So, Sugar finally arrived at our home on July 22, 2015, and we nervously prepared for the birth of her first litter. And before I knew it I was embarking on a journey that would surpass anything I had imagined more than 3 years and counting!
Sugar delivered her very first litter, and they were ALL girls! 6 girls to be exact! 2 I had to resuscitate 2 due to being separated from their placentas but all were beautiful. 2 yellow labs and 4 black labs. Soon they were given a “litter name”-and they were officially “The Spice Girls”. They were going to be given names that loosely represented spices-so the organization named them Clover, Poppy, Saffron, Nutmeg, Sage, and Cayenne. (Any guesses as to which one was the rambunctious, spicy one????)
Sugar’s whelping adventures continued, some with more difficulty then others-with her 2nd litter (the C litter), 3rd litter (the L litter), 4th litter (the Z litter) and finally her 5th litter (the N litter). Along with the puppies listed above, she had Cosmo, Crush, Carmen, Lola, Lyric, Liam, Leonard, Lizzie, Linus, Logic, Zip, Zag, Zing, Zoom, Newton, Nana, Nino, Norton, Nesa, Natalie and Nelson. You may think that puppies are all the same, but all of these puppies were unique and individual and whelping homes hold a special place in their heart for each and every puppy that they are able to be the foundation for~her puppies are spread across the globe, making a difference for countless people and her legacy will continue for many years to come!
I whelped 3 of Sugar’s litters and she had wonderful, loving whelping homes for the other two litters. Yet one more example of how many hands touch the lives of these assistance dogs in training! If I invited all the people who had a role in Sugar’s life or the life of her puppies I would easily fill a large room!
So, how did Sugar start her life? Interestingly enough, I’ve been able to have email communications with some of the people who were involved in her life prior to her coming to Minnesota when she was with Guiding Eyes! I have been able to learn a bit about her life before I knew her and it’s been so wonderful to be able to create the full picture of who she is as a dog and companion, as well as those she has had the privilege to live and play with!
I got to learn about some of her personality traits, behaviors and what she spent her time doing as a puppy and young dog. How she loves the heat-whether it’s laying in the sun or snuggling RIGHT up to the portable heat units people use under their desks; how she played the role of a sheep in a Christmas play; how her quiet and dedicated spirit captured the hearts of many along the way; and how her direction changed and she arrived in Minnesota to be a breeder dog for Can Do Canines, providing so many offspring to change the lives of people around the world. She had people she loved and they loved her! This is what has made me understand a bit better about the “letting go” part of volunteering for an organization of assistance dogs. (Full disclosure-that doesn’t make it easier for me to say goodbye, but I do understand it!) When I saw how Sugar adapted once she got to our home and how we adore her and she loves us, I realize that dogs are very capable of loving others after us, and that’s okay!
If you click on the various photos below you will see a caption:) These are some of the photos shared with me by those who have loved Sugar since she was a puppy!
This is one of the things I love about volunteering-I am not the only one who loves one particular dog! All of us have connections and a piece of our heart with a variety of dogs, and the dogs get the opportunity to have many people who love them along the way! How lucky are they to have so many rooting them on and loving them???? Sugar wouldn’t be NEAR the wonderful dog she is if she hadn’t had outstanding people along the way that cared for her, taught her, loved her and wanted the best for her. Each person who touches the life of a dog adds one more brick to the foundation of their success and personality, and without each of those bricks they just couldn’t be the dog that they are! I am forever grateful to those who had a part in Sugar’s life!
So, what’s in her future? She’s only 5 years old, so in Part 3 I will share some of my ideas for this wonderful, loving, and kind dog!!!!!