Mr. Tiny

Ever since she bought Charlotte, my older daughter has been planning for puppies. She carefully tracked Charlotte’s heat cycles, keeping her kenneled for the full amount of time and then some (about a whole month total). It was a botheration (and my husband tried to convince her to spay the dog and be done with it), but our daughter remained unmoved. She wanted puppies.

According to the pet shop where my daughter slapped down the big bucks, Charlotte is a beagle-Jack Russell Terrier-border collie mix. We can’t see any traces of the collie in her, but the other two shine through loud and clear. Because our daughter is fairly obsessed with beagles, she wanted to breed Charlotte with a beagle. Her determination led her to do bold (and uncharacteristic) things, such as making me stop the car so she could ask a random woman out walking her beagle about whether or not she knew of any good beagle males in the area.

Turns out, we didn’t need to look very far to find a stud dog. Our neighbor had connections to a beagle breeder, so when Charlotte went into heat at the end of March, my daughter called up the neighbor to make the arrangements.

I was a little concerned that this dog would be too big. Charlotte is so small and I was nervous about getting her into a fix. When I mentioned my concern to the neighbor, he said, “Oh, he’s small all right. His name is Tiny.” Which doesn’t mean anything. Some people name their dogs “Bear.”

Ten days after Charlotte went into heat, Tiny showed up at our house. And he was, indeed, tiny! In fact, though he was heavier and more solid than Charlotte, he was smaller than her by a good inch. I started to worry that he might not be able to … you know, um, reach.

Charlotte was excited. She flagged without ceasing, so eager for his services that she sat on his head:

But Mr. Tiny was timid, shy, and in no hurry. (And cuddly! He’s like a cat, the way he snuggles up in your lap.) He spent the first few hours focused on other matters—mainly, spraying scent and/or peeing on everything. Even the water dish.

We ordered the children to leave the dogs alone, so the younger two kept watch from the porch steps. After awhile, only my younger daughter was keeping vigil.

I was in the kitchen, cooking and watching from the window. Right around the time my daughter got bored and turned away to watch other things, the dogs started making their moves. For the next ten minutes they took turns jumping on each other. My daughter never once looked over at them and eventually wandered out to the driveway where the guys were fixing a water pipe. After a bit she came back to check on the dogs. They had just officially hooked up. She stared at them for a couple seconds and then comprehension hit. I watched it dawn on her face like the sunrise.

She yelled for the rest of the family. By then, the dogs were panicked and yelping. My husband went into the pen to calm them, and when my older daughter hesitatingly appeared on the scene, my husband called her in to help out.

Is there anything more awkward for a pre-teen girl than caring for coupling dogs alongside her father? The poor child was bashful, but hey, this is how puppies are made, so buck up, buttercup. She rose to the occasion and stood by her pet.

We kept Mr. Tiny for three days. The second day we were in town, so we weren’t able to keep track of the stats. But day three they hooked up three times. My younger son kept a running count. He said funny things, too, like, “Charlotte’s standing still but Tiny is fidgeting!” and “Well, I guess they figured out it feels good!”

By the end, the kids were matter-of-fact about the whole situation. They were interested but casual, without a trace of embarrassment anywhere. Tip: if you’re having trouble broaching the sex talk with your children, breed dogs. It kinda forces the issue.

So, assuming Mr. Tiny’s visit amounts to anything, we should have a passel of pups in about 60 days. A few weeks more, and they’ll go up for sale. Stay tuned!

This same time, years previous: an evening walk, deviled eggs, the things that go on around here, new territory: grief, cream of tomato soup, and my pregnant boyfriend.


  • Anonymous

    Loyal reader here and always enjoy your posts and how you keep it real.

    I do have to echo–although want to tone it down–what some other people commented about breeding and some ethics around it. This country puts down 2.7 MILLION healthy cats and dogs each year. (That is one every 11 seconds.) It's a terribly sad statistic and I do think we all need to keep educating ourselves on how to curb this sad reality.

