I almost used the Wizard of Oz once again for this post’s title, like follow the yellow brick road, or off to see the wizard. But I refrained, sort of. We followed the QEW to get to our breeder.
Now that you exhausted your research, and trust me it can be exhausting, and after family discussions and compromises, it’s time to contact the breeders you have selected. We chose to go the breeder route, but if you decide to go the ‘rescue’ route, then off to visit your local shelters.
In our case, we first contacted Catharine at Braefield Goldens through the website. The first step was to complete and submit an online questionnaire. There were many questions: do you have a securely fenced yard, who will be the primary caretaker, do you live in a house or a condo, do all your family members want a dog? The questionnaire also clearly asks: “Goldens live approximately 10 to 14 years. Are you committed to care for this Golden Retriever’s needs throughout his/her lifetime?” Deep breath… yes we are!
Within a week or so we received an email back saying that two litters were expected by the end of January. Hurray. I emailed Catharine a few times with more questions, and to set-up a time to for all of us to meet in person in January.
The In-Person Interview/Meeting
I wasn’t sure what to expect during our visit. Were we going to be peppered with questions and, in the end, would we be deemed worthy and fit to have a puppy? I was a little nervous going in, but I had nothing to worry about. Our interview visit was actually a lot of fun and friendly. It felt like we were visiting with friends.
Catharine welcomed us into her home. As we entered, there were two Goldens relaxing in the living room. We wrongly assumed these were the two mama Goldens. Instead the two mamas, plus the rest of the extended family was out back playing. Catharine went to her kitchen door and called in the dogs, and one-by-one, and then two-by-two the dogs came, and before we knew it we were hanging out and playing with 12 Goldens! All of them were super friendly and eager for our attention. We also got to personally meet mama Flora and mama Hope, and papa Teddy. The other papa, Kingston, was hired from another breeder for his ‘services.’
I can’t really remember if Catharine asked us specific questions, but we certainly had questions. We asked about the personalities of the mamas and papas, and what to expect once the pups were born. We learned a lot, and got more excited as we gained information.
What surprised me the most was how Catharine pointed to each of her dogs and explained how they were all related, how many litters some of the dogs birthed, how old they were. There was a grandmother and grandfather, aunts, half brothers and sisters. I needed a family tree to help me keep track of the linage. Plus the dogs really didn’t sit still for too long and I kept confusing them.
And then it happened. Catharine asked if we wanted a pup from Flora or Hope, boy or girl? Yes, we passed whatever test there was to pass, and we are worthy. Silent cheer!
Flora or Hope, that is the question
We decided that we would take a boy pup from Flora’s litter for a number of reasons:
- Flora had an earlier due-date than Hope, and we really didn’t want to wait an extra week or two. Plus Flora was expecting 8-11 pups, whereas Hope was only expecting 2-3.
- Both Flora and Kingston are a pale golden colour. Teddy, the other papa and Hope’s mate, is more golden.
- But the final discerning point was Flora’s personality. Hope is a very quiet, calm and sweet girl. I thought perfect for me! But if you have read the other posts, I’m not exactly getting what I want in this whole process. As Catharine explained, Flora can be mischievous and sneaky. Catharine showed us a photo of Flora where she somehow got in, behind a fence that was put up to protect the indoor Christmas tree from wagging tails! As soon as the fence went up, Flora somehow managed to get behind it and sit next to the tree, proud of her accomplishment. That sealed the deal for my boys, and all three wanted a pup from Flora.
At the time of our visit, Flora was definitely big and breathing hard. She was due less than a week after our visit, Catharine measured her temperature daily to try and estimate her due date. We thought she would give birth any minute!
After an hour and half visit, we left, eager to hear of any news. Catharine promised to email updates and send pictures. Like everything else so far in this process, we had to be patient and wait.
Lucky for us we didn’t have to wait too long. We got an email two days later that Flora was in labour! I can’t explain how excited we all were. I emailed our family and friends and I called my mom with the news. We could hardly wait to hear more. How about you?
Two corrections from my last post “Breeders, Breeds and Panic. Oh My!”
- Braefield Goldens are not ‘white’ but a pale golden colour, and some breeders will refer to them as ‘cream-coloured’ Goldens.
- Also, no breeder can guarantee that a pup will not have any genetic faults or health problems. The parents are tested throughly for any health issues before they breed them, and this can help reduce the incidence of future problems.