After all of our eager anticipation, our little puppy finally entered the world on April 7th! This is a very special date because my childhood dog, Brutus, was born on the same day. The mother, Sally Jo, had a rather unusual, long labor producing a total litter of twelve puppies with a few stillborns mixed in. The little pups were doing well initially, but some had a bit of trouble regulating their temperature and getting enough milk.
Unfortunately, the litter had more than a few casualties and only six remain, which is not a terribly unusual occurrence. There are now five boys and one girl.
Choosing a breeder is a pretty big decision especially due to the cost of these "designer mutts" which can range from $700 - $1,800. $1,800 tends to be the price tag for the mini-goldendoodles because to form a mini, it cannot happen naturally for sizable reasons, and artificial insemination comes into play. We are a research centric family which means we delve into subjects until nausea or exhaustion whichever comes first. So, we began to pore over the Internet.
All throughout the Web, there are uncertified breeders trying to hawk their dogs. Buyer beware. One thing we learned is that when buying a dog, you really want to assure that they are coming from a good environment and not a "puppy mill." We were encouraged to visit the breeding facility to make certain that it is clean - check that water bowls are fresh, assure the sleeping area is adequate, and clarify that the dogs have access to the outdoors and fresh air. In our case, our breeder did not want to chance visitors bringing in any sort of germs, so we called references that she gave us. When one woman with doodles declined my offer to visit her home, she told me that she would meet me in a Starbucks parking lot with the dog. It felt like a clandestine drug deal, and I promptly said no.
Along with a clean facility, Jeff wanted to make certain the dog's parents were certified against hip and elbow dysplasia. Large purebred dogs can easily fall prey to this condition and require multiple, expensive surgeries to correct it. One lark we almost embarked on was me driving a 14-hour round trip to Kansas to purchase a $750 doodle (a virtual steal), but when the breeder could not satisfy our inquires, we nixed the whole idea which was probably for the best, although I was looking forward to seeing the sights in Kansas. It was important enough to us to pay a little more upfront to get some assurance for health in the later years.
We began to pore over this website, http://goldendoodles.com/breeders.htm to find a local breeder who was within driving distance. Breeders will fly a dog to you, but this of course is an extra cost and could prove to be traumatic. Jeff and I were willing to drive to basically any state that surrounds Texas - Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, or as far north as Kansas.
We finally settled on Oklahoma-based Stroodles Doodles - www.stroodlesdoodles.com. After discussing the dogs via phone, Jeff was impressed by how knowledgeable the breeder, Niki, is and her good record on dysplasia. So, we paid a $350 down deposit to put towards a grand total of $1,300 for our dog. I know, I know. It is pricey, but this is our very first child. With both of our traits eventually swirling into a kid, we can't guarantee what he or she will be like. At least with a puppy, we can handpick him a bit more.
Our puppy's parents are the lovely Sammy Jo (golden retriever girl) and Bo, a rogue shark (standard poodle boy). The names are a bit back country sounding, but wait until you see the final product!
After much hemming and hawing, Jeff and I finally decided that a puppy was the right decision for us. One main requirement was that the little guy would not shed. Due to allergies, cleanliness, and the fact that Jeff is in charge of vacuuming, we wanted to stay away from all that excess hair. I have always been partial to the messy, curly look, so a doodle seemed the obvious choice!
My first instinct was to go with the labradoodle. See below:
After speaking with multiple breeders, we found that the labradoodle is well-liked, but the overall consensus is that goldendoodles have a calmer temperament, shed less frequently, and produce less of an allergic reaction in people. The goldendoodle also looks a little stockier overall (indestructible), which I find appealing
Our first instinct was to wait and see if a doodle might appear at our local SPCA. No such luck came our way. We seriously considered rescuing any pup in need from there, but with our first dog we wanted to nurture him from birth, so we could be sure of his temperament. We did not want to risk a dog that might have been raised in a bad home and developed aggressive tendencies that could arise later on.
The next thought was that there are myriad rescue organizations for every sort of breed across the nation, but once again most of these dogs are not puppies. We wanted the full experience with our first dog. So, we were off on the breeder search!
Oh the joys of motherhood, or should I say puppyhood...? What does every new marriage need - a puppy! It is the perfect solvent for a couple who want something to love besides each other. So, my husband, Jeff, and I have decided that a fuzzy, rather large goldendoodle is just the thing to solidify our fledgling union.
In case you don't know what a goldendoodle is, see below.
As I overheard someone say, a doodle is a "designer dog" which is frankly a fancy way to say a mutt that was planned. The doodle gets the best of both worlds gaining intelligence and height from the poodle and friendliness and pleasing nature from the retriever. One big added benefit of these dogs is very light shedding, due to the poodle's influence.
What does a real, live doodle look like? See Exhibit A below.
Our puppy will basically look like a golden retriever but with more of a curly twinge to the fur.
See Exhibit B below.
After a few months, our doodle should look more like this. He will be a strapping young pup with lots of energy to spare!
See Exhibit C below.
Only if he grows to this monstrosity, can we grace him with names like "Bear" and "Beast."
Really what we are hoping to be able to do is this: