Dammit did not like motherhood. A hound cross with some wayward water breed, she did not take to mothering her puppies. Before the puppies were weaned correctly, she and a retriever named Max ran off together for buoyant fun in a neighbors pond. That is how the six puppies wound up at the saddlery with my friend Bill.
Mr. Harris, the head clerk, reluctantly agreed to let Bill keep them in a storage area. Bill or I would trot off at regular intervals to make sure they had their feedings. If this did not happen on schedule, the sounds of whimpering puppies would sound throughout the building. The pups were cute, and over the weeks, each and everyone was selected for adoption by an employee.
The issue would be separating them from their other foster mother, Tigris, the saddlery’s tough, no-nonsense mouser. Under Tigris’ tutelage, the puppies learned to clean themselves – in a strangely catlike manner; one tried earnestly to imitate Tigris’ arboreal talents at leaping to high shelves – with disastrous results. They all learned a disturbingly catlike habit of playing with their food. Tigris dutifully brought them mice daily.
As the puppies left for their new homes, it was clear that they had the Tigris brand; that bark sounded as though they were trying to meow.