One Singular Sensation

That’s it? That’s all? Just one? One. Uno. Ein. One and only. One singular sensation. I’ll sing you One ho, green grow the rushes ho. That’s enough. You get the idea. After waiting 63 days for the litter to arrive, at 8:30 in the evening, Friday delivered the first – and only – pup. True, he’s a handsome blue boy… but just one?

There are a few disadvantages to having a singleton. Like not having anyone his size to play with and keep him entertained. And no one to teach him bite inhibition – which is when he finds out how much a bite hurts when a sibling bites back. But putting a positive spin on the situation, there are definitely advantages to having just one pup.

First, you don’t have to count. Anyone who has had a multiple pup litter knows exactly what I mean. Every time you look in the whelping box, you count pups. You just want to make sure mom hasn’t plopped down on one of the kids or if a particularly precocious pup hasn’t left the premises to go exploring. Beardie pups do that.

Second, you don’t have to worry if he’s getting enough to eat or a sufficient amount of attention. He’s getting all of it. There’s no one to crowd him off a nipple or shove him away from the food dish. Not only is every bit of nourishment his and his alone but he has mom’s undivided attention – and yours too since he’s the only one to cuddle.

Third, single pups are generally not much trouble at all. Minimal mess as compared to a clan of seven or eight. Clipping nails, a bit of brushing and combing and you’re done in minutes.

Four, he’s definitely the Pick of the Litter.

Five, your vet bill for exams, vaccinations, health certificates, etc. is going to be minimal – or as minimal as vet bill is likely to be these days. Which does not exactly fit the definition of minimal.

Six, potential puppy purchasers don’t have to make a choice between a boy or girl, black or brown and so on. He is what he is.

A word of warning here, if the pup is somewhat laid-back you might forget to sell him. That’s not the case when there’s a half dozen or more pups gnawing at your ankles, going through that expensive puppy food like they’re afraid starvation is right around the corner, climbing out of the puppy pen, testing their new teeth on the furniture and getting into wrestling matches in the wee morning hours. But just one pup can be a breeze in comparison. No rush to find his ideal forever home. It almost seems like a waste of money to advertise just one pup. Someone will come along. Boomer was a case in point. A single pup, he was four before he went to his forever family. He was easy going, congenial, well-behaved and quiet. When he was a pup, folks who called wanted a female or a male of a different color. So he stayed. Eventually, he was shown through to his championship. Someplace along the way, a family with three high-energy children bought a pup from me though I did not approve of their pick. She was a rambunctious girl, overloaded with energy and a non-stop nature. But they insisted she was what they wanted. A few months later, I got a call. No surprise. They couldn’t control her. When the children raced around outside, she chased after them, even nipping at them. If tied up, she barked incessantly. Inside, she ran over the furniture as though it was an agility course. She wasn’t a bad Beardie, she was just in the wrong home. I talked at length to the mother. She wanted a Beardie who would be a companion to the children but also a calm, good natured house pet. “I think I know the personality you want,” I told her and “I’ll be happy to take your pup back and replace her with a more relaxed pup from the next litter. I have an adult dog who has the temperament I think you’d like. Why don’t I let you take him for a week or two and see if that’s the personality you had in mind?”

So Boomer went off to spend some time with the family. And never came back. After two weeks, the mother called. “Could we just keep Boomer and forget about another pup?” she asked cautiously. He was exactly what they wanted and he lived out the rest of his long and happy life with them. Just for the record, the wild and crazy pup went to an obedience home and became a well-mannered pet.

My lone blue boy will not be taking up permanent residence here despite his excellent construction, despite his adorable expression, despite his go-get-em attitude, despite his authoritative gait. And that’s one of the disadvantages of a single pup. He can steal your heart.

– alice bixler, Bearded Collie Club of America