first published in the Weimaraner Magazine, January 1980, page 13
The old gentleman passed his gnarled hand over the shiny silver skull. "Mars." The name, spoken softly, failed to rouse the still Weimaraner. The man sighed. "Sleep well, old friend," he whispered. "I knew it had to be soon." He rose and pushed one of a panel of buttons, calling a whisper-silent cart out of hibernation. Reverently, he lifted the lifeless dog onto the automated dolly, and swiftly programmed its directional computer. Instantly, it bore the grey form away.
Memories flooded the old man's mind. Westminster, 2032 -- Dual Ch. Chromesmith's Mars, UDT, RDX, SDX, VX, in his prime, awarded the red, white, and blue rosette. Mars as a puppy, bumbling into the airavator and floating there, totally puzzled, ears flapping gently in the breeze. Mars in the fields, his hunting companion in the remote preserves set aside for dogs and men to play out the ancestral roles of their respective species. It hurt losing his old friend, but there was also a touch of anticipation, the hard-suppressed thrill of a long, long wait finally coming to an end.
He strode out of the room and entered the airavator. As the stream of air gently carried him down, a parade of memories marched before him. Before Mars had been Jupiter; less the showman, but a first-rate obedience performer. Then there was Mercury--a shining, quicksilver bitch, full of life and wit and the will to please. It had been a temptation to raise with her, especially since that dog -- what was his name? The one who took the 2008 Futurity -- seemed to complement her so well. But he had stuck to his plan, and now he was glad.
He remembered Pluto, with his sweet, sunny disposition. Neptune and her burning desire to retrieve; and Uranus, his first champion finished from the Bred-By class, way back in 1987. What a special litter it had been! A litter to make a breeder proud; a litter to enjoy and to revel in. It still hurt that Saturn had been killed, before his prime, before he had a chance to become the dog he was born to be. But he had to admit, in this litter at least, the joys more than compensated for the heartbreaks.
He floated gently to a stop at the sub-basement level, walked down a long hall, and stopped in front of a vault-like chamber. With a flash of light, the computer lock identified him and opened. He hurried by seven dark empty pods which lined the walls, his whole attention rivetted on the eighth pod, which glowed softly. Through the transparent lid, his eyes fondled the shape of a seven-week-old Weimaraner puppy, curled in a tight ball as if securely asleep. He broke the seal of the pod and gently, reverently gathered up the still grey form. Carrying it to the vivifier, he inserted the pup, closed the door, set the dials, flipped a switch and sat down to wait.
It didn't take long. First he heard a soft scraping; then a padding of big, floppy feet; then a little puppy whine. He opened the vivifier, and out toddled the shiny, long-eared grey baby. She looked up at him; he returned her gaze with moist eyes and a huge, happy grin. "Little Venus," he said. "I'm glad I saved the best for last." The pup set about inspecting the narrow confines of the suspended animation chamber, showing with every step and pose the beauty and grace that were her birthright. Even the cloak of youth couldn't hide the elegance and perfection of this little Weimaraner.
He smiled, watching her. "Yes, indeed," he thought. "The joy of dogs is in being a Breeder." He opened the door and whistled his little, lovely, fifty-some-year-old puppy out of the chamber and into a new life. "I can hardly wait to raise my second litter," he thought, and strode down the hall, his pick-of-litter bitch at his heel.