We have 3 kids - spaced about 4 years apart ;) It seems like when I have one munchkin breathing down Kindergarten's neck, we have another. So, when last little munchkin was about to turn 5, I was going through baby fever. Dont laugh, its real and it can get real mean or real sad.... I went real sad....weepy, burst into tears, crying sad which scared the husband to death because I am not a weepy crier EVER.
Now, the husband loves me, but he was not going to reverse what has already been permanently altered if you know what I mean. So, guess his love only goes so far ;) Anyway, he said he would do whatever I needed besides that - so he mentioned a puppy.
We previously owned a Basset Hound, but we rescued him so he was never a pup. Thought about another one of those, but as precious as they are, they are pretty much worthless out on the land. They follow their noses and then are gone. This was going to take some research.....
I love research - it was almost as much finding out which puppy I wanted as getting the puppy - it was definitely more fun researching than the first few nights with the puppy - but I am jumping ahead of myself.
I found this great site: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/ It even had a feature that asked me a bunch of questions and spit out a list of possible winner breeds. How great was that?
This was on my list of perfect dog attributes:
* Short hair and if it didnt shed, PERFECT...
* Good size - didnt want a coyote carrying it off as a snack
* Wouldnt follow its nose and just disappear
* Gun dog
* Loyal but not overly protective or aggressive
* Not really a herder - dont want it nipping all the kids we have around here
* A pleaser
* Smart (nothing worse or more frustrating than a stupid dog)
So...after answering the questions, and going through the close, but no cigar breeds, I settled on a Ladner Black Mouth Cur.
This is a Southern hunting, working dog. The rumor is that the dog that played Old Yeller was played by a Black Mouth Cur (heretofore referred to as a BMC). Their traits are a perfect match and the one little bit of information that kicked me over was a line in the description that said if you got a male dog and there was a female person in the house, he would probably attach himself to her - BINGO - this was MY dog breed!
Now, off to find a breeder. There wasnt one within about 200 miles of me so we were going to have to drive. It seemed a lot of people crossed this breed with other things and some things I really didnt want in my house or had traits that gave me pause. The only option seemed to be to contact Mr. Ladner whose family has been breeding this dog since 1800. Mr. Ladner was going to have puppies in the middle of the summer - perfect for us, but a while to wait as it was April/May.
The one catch was that Mr. Ladner was in Mississippi....RURAL Mississippi.... We took the boys and drove all day to get close. There wasnt a motel, much less a hotel anywhere close, so we stayed about an hour and 1/2 away. The next morning we headed South....WAAAAYYYY south...down a dirt road where for miles, the only names on the mailboxes was Ladner. Not kidding. We found the right Ladner and heard dogs - LOTS of dogs.
He had a pen with the cutest little yellow puppies...a couple red puppies, but all with the black mouth. The pen also had a crazy scared looking squirrel at the top of the pen running around on a man made tree. Ladner believed in getting these dogs started early....
I had read many a book on puppies - my favorite was by some monks in New York called The Art of Raising a Puppy. It let us "read" the puppies and found a perfect little guy that was eager to get to us, happy to be loved and when we put him down, he crawled under where I was sitting and went to sleep. We had a winner. A little red fellow whose grandad was on the cover of a Gun Dog Magazine. Ladner was proud of our choice or he was proud of our cash ;)
Basil was his name - after a sweet man we met the month before that was the caretaker of a camp right outside of Yellowstone. We had been throwing around names until we met this sweet man. I also plan on going to culinary school, so the name Basil fit on so many levels. He needed a middle name, so the kids got to contribute. Since we only had the boys with us, his middle name is Zorgon. For those of you not in the know, Zorgons are meat eating aliens in the movie Zathura.
Basil Zorgon is a great member of our family. Seeing him on the land is just beautiful, but he never lets me out of his sight - he circles back to check on me and is the fastest thing I have seen. I can get a 4wheeler hitting 25+ and he can catch me. The dog can move.
I wouldnt hesitate to get another and we may make another trip to Mississippi in another year or so. I am not sure our experience would have been so wonderful (except those first few nights getting him on a schedule) if we had the wrong dog. We knew what to expect, we were prepared and we were committed.
Sometimes I almost feel guilty when I see such a wonderful gun dog, hunting dog curled up in my husband's lap on the couch like a big old baby.....almost.....
He is a smart dog and will be a great advantage in chaos. He stays close, reads me and knows if someone is friend or if I have never seen them before. He puts himself between me and other dogs or people. He loves our kids and plays like they are all from the same litter. Prepping with him means making sure I have food for him, his favorite pig skin chewies and various remedies/tick meds.
He is a great member of our family, a great asset in our prepping and the cutest thing, which should count just as much :)
Basil on one of the MANY stops on our way home from Mississippi:
Basil after being home a few weeks:
Basil at 5 1/2 months:
Basil today, full grown male: