The alarm rang at 3am on Saturday morning.  You know that feeling before you go on a long anticipated vacation and you just can’t sleep the night before?  That was us.  The previous night we had everything ready to go, a place for Sylvie to sit in the car with a comfy bed, a cuddly blanket, a new toy and some pee pads.  We obviously had road snacks and water too (for both dog and human).  This was going to be a long drive, almost 8 hours one way.  That may not sound too bad but we were going down and back in one day, so add on traffic, pit stops and the time we spent with her puppy parents and you have a 20 hour trip.

With all of our things, including a pillow, we headed out into the dark.  The roads were empty but a few twinkling headlights.  I took a nap somewhere in northern Virginia before it was my turn to drive, waking up to the morning light breaking through the thick fog.  We had done this trip before when we chose the breeder we were getting Sylvie from.  We wanted to meet them first, see where the puppies were raised and see her dog parents before choosing to take home a puppy.  Research is key when selecting a breeder.  Sylvie’s parents are now retired having only had a few litters and they are now living out their lives on their beautiful property, keeping an eye out for the trespassing deer.  When we met her human parents we were welcomed into their home like long time friends.  Now we were heading back to take 10 month old Sylvie home.  (Below is a picture of Sylvie when she was only about a month old living with her puppy parents):

We drove along the winding country roads past farms and dairies, fields of corn and soy, past cities and towns and Shenandoah National Park off in the distance.  Shenandoah is one of the few national parks that allow dogs on many of the hiking trails (Acadia in Maine does also).  I admired it from a grand distance with hopes to return with Sylvie.  (Stay tuned for more posts on dog-friendly hiking!).

Soon we arrived, driving up to the house tired from the drive but beyond excited.  We couldn’t wait to meet our new corgi puppy!  We were greeted with excitement from her puppy parents as they held Sylvie in their arms as we pulled up.  Her puppy parents told us that her ears had just stood up the other day (they stay flopped for the first few months).  She tucked her head away, shy of the new humans.  We walked inside and Sylvie started running and playing with her mom and dad as we spoke to her puppy parents and got the necessary paperwork, puppy gift bag and other goodies.  Here are some important things to consider when choosing where to get your new corgi puppy: Sylvie, her parents and her puppy owners are registered with the AKC.  Her doggy dad has a rather long and impressive pedigree, which means you are getting a corgi closer to the breed standard if that’s something that matters to you.  Her dog parents were also tested for various illnesses that can affect corgis, like Von Willebrand’s Disease and Degenerative Myelopathy, making sure they were either not carriers or clear of the disease themselves.  Sylvie also received all her necessary vet care prior to coming home with us and was raised indoors to prevent exposure to other illnesses before receiving all her shots.  These are important things to consider when getting a new puppy.

We scooped Sylvie up and it was love at first sight.  She was a bit sad to leave her parents (who wouldn’t be) but we plan to travel back to South Carolina so she can visit them one day.  Her dog parents bid Sylvie goodbye and were happy to head back inside and play, enjoying their child free home.  We slipped Sylvie’s new collar on, set her in the back seat with all her creature comforts and thanked her puppy parents.  I sat in the backseat with Sylvie for the first part of the ride, squeaking her new fox toy and making sure she was comfortable.  It took her no time at all to have a huge smile on her face.  Car tips for bringing home a puppy: plan your route and make sure you can stop at least every one to two hours, have water available and in an easily drinkable bowl (we had a handy water bottle with a spout given to use by her puppy parents), have a comfortable, safe place for them to ride in the car (you can also have them in a crate if your car is big enough, one of us sat in the backseat instead) and have pee pads down just in case of an accident.  Sylvie was nervous enough that she didn’t go to the bathroom until we got back to our home, despite numerous stops.  She also didn’t make a peep in the car, most likely because of the new setting.  I’ve heard from others that their puppies are good on their first car rides too, but it can vary.

Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, slightly nerve-wracking, and an all around adventure.  Here’s to a corgi filled future!