While this blog isn’t specifically bully breed related, it is definitely worthwhile. It tells the tale (or is it tail?) of Icon the German Shepherd and his owner, Jen of Vom Haus Huro. Jen has been featured here many times and this is another one of her wonderful bits of print.
I do not understand the stigma of the labels applied to a litter of puppies. For example, the “pick of the litter” is synonymous with quality. However, the “last pick” puppy of a high quality litter could be (and in most cases will be) of higher quality than the first pick of a low quality litter. I mean, the best puppy from a crappy litter is still a crappy puppy. Just saying. The same thing goes for the runt.
Many people will toss that term out and say “oh I don’t want that puppy, it’s the runt”. Why? It may not have been the smallest at birth. It may be at a different growing stage than its siblings. It may be a late bloomer and it may just be smaller. Who cares? Do we live in such a super size-orientated world that we cannot possibly accept value in something smaller than its counterparts? Maybe if breeders charged by the pound or used slide measurements like a pumpkin patch we would see more people reaching for those smaller puppies first.
Personally, I really do not care what someone else may view as the pick of the litter. I also do not care if the puppy I like happens to be the smallest (Gasp! The dreaded runt!!). When I look at a litter of puppies I am looking at three things: temperament, attitude and working structure. Size, color, etc. do not even enter the equation. When it came to Icon, he was the puppy that nobody wanted, including me. The runt. The outcast. The untouchable. I kept him because nobody else wanted him. I resented the fact that buyers looked him right over due to his diminutive size. How dare they judge such an outgoing, brave little soul who could offer them everything that the other puppies could except for size. At 6 weeks of age I decided that the people judging him just weren’t good enough for him and kept him back “until he grew” (or so I told myself). It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I didn’t want a puppy at that time. I didn’t want a male puppy. I didn’t want Icon. He had other ideas. He set about forming a bond so deep with me that he would skip meals and play times just to sit next to me and stare adoringly at me, waiting for me to notice him. He would escape the warmth of the puppy pen at night to sleep in the cold hallway so that I would find him when I opened the door in the morning. I quickly became enamored with his stubborn streak. His fits of puppy rage and indignation when he couldn’t reach the things that the other puppies could fueled his little puppy brain to work overtime to figure out new ways to accomplish what he wanted. My fascination and admiration for him quickly grew and I finally admitted the truth to myself. The puppy that I had never wanted, the one that never wanted anything but me, was my dog and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Today, 2.5 years later he still stares adoringly at me. Now, he doesn’t have to wait for me to notice him though, because I am as addicted to his presence as he is to mine. We are codependent, we spend all of our time “telling” the other one how great they are and we have fun. A lot of it. Now when people notice him and compliment him, I laugh a little inside. I always wonder how many of them would have looked past the “runt” status and chosen him for themselves. He gets compliments on his work and on his looks. He has his own following now, his own fans and his own accomplishments. Not bad for a runt.