Just when I think I'll really start jamming away on a writing project, life hurls interruptions at me like Lizzie Brula chucking dodge balls during 2nd grade gym class. I try to dodge them, deflect them, catch them and throw them at someone else, but I fail.
One school program (during the day, of course), one sick kid with a mountain of homework, one needy sister (oy), one more birthday present to purchase (the fourth birthday party one of my children has been invited to this month), one back spasm (I blame that darn roller coaster in the Dells) and one dog.
Yep, you read that right. My spirit has been officially crushed by this tribe of testosterone-laden yo-yos. They've been begging, pleading, making pie-in-the-sky promises and offering bribes for years. Saturday we went to the animal shelter and Mr. G pointed to a bulldog-mastiff mix that stood as tall as him. He was brought out and Mr. D cried, "Send it back!" because he has a serious prejudice against short-haired breeds. All along I've told the gang a puppy is out of the question. Naturally they pointed next to a 6 month old lab named Harley.
Harley came out, began jumping on everybody, Mr. G clung to my leg in terror and began to cry. Harley responded by peeing all over the floor. I bit back "I told you so" while Mr. D cried, "Send it back!"
"There is another dog," the shelter worker told us, "he just came in last week from the Keshena Reservation."
"Let's take a look," Mr. D agreed.
A 2-year-old flat hair retriever mix humbly followed her into our midst and cringed, his tail tucked between his legs. He panted and looked up at us with a smile. (Can dogs smile?) After making his rounds, he ended at my feet, looking up for my official approval. Smart dog, he knew instinctively the alpha-human in the room.
We're not sure where this dog came from, he's a good listener, but doesn't know basic commands like "Stay" and "Sit." He wants to please, has a mellow temperament, and we have yet to hear him bark. Mr. D bets some family bought him as a puppy for their kid and it got to be too much work so they dumped it on the rez. I prefer my theory, that he was owned by a kindly old man who died suddenly and with no one to take care of him, the dog ran away.
I'm quite certain I'm right.
So, dear reader, it begins like this: we fill out the application and they check our references and call us Monday to pick up the dog. The dog that everybody else wants sooooo badly they'll die if they cannot have him. But! Mr. D's in meetings all day Monday, so can I take care of it?
I go get the dog, ask questions, learn about his care, bring him home, take him for his first walk/poop/pee. I acclimate him to the children and explain the boundaries of keeping this dog in our house. The dog is smothered with love and affection, his tail starts to wag, everyone's happy.
This morning on his way out the door Mr. D calls back, "I forgot to give him his medicine when I fed him this morning. Can you take care of it?"
And so we begin. How much you want to bet that the dog that everybody else wanted will end up being my dog, because I'll be the person who takes care of it the most?
Oh, we named him "Jax."