I know what I’d said – The trip to the pet store was exploratory only. We would NOT be bringing a dog home with us. There are a million reasons why one doesn’t buy a dog from a pet store – And I’d meant it. Every word of it. I swear.
But I was starting to waiver. I mean, you try sitting on the floor with the world’s sweetest little puppy on your lap, licking your hand, looking up at you with those big, gooey, full-of-love puppy dog eyes and then tell me about conviction.
So yeah, I started asking about price and making a check-list of what we’d need to bring him home RIGHT THAT VERY SECOND. But as it turned out, Chunk (his real name) had what the store owner called a ‘cold’. He explained to us, therefore, that we would not be able to take him home that day. He was awaiting a vet check later in the week at which he would presumably be cleared for adoption.
I swear, those words may well have been Divine Intervention.
I knew (much as I may not have FELT, I KNEW) that this was NOT the way for us to buy a dog. More than that, this wasn’t the way for us to adopt a new member into our family. For years, I’ve heard the heartbreaking stories of dogs kept in puppy mills throughout the country. As much as I’d fallen in love with that adorable little guy, I just couldn’t be a party to supporting that kind of treatment of innocent animals.
I also knew that little Chunk doesn’t need to be ‘rescued’ from his temporary home at the pet store. With those eyes, he will no doubt find a loving family within short order. In the meantime, it’s obvious that he’s in good hands. The store staff obviously adores him and although he isn’t constantly running free, he is in a relatively expansive enclosure. Yes, Chunk will be just fine.
And so it was that we left the store without our Charlie. I explained to BOTH of the girls (I’m still giddy that I had to explain to BOTH of the girls! Do you mind if I say it just one more time? I explained to BOTH of the girls .. whooopeeee!) that Chunk was a wonderful little doggie who would no doubt be a great friend to a different family, but that he wasn’t our Charlie. I told them that we would work on finding our Charlie – that he or she (best part of the name, don’t you think??) is out there somewhere and that Mama was going to find him/her.
The short version of the now very long story is that we have an appointment to visit a breeder on Saturday. She has three very promising puppies for us to meet, and she has agreed to allow us to meet them one at a time, in as quiet an environment as she can manage to create. I am grateful for her sensitivity to Brooke’s fears.
Katie is beside herself with excitement.
In the meantime, I keep checking in with Brooke – testing her conviction. When I picked her up at school on Tuesday, another mom had a Cavie on a leash. As soon as she spotted the dog, Brooke climbed up my leg like a koala and clung to me for dear life. I looked at her aide, thinking, ‘Well, maybe she’s not really ready for this.”
“Hey, Brooke, honey,” I said. “That’s a dog just like Charlie. Are you sure you still want a dog like that to come and live in our house?”
“Yup,” she responded.
At pick-up yesterday, her aide could barely contain her excitement. “You HAVE to see what’s in her back-pack!” she said. “It was totally, 100% completely independent! Wait until you see it!”
And there it was. Proof positive that once again, nothing will stop my kid – not even one of her greatest fears. I keep picturing that day at the State Fair this summer. The day that she stood next to her sister with her hands clamped over her ears, pointing to the noisiest ride on the fairgrounds. “I would go on THAT one,” she’d said.
Yes, our Charlie is out there. And hopefully, we’ll be meeting him (or her) on Saturday. Which is a good thing, because .. well .. see for yourself ..
“I want a puppy. He says Woof Woof.”
Brooke, March 17, 2010