    As I'm sure you know, being a responsible pet owner requires alot of time, dedication and even money throughout the pet's lifetime. Purchasing pups from a pet store often perpetuates pup mills and not properly screening pet owners to make sure they are up for the task of committing to an animal.

    I think it's important to encourage others who want to bring a pet into their lives to go to an animal rescue! And I do hope that with your (possible) upcoming litter, you carefully screen people wanting to adopt and encourage them to get their puppy fixed.

    I hope this doesn't sound "preachy"–ultimately, it is of course, your choice but I hope we can all continue to become educated to the reality of irresponsible breeding (not saying you are doing this…just that is happens frequently).

    Love reading your blog and writings–thanks for sharing little tidbits of your life with us!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I agree–sign your name, Anony! As for me…OREO post? What is the meaning? As soon as I read it, I had to dash for hubby's stash of oreo cookies and eat a few. Good grief.

  • Anonymous

    Your "miracle of life" lesson is disgusting and irresponsible. You are obviously uneducated about the suffering and agony of death that so many animals endure as a result of pet overpopulation, largely a result of backyard breeders – which you now are.

    Allowing your daughter to buy her beloved Charlotte at a pet store was your first mistake as it supports the backyard breeding industry. Not spaying her and relegating her to the backward are your next mistakes. Pets typically live inside and are part of the family, and receive routine medical care; based on your irresponsible breeding (and Oreo post) it seems professional medical care for animals is something you don’t understand.

    You would have been hard pressed to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue – typically these organizations don't adopt pets to homes where they will live outside, and if they aren’t already spayed or neutered you must sign a contract that the pet will be spayed or neutered when it is old enough. That said, visiting a shelter(s) would be a valuable lesson for your family. And you could do a math lesson about the breeding cycle and the millions of homeless dogs that are euthanized in shelters every year – talk about a real world lesson on exponential growth!

    I assume you selectively publish comments – namely the ones that glorify your family’s life and choices. Please do some research on the horrible pet overpopulation problem, spay Charlotte, and require that her puppies be spayed or neutered by their new families. Also, please share my thoughts with Tiny’s owner who is as irresponsible as your family.

    • Anonymous

      Assuming she does NOT selectively publish comments, how about you sign your name? Actually, sign your name either way. That's only fair, don't you think?

      – Kris

    • FarmersWife

      Seeing as how she and her family and their choices offend you so much, why do you continue to read her blog?
      She blogs about regular "country life" which happens to involve –hold your ears— LIFE and DEATH of animals and lessons learned that everything is not always a bed of roses and rainbows when you live the life that we do.

  • Laurie Longenecker

    This post was so entertaining. My favorite pic is your daughter watching from the porch steps and the two dogs staring back at her.

  • Anonymous

    No, don't breed dogs to teach kids about reproduction. Pick something like rabbits, where you can eat the offspring…that way none have a chance to end up in shelters. Maybe another good way to teach kids about reproduction is to take them to a shelter where they'll see the dogs that get put down because there are too many and not enough people adopting them. That'll teach them about when you DON'T want to reproduce.

  • The Domestic Fringe

    I bet those puppies are going to be adorable! We've never had this live breeding experience, but my daughter swears she saw a slug give birth once. I don't even think slugs give birth in that way, but what do I know.

  • Mavis

    I may be interested in a girl. 🙂 I'll have to ask the HH if he thinks one of these pups would be a good playmate for Lucy the puggle dog. Plus, I would get first pick, right?

  • sk

    Haha, this sent me chasing for these notes of mine in your brother's baby book–

    Age 6, after watching Pepper mating with a big brown Irish setter in our backyard:

    Me: Now do you know what he's doing, Z—?

    Z: Yeah, uh, giving away his sperm. . . . .

    Z: That's not how daddies do it to their mothers. They don't get butt-to-butt, do they? Butt-to-butt!

  • Kathy ~ Artful Accents

    Oh my lands, this is hilarious! Those are going to be some really cute pups! Will be waiting eagerly to hear that it's been a success.

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