Maybe it was the full-moon. Or the fact that it was Friday. It may have been the excitement of doing something new and unexpected. Or it might have been the way she licked me, without abandon, at our first meeting.
Whatever the reason, it happened. And it seems there is no going back.
It was about two o'clock this past Friday afternoon. I had called Joe to talk to him about our plans for the weekend. "Heather," he said. "There's a puppy down here. They are trying to give her away. Do you want to come see?"
I paused. A nervous tingle rose up from my chest into my throat. A puppy?
Joe and I work in adjacent buildings on the same college campus. It's less than a five-minute walk from my office to his. Things were quiet at work, as usual for a Friday. Plus, I still needed to ask him about our plans.
"Okay," I said with some hesitation. "Be right down."
I was jogging down the long steps toward the entrance of Joe's building when I first saw her. She was even smaller than I had expected. Her short, squatty legs trotted around a circle of admirers as Joe and several other people stood on the walkway in front of his building. She approached each person, sniffed around their feet, then moved along around the circle. She looked friendly.
"She's so cute!" I shouted down to Joe. "What kind of dog is she?"
Joe shrugged his shoulders and smiled up at me. His look said, "Beats the heck out of me!"
I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs. "Hi puppy!" I said, as sweetly as I could. She came right over to me. Her amber-colored hair was soft and short.
"Look, she has blue eyes!" said one of the ladies who had been standing with Joe. Puppy's blue-gray eyes looked up at me innocently.
"You know, you can pick her up," another female co-worker said. Apparently, everyone in this 'puppy circle' was hoping I would fall in love with the dog and take her home, including Joe, I was beginning to see.
"How old is she?" I asked, awkwardly picking up the tiny mutt.
"About eight weeks," answered a college student who seemed to be in charge of this unclaimed piece of fuzzy property.
Amanda, a resident advisor on campus, had "confiscated" (her words not mine) this adorable animal from a group of male students in a nearby apartment, where pets are prohibited.
"I think she's part Labrador, part German Shepard," Amanda said with some authority. "She's really smart, I can tell already."
"Didn't the students have parents, or friends off-campus they wanted to give her to?" I asked, not wanting to steal this precious puppy from her rightful owners.
"No," Amanda the RA answered. "She has nowhere to go."
I looked at the puppy. "You're homeless, huh?" And that's when she kissed me, right on the mouth. It was a giant lick for such a little pup.
"Oh, oh!" said another of the women in the circle. "You're the first one she's kissed! She hasn't done that to any of us!"
I eyed the puppy, and the ladies, skeptically. I was beginning to feel set up. Was I really puppy's first kiss or was I just being suckered into adopting this happy, homeless mess?
"Well, what do you think honey?" asked Joe.
We had just bought a house, and this was going to be our big moving weekend. We were renting a truck the next day and moving all of our things from Tennessee. All I could think of was the logistics of throwing a puppy into the mix, and the huge amount of work it was going to take adopt this animal long-term. Neither Joe nor I had ever raised or trained a dog. The only pet we'd ever had was a Holland Lop, a rabbit named "Dutch." All Dutch did was poop and eat pellets in his hutch in the backyard. No walking, no potty training, no work required.
Then there was the expense of having a real pet. We needed our money to buy a lawn mower and bedroom furniture, not to spend on vet visits and vaccinations.
Looking at Joe though, I could tell he really wanted to keep her. It was totally shocking that Joe, whose first answer to everything is "no" -- especially when it comes to spending money -- was open to the idea of having a dog. Then I thought of our two boys, ages four and two, who would be over the moon with happiness to have a pet puppy.
Let me pause here to say that it's always dangerous to think of what your kids might want in any given situation. When I stop thinking about myself, I am liable to do just about anything if I think it would make my boys happy. Like a few weeks ago when Christian was running around on the baseball field while the sprinklers were running.
"Come on, mom, want to try?" he asked. "It's really fun!"
"No honey, I am having fun watching you!" was my default, motherly answer.
But then I saw Christian's disappointment and thought to myself, why not? Why shouldn't I run through the sprinklers with my boys? So we ran through the sprinklers, Christian and me, carrying Henry, laughing and getting our clothes grassy, wet and muddy.
With every eye in the doggy ring on me, I had the feeling I was about to go running through the sprinklers all over again, this time with a slobbery, stumpy, stumbling little pup.
"Well, why not?" I answered Joe.
And like the end of every good story, the rest is history. Welcome to the family Brandy Rose!