As a customer service representative for the largest performance registry in the United States I have run into some really unusual questions. We try to prepare ourselves to have an accurate answer for every feasible question we may be asked. Occasionally, a customer throws you a curve ball, and no matter how educated you are on your area of expertise, you don’t have an answer. So, you try not to stammer too much when you ask for their number and let them know you will be calling them back shortly, hopefully with an answer.
Normally, when the “out of the ordinary” question is solved and we have an answer, this priceless information is shared with everyone else in the department…just in case they are ever presented with the same or a similar question.
I have a few “peculiar” situations I was recently presented with that I will never forget as long as I live. I am sure the Customer will never forget their situation either. Usually the Customer and I have a good laugh, and both wind up shaking our heads in astonishment at what lengths dog go to and what on earth were they thinking?
Like Bob in Colorado who had a female he was showing that came in season. Now, Bob you have to understand, didn’t want to breed his female until he retired her from the show ring. Unfortunately, Ginger and Bob didn’t see eye to eye on this decision. So, Ginger took matters in her own hands, uh, paws. Pretty soon Ginger started looking a little fat, you get the idea. Even Ginger began to realize the gravity of her frivolity. Bob has a few males in the kennel who, of course, were all being very closed mouth concerning Ginger. Through DNA testing, we were able to help Bob solve the mystery and register all of Ginger’s puppies. Ginger and the proud papas are enjoying watching the pups frolic about and Bob is convinced at least three of them are show quality. Good luck, Bob in Colorado, it was nice working with you.
Another favorite caller of mine is Virginia in Kentucky. Ah, Virginia, I still scratch my head when I ponder your “unique situation.” Virginia called me one spring day and said “I have a predicament and I don’t know exactly what to do.” I said “I will be glad to help you.” Lucky me. Virginia started her story and it goes something like this. “I have two litter mate sisters, Lucy and Lottie, who were bred to the same male; both females started whelping at the same time.” I thought, is this a joke or what? She continued to tell me how she was at one end of the house with one female and her husband, Sam, was at the other end of the house with the other female, both females in whelp.
They even called each other on their cell phones each time a pup was born; all together, there were twenty five phone calls between Virginia and Sam that night. All of the madness stopped around 3 am, and Virginia and Sam collapsed in bed, contented that both mothers and all of the puppies were doing fine. One mother with 12 puppies and the other with 13 puppies: those two were always competing.
The next morning, Virginia arose and immediately went to check on the moms and pups, “SAM!” She screamed, “COME QUICK!” Most of Lucy’s pups had vanished! Instead of having 13, she now had five. They ran to Lottie’s whelping box and there were the missing puppies! Of course they were all mixed in together, happily nursing and being coddled by Lottie. Virginia’s question to me was, can DNA work in this situation? After a quick call to the lab, I was able to provide an honest answer, yes, Virginia we can help you sort through this mess. We sent Virginia a bundle of DNA swabs with directions and advice on swabbing everyone.
I had to chuckle when I finished my call with Virginia, what happened here? Was this a case of out of control sibling rivalry? Or, was it canine one-up-man-ship? I envisioned jealous Lottie, always thinking Lucy received just a hair more attention then she received. Uh-huh, I will fix her; I will steal her puppies and make them my own. So is this what happened?
Or, the other possibility is this: Lucy is much smarter than Lottie and gently picked up each puppy and carried it down the hall past the snoring of Virginia and Sam and deposited each puppy carefully into the ever jealous Lottie’s bed, knowing Lottie would think she finally had one up on her.
Thank you, Virginia in Kentucky, for making my day and please say hello to Lucy and Lottie for me.
Read more about UKC DNA Programs here.