Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting A Puppy: Fort Lauderdale 2006

It was my second daughter who wanted a puppy. She had wanted one for a while but I had put it off for a number of reasons: 1. because both girls were still quite young and that was trouble enough. 2. because we had two cats and that was trouble enough. 3. because dogs are trouble enough and a puppy is even more trouble. But, what are you going to do? Getting a dog is somewhat like having a child, there's never the perfect time to do it so it's best, at some point, to just jump on in.

So, we jumped on in.

She wanted a purebred golden retriever, a male, that she would name Oliver. My second daughter was--what?--in sixth or seventh grade maybe? Still pretty young but old enough to help take care of her own puppy/dog. (Or so I told myself.) Anyway, I nixed the idea of a purebred. Too much money, too many nice dogs at the animal shelter that needed homes. She said okay and started looking. I also made her wait until school was out (in June) before we got one. So she looked online (they had a website where they listed the animals for adoption with photos etc) and we went in person to browse. Well, the day came--Last Day of School!--and we went to the shelter where there was a puppy that was part golden retriever (and who knew what else). It was a Friday, during the day, and not many people were there. So, we saw the dog--a cute puppy alone in a pen who jumped and frolicked, who played by herself with a worn dog toy, who looked you in the eye and was happy to see you. We asked to see her and the attendant took us to a room and then brought the puppy in.

The dog--small as a puppy but not a small dog--came bounding in and went right for my daughter. Happy happy puppy. Happy happy girl.

Well, that was that. We'd take her . . . But wait! Someone else was interested in her. The puppy was on hold. The other people were deciding if they wanted her and we were next in line. The attendant took our names and number and said they'd call tomorrow around noon if the other people decided they didn't want this little bright eyed reddish puppy with a white freckled nose and white feet and white belly and fluffy ears. So, we went home without the dog. Second Daughter told First Daughter about the puppy (First Daughter was pretty much strictly a cat person) and then told Fru--her mother--about the puppy. But, we had to wait . . . The next day--Saturday--I got up and my daughter wanted to call about the dog. "No," I said, "we have to wait for them to call us. Maybe we won't get her." So, we waited, noon came and went, and then we got the call: "Do you want this dog or not? We've got ten people on the list who want her!"

Well (again). No mention of the other people. No call to tell us the puppy could be ours. But I didn't complain. I just said, yes we want the dog. And so all of us got in the car and drove over to the Broward County Humane Society Shelter and met our future family member. And she was as bright eyed and lively as before. When we went to see her other people were admiring her and wanting her and when we got her one poor girl cried and cried. Sorry. Even the attendant who did the paperwork and took our money (yes, shelter dogs cost money) cried a little to lose this dog. And we bought a leash and collar, a tag, a water bowl, food bowl, food, a bed, treats, a stuffed duck for a toy (more money) and then she was ours. We took her outside and she just jumped and jumped and wanted to play and then in the car she was quiet and good and we took her home and the two cats freaked out for months.

Having a puppy was akin--at first--to having a camel in the house. There were trials and tribulations but also great joy. This all happened after Fru's breast cancer, after her chemo and radiation (such truly profound trials and tribulations). So, it was time to have a dog. Something new. Something positive . . . And she turned out to be more my dog than my daughter's. She turned out to be a wonderful wonderful dog who is still with us.

She wasn't a male purebred golden retriever named Oliver. No. She was much better than that.

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