I think last week my husband and I may have done something impulsive. And sorta stupid. We’d been talking about it for months. How our two kids are getting to be the perfect age for someone new. Annabel had been leaving notes on our computers, begging for a new member of our family. I’ve been reading articles online about how to transition my kids to this new change.
And then we just kinda pulled the plug and did it.
We got a puppy.
The night before the big adoption, we had a family meeting, during which we discussed the annoying and gross responsibilities that come with a dog (none of which, truly can be accomplished by either of my children!). We made lists of things we’d want in a dog (Annabel: a dog that cuddles, Luke: a dog that plays, Me: a dog that doesn’t immediately smell like a toilet and that looks cute, and Antony: a smart dog) and things we didn’t want (Annabel: a dog that jumps on people, Luke: a dog that runs away and never comes back, Me: a dog that is extra large, Antony: a dog that is extra small).
And then of course, we made lists of name suggestions. Luke went through his entire class of preschool, offering suggestions of first and last names together, and then started to make up names (that was of course, after his silly stage of suggesting things like “Canal” or “Steering Wheel” as the perfect name for a dog). Annabel went for flowery names like Lily or Sandy. I went for names that reminded me of our family life together or my history with Antony, like Scout, Georgia, Gideon, or Kakuli.
And I still didn’t think we’d actually go through with it.
The next day, I emailed to Antony a photo of a little dog named Ferdinand from Petfinder. “He’s at the shelter near us!” I texted. Ferdinand seemed like the perfect dog for us. Firstly, his name fit our family to literary perfection. I’ve always loved the children’s book, Ferdinand, and my son, Luke, seems so like that character, not a rough and tumble boy but rather more one who marches to the beat of his own drum. And this puppy, boy was he cute! He was a golden retriever mix with blue eyes!
Antony called me that afternoon. “I’m here with Ferdinand,” he spoke cautiously.
“What?!?” I was shocked. Were we really going through with this? It felt like when we really, really decided to stop using birth control and try for a whole few minutes and then, BAM, we were pregnant.
“Bring the kids to come for a look,” he said.
“Is he so cute?”
Antony paused, “Yeah, but there’s another little guy here who’s super mellow and cute, too. Look at him online.”
So I did. I looked at his photo and didn’t think much of him. I rather drove out there thinking about the literary connection I had with this handsome Ferdinand.
When we arrived at the shelter, Ferdinand indeed was there and available for adoption. He was super soft and super cute and friendly. He also immediately jumped up on Annabel, like excited puppies tend to do. I saw her hesitate. I saw the look of surprise mixed with a little fear.
And then they brought in puppy #2. They SAY he’s a wheaten terrier mix. I’m doubtful of that. He’s definitely some kind of terrier, mixed with who knows what else. He has a silly black beard that goes along with his black patch on his snout, which makes him look old beyond his years. They estimate that he’ll be 40 pounds-ish, but honestly, how can they know that when he’s a mutt of breeds?
But he immediately came over and cuddled with Annabel. And he smelled like a puppy. And he played with the squeezy toys. And he was gentle and loving and soft and wiry at the same time.
This is our dog.
He’s not the dog I thought I’d get, but he is now ours. We call him Winston (after another old man whom I admire–Churchill). He’s pooping on my floor and whining at night, but hopefully those things are temporary. Because he’s also cuddling with my kids before bedtime and looking at them with the same love and anticipation of times to come that I did when I first met THEM.
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