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SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

            “Let’s get a dog,” my better half suggested.

            “No.”

            I love dogs. But I also love helicopters, and I didn’t want to spend the time or money for one of those, either.

            But at the moment Emily spends a lot of time at home without me, and she wanted some company. We’ve both had pets most of our lives; there’s nothing like a loving dog to bring a little brightness into your life, along with vet bills and various forms of bodily waste.

            She does have her snake, Lucius, but have you ever tried taking a snake for a walk? A collar won’t even stay on those things. Also, when a dog starts cuddling you, there’s rarely a worry that it’s thinking “One squeeze and you’re dinner”.

            After awhile Emily started giving me gentle little hints, such as sending me photos of sad-faced dogs with the caption “If they’re not adopted, they’ll die!” I’d send her back photos of our bank balance sheet.           



Finally, despite all my manly attempts to avoid it, we sat down and had a conversation. We agreed that if we got a dog it would have to be something medium sized, like a collie or large beagle. I hate those little ankle biters who bark like they’re breathing helium. I’ve always had large dogs like German shepherds, but we wanted this to be an indoor dog, and getting a big one in our house would be like turning Godzilla loose in downtown Fort Wayne.

            Soon Emily found a photo of a shelter/rescue pet on petfinder.com: a part shepherd mix, adult, already partially trained, brought in a month before after it strayed or was dumped by some former owner. (By the way, “rescue” means the human rescues it, not that the dog goes searching for you with a thermos of brandy. Not that I have a problem with that.)

The vet who had the dog named him Goliath, apparently a joke since, in the photo, Goliath looked nice and medium sized. Just what we needed.

            I’ve never adopted a dog from outside Noble County; my pets usually turn up at the door all by themselves. The application was more detailed than most job applications I’ve filled out. References? My driver’s license? Blood type?!

            What arrangements have you made in case you become incapable of taking care of your pet?

            Um, I’ll let him eat my body? I’ve put on a few pounds, that should keep him awhile.

            Why do you want to adopt this pet?

            That one gave me pause. My answer to questions like that is usually the same one that enrages parents and kids alike: “Um … because?”

            But I know why. Dogs are so much better than humans: Completely loyal, never talking about you behind your back, unconditionally loving and never holding a grudge. They’re like humans with the bad stuff taken out. If they turn on you, it’s generally because you did something bad, not because they covet your job promotion or your Elton John album collection.

            We drove to a town called Warren, Indiana, and walked into the veterinarian’s office with the intention of meeting Goliath in person, to see if we bonded. I walked to the counter, looked over, and came eye to eye with the dog, who was stretched out around the vet’s office chair.

            All the way around.

            You see, the photo did not do justice, and it turns out the name Goliath wasn’t ironic at all.

            He stalked out – causing the building to shake – knocking over chairs with his massive tail, and looked me in the eyes with those big brown ones of his (I didn’t have to crouch down for this). I was thinking, “This dog is way bigger than what we intended.”

            Do you believe in love at first sight?

            Being a pet owner is like being a parent, in that if you’re a good one you have to do the work, instead of just enjoying the experience. On the way home we drove with the windows cracked, and I almost lost visibility from the fur whirlwind blowing around in the car. Although we’d already prepared for some dog, we had to stop for a fur brush, a heavy-duty collar meant for Angus bulls, and food dishes heavy enough that he wouldn’t shoot them across the room and break our ankles. Then we bought him a small compact car to use as a chew toy.

            That day I took him for a walk around town, learning he’s skittish around other dogs, and doesn’t like sirens at all. We encountered two little girls who patted his head; one murmured “he’s big”, and the other replied, “He’s big as a horse”.  We’re going to get a lot of exercise, and I’d better buy a snow suit, because walks don’t stop when winter blows in.

            But for all the challenges of having a pet, there are worse things in life. For instance, there’s not having one.

            By the way, we didn’t want him carrying around a heavy, big sounding name like that, so we call him Bae. It’s short for Beowulf.



Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
kazzy_cee
Nov. 28th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
And this is why I don't visit rescue centres because the last time I did that I ended up with the three kittens when we were only going to adopt one!! If I saw a dog it would be the same....eeeep!!

He's gorgeous! I hope he's not chewed too much of your home ;)
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
Surprisingly, not much chewing! He did a little damage to a Wii remote, but only because it looked so much like a chew toy. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall, but so far he hasn't eaten any shoes, either!
ninkasa
Nov. 28th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
I can't go to pet stores like PetSmart because I end up breaking down in front of the adoptable pets section. I have a soft spot and can't stand seeing animals in cages. D:
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
I know just what you mean!
curiouswombat
Nov. 28th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
He is absolutely beautiful - nice to see you and Emily looking well, too, of course.
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:14 am (UTC)
Yep, we're all holding our own!
enigmaticblues
Nov. 28th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
What a big, handsome boy! His paws are the size of dinner plates!
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, and when he swipes them in the wrong direction they hit like boxing gloves!
deborahw37
Nov. 28th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
He's GORGEOUS!
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:15 am (UTC)
Why, thank you -- and so's the dog. :->
kerkevik
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
If you do loose Godzilla on Fort Wayne...
... make sure and get the same contractors who rebuild Tokyo; they have a LOT of experience...

;-)

Ray.
ozma914
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:16 am (UTC)
Re: If you do loose Godzilla on Fort Wayne...
Yeah, with that much experience they can probably do twice the work in half the time!
sarahkucera
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
He looks like a nice dog! And you two look so happy too!
ozma914
Dec. 3rd, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
We're very happy with him! He's sleeping at my feet right now -- we exhausted him playing on the floor this morning and throwing a ball around, and right now I need back pain medicine. :-)
mardeen
Nov. 29th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
Delightful picture, Mark! Happy faces all around. I am almost giddy with the thought that there will be Bae stories now! Yay! for Bae!
ozma914
Dec. 3rd, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
Oh yes -- I'm quite sure there will be Bae stories!
opalescence
Nov. 30th, 2012 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh, what a funny account, and how wonderful! Bless you for rescuing, and I hope you and Bae and the family have many happy years together.
ozma914
Dec. 3rd, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
So do I, thanks -- and nice icon!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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