I've told this story before, but none of you knew me then--not even you, Babaloo!--so I'm going to tell it again. Maybe I'll tell it better this time around. (And, coincidentally, Leslie has meemed me for the Archive Meem, where you post oldies but goodies from your blog. I think this can qualify, even though it's rewritten.)
HOW BOSCOE JOINED THE PACK
It was one of those out-of-the-blue moments. Doug and Toby and I had just moved into a house, after a year of living in the cramped ground-floor unit of a triplex right next door to a SuperAmerica. The new house wasn't big, but it felt spacious after living for so long in just three rooms. It had an upstairs! And a downstairs! And a basement! It also had a three-season porch and a big backyard--an American-dream yard, with a white picket fence.
The new house was right across the street from a park. Never again would we hear an electronic megaphone voice say, "Go ahead on pump three!" in the middle of the night. With luck, never again would anybody pee in our front yard. (The triplex had also been halfway between two neighborhood bars.)
Everything was great. And then Doug threw me for a loop by saying...
"...I want a dog."
"We have a dog," I said.
"Toby's your dog," he said. "I want a dog of my own."
For some reason, this filled me with angst. Two dogs seemed like much more work than one, and a puppy seemed like a whole lot more work. Sure, Toby had worked out fine, but it had taken me months--months!--to housebreak him, and why would I want to go through that again? Especially in a brand-new house, with fairly nice carpeting? Besides, Toby was not fond of strange dogs. What if he hated the puppy? What if he attacked it? What if he killed it?
OK, I am a worrier.
But Doug kept bringing it up, and I couldn't really think of a rational argument against getting a second dog. Other than the ones I just listed. Which weren't really rational.
So one afternoon we walked over to the pound on Jessamine Avenue a few blocks away, to check out the puppies.
We did not stay long.
It was a depressing place, smelling of disinfectant and echoing with the barks of a hundred dogs. A grey and black cat slunk through, briefly liberated, perhaps, from its own kennel.
We walked down the rows of caged dogs. An old dog looked at us mournfully from behind the chicken wire. His shaggy head hung low and his eyes were sad. "Reason for surrender: Owner died," read the card on his kennel door, and I turned away with a feeling of dread.
"Let's get out of here," Doug said, and I agreed. But how would we find a puppy if we were too tender-hearted to explore the pound? The ads in the newspaper were all for purebred dogs; we wanted to rescue a mutt.
A few days later we were in line at Pet Food Warehouse, buying some dog biscuits, when I noticed the woman behind me cradling a puppy It looked just like a little Toby, right down to the crooked white stripe on its nose. It had that same soft golden puppy fur and that same very black nose that Toby had had when he was little. (His nose turned pink as he grew.)
I wanted that puppy.
"Where did you get that dog?" I asked, reaching out to stroke his silky ears.
The woman told us about a farmer up in Pine City, about an hour north, who had rescued a litter of puppies. Half lab, half border collie.
"The neighbors refuse to neuter their dogs," she said. "They were going to drown the puppies. So she took them."
I was already digging in my purse for a scrap of paper to write down the phone number.
57 minutes ago