Luke had already sired two litters for others and I'd seen and liked the puppies. I simply had doubts that Luke was the best choice for Marta. Central to my thinking was that Luke ran mute on game. I did not want to lose the great trailing voice that Marta had.
I had already set up the whelping box in the little mud room off the kitchen and introduced Marta to it. Turns out that was a good thing.
Saturday morning, March 2, 2002, Marta was acting perfectly normal and I decided to spend some time running errands. I was gone from home about five hours. (Errand running at my house generally includes at least two hours driving, one hour each way.) When I returned through my front door carrying shopping bags, I heard the unmistakable sounds of little puppy noises coming from the direction of the kitchen. I literally dropped the bags where I stood. I hurried into the kitchen. There was Marta, in the whelping box in the mud room, calmly attentive to four little red heads bobbing at her breasts. I spoke her name, she looked briefly up at me, then back down at her puppies. Well, I thought. Who needs me. Nobody here, that's for sure. Marta had everything and everybody well under control.
When Marta had finished, she was mom to seven shiny, healthy, and hungry pups. There were six reds, one black/tan, four males, and three females. Marta raised them all as superbly as she had whelped them. They turned out to be a wonderful - and voicing - crew, these puppies from Luke and Marta.
Happy 11th Birthday to:
Narco and Nathan, both in Dayton, Ohio
Nexus who stayed with me
Nick in Sweden
Nadja in Mississippi
Natasha in Iowa
and Nutmeg in Illinois!