The day began quite early.
Today was #1 Puppy Pick Up day! #2, the running of a maiden race for friends Thoroughbred mare, and #3 the running of the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. The Kentucky Derby had just been won by D. Wayne Lucas’ Thunder Gulch and ridden by Gary Stevens. And now the Preakness was scheduled for 2:30 pm. We had a full day ahead to get all these events fit into the time frames given.
We were at the Dalmatian breeder’s home by 8 am. Early I know, but the little one had to leave the litter shortly after having her pablum breakfast.
After hello’s, hugs, introductions (my close friend Eloise had offered to chauffeur for the day, as driving with a 21 day old puppy would have been perilous!) we entered the Puppy Room. They were just finishing up cleaning up the puppy bowls. My new little girl was not about to leave a bowl without making sure that every possible crumb and mixture of food was no longer detectible, and the bowl was restored to original shine!
I had brought her a blanket, the bottom half of a pet carrier, a bowl, some bottles of water, some chews, some squeakys, and was relying on the breeder to supply me with a small bag of the food that she had been eating (to start her off). And the breeder did give us a small bag of her pet food that she was using for the puppies.
After paper signing, copies of all contracts made and dispensed, more hugs, some goodbyes, we were off to the races, literally.
On the way to the racetrack, we passed a garage sale, and decided to stop. The one thing I had forgotten to bring for the puppy was a stuffed animal. She was so tiny, she would need a soft and warm companion to cuddle up to when she was tired. And much to our delight and surprise, at this garage sale, there was a one foot tall Panda Bear. Black and white to match the puppy black and white, and perhaps a color combination that would be familar for her in leaving home. Stuffed teddy in tow, off we left again for the races.
Arriving at the track I was told by the gate keeper at the Owner’s entrance, that “dogs were not allowed on the backstretch or track or stabling areas.” “Dogs?” I questioned? Was he actually referring to this one pound black and white spotted wiggly piggly as a Dog? I assured him that at no time would I ever put her down, nor would I allow her any freedom, as he could see that she was hardly large enough to see let alone trust on the ground around horses or people. But no, he would not allow us to come in with her.
What to do? We could not leave her in the car. We had to attend the race, as it was under committed promise that we pick up the puppy ‘only if we would be at this particular horse’s maiden race’! What could we do?
All of a sudden I see the Racetrack Veterinarian walking towards us, surrounded by children. I heard that the children had seen our arrival at the gate, and of course all of the children took notice of a Dalmatian arriving (no matter how small and insignificant she was as a breed representative) and had run to tell the Track Veterinarian how the gateman would not allow the puppy to enter.
The Track Veterinarian invited her to stay in his “office” on the backside of the track. His office was a small portable house trailer, parked just off of the backstretch stabling area. He generously took the half crate from me, as the children took toys, food, bowl, water, chews and all worked so amazingly cohesively together you thought they had rehearsed the actions! I protested with “but she will have to potty?” And they all, in that same amazing cohesiveness, began putting newspapers on the floor at one end of his trailer. He had a giant smile on his face and said what the cost would be for this overwhelming generosity. I questioned this cost. He said, “that the children can spend the afternoon naming the puppy.” Naming the puppy, hmmmm. A most generous offer. Agreed. The children could name the puppy. I informed them that as a registered show dog, she would need a “formal registered name” and a farm or pet name that she would be called all day every day.
We left the puppy in great hands, and went to find our friends in the backstretch area. We found them, had the opportunity to say hi to the mare before she was tacked and ready to enter the walking area prior to the call to the track with the rest of the particular race entrants.
Unfortunately the mare was so overwhelmed with the crowd that she literally stopped running in front of the grandstand at the first pass, and never caught up to the rest of the horses, and finished an embarrassing last place. But she did go on to win her third race entered a few weeks later.
When we returned to the Veterinary’s trailer, the gatesman told me that it was fine to take the puppy through the barns if I wanted; she had obviously charmed everyone in the entry area of the owner’s entrance! We did take a small barn side trip to go and see our friend’s horses, and let the puppy have her first meet and greet of racehorses. She was totally in love with these big animals who would snort at their greeting of her.
Our agreement, the name. The children had spent the time coming up with what they determined was a suitable name for the puppy. Perdita. I had not seen the movie, so I was unaware that Perdita was the name of the mother dog in the movie, 101 Dalmatians. The children gave me all of the variations of the name: Perdita, Perdy, Ditta, Perds, etc. The children had not been able to agree on a Registered Name for Perdita, but as they spoke and told me of all of the possibilities they had gathered together, I instantly thought of a name.
Sunday Silence. He was a registered thoroughbred race horse. He had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes (which was soon to be televised at 2:30 pm). He was small, and so was Perdita. He was black, and Perdita was black and white. He had an undaunted heart and spirit, and it was proving that so did she. And he had won my heart, and she had won the heart of all of these children.
So we had our names. Sunday Silence, for her registered name; and Perdita for her farm name.
Now to drive home and watch the Preakness Stakes at home, and let Perdita have a small nap.