She has been asking for a dog for a long, long time.
We’d been visiting our local shelter the past few weeks and she had expressed interest in a sweet mutt, but the dog ended up testing heart worm positive. Then we applied for a yellow lab out-of-state and he ended up going to another family. We kept visiting the local shelter to play with the dogs and she had her heart set on on one of these lab puppies:
She even used her Christmas money to sponsor a dog when we told her any money she donated we would match:
We were a little worried about how big the labs would get, but we went through the adoption process. Two weeks ago the shelter called all our references, talked to our vet and neighbors in California, and we were finally approved to adopt River. But…somehow wires got crossed and when we went back to visit last Friday to hopefully finalize an adoption we learned that all three pups had been adopted. One puppy had already left and the other two were leaving that afternoon. When we heard the news Boo walked quietly out of the room without saying a word and disappeared. I knew she was off crying with the puppies.
For a split second my mind said: Phew, I’m off the hook. Because that’s where my head has been for the last few years. The repeated declarations to Boo of: We will never have another dog. Dogs are messy. No. No. No. No. No more dogs. We won’t be able to travel, don’t you want to travel? Do you know how much vet bills are? And I will be the one that has to take care of it!
I had every excuse in the book…because I have never naturally been a dog person: I don’t like having my schedule interrupted by dog walking. I don’t like the look of crates and gates cluttering up the house. I can’t stand all the dog smells and shedding. I’m tired of potty accidents in the house. I don’t like poop in the yard. But watching my daughter set aside all her money for dog donations and dog supplies the past few months began to wear down that grumpy dog person in me. I’ve watched in awe as she concentrates on dog training DVDs and videos, sometimes watching them twenty times over. I’ve sighed as she has asked me to stop the car so she can take her stuffed dog on potty breaks to proved to me that she can take care of a dog. I realized I need to get over myself, and see how much joy might come out of something I am so adamant against:
I need to get out of my daughter’s way.
So anyway, back to the puppies. I found Boo crying over the two remaining labs, knowing she would never see them again. But then we found out that they were being adopted to neighbors which ended up being a silver lining. We were happy for them that they would not be separated. And as we left I said, “we will find the perfect dog for you, I promise.”
That night, after Boo was in bed, we scoured the Internet again looking at all the shelters and ads within a 100 mile radius. Brett found a small terrier that a family was no longer able to keep. He was a shy, skittish one-year-old that had spent most of his life in a crate. Twelve people had expressed interest in front of us but they chose us because they liked the idea of the dog having a small playmate like Diesel to live with. And just a day before we were contemplating a lab. I think that’s a sign that it was meant to be. When we finally met him we knew he was going to be ours. He let Boo hold him like a little baby and he just nuzzled right up to us.
Meet Maximus aka “Max”
And Max loves Diesel, although Diesel wants nothing to do with him. Diesel’s licking his chops and saying: ain’t nobody got time for that.
Now I have a permanent shadow following me around all day. If he could crawl into my body and wear my skin to get closer I think he would. He just wants to be loved and to please us. Boo was worried about him not eating so she hand fed him every morsel of dog food at dinner last night…Max appreciated every second of it.
Max has a lot of quirks and we know we’ll have to be extra patient with him. I set up a camera so I can watch him from my phone at night to check on him. Boo has woken up the past few mornings on her own to take him out first thing. She scours the pet section of every store to see if there is something he might need. She’s so happy taking care of him.
Brett: It’s strange, I don’t feel like he’s a new dog. It’s like he’s always been here.
Me: It’s like he knew we were his family right away.
We feel like he’s always been part of the family, and we think he does too.
Diesel is still thinking about his verdict.
Me: I think you should build two permanent dog beds into this cabinet.
Brett: But what if one day in the future we only have one dog.
Me: Then we’ll have to go and find another.