First and foremost, we have Bob and Les to thank.
Bob and Les are fish, in the loosest definition of the word. This is to say that Bob is a tiny glass dolphin suspended by fishing line from a floating glass globe.
Bob (get it, because he bobs around?) was purchased at a nearby flea market. There is something in that rarefied mixture of sun-ripened melons, elephant ears, fry grease and tractor fumes that cause a person to believe it advisable – necessary even – to spend a hard-earned $3 on treasures like Bob.
Fish. Predictably, once we got Bob home, my credo that one can never own just one of anything came into play.
Bob was dutifully joined in his fishbowl by Les. Les is a small green rubber sea monster of sorts who might, at one time, been employed as an eraser.
Les doesn’t bob or swim: he just lays there. Thus, he bobs around less than Bob, get it?
Not the issue. It wasn’t so much having Bob and Les that was the issue.
It was that I was beginning to actually dedicate considerable time and effort to the care and maintenance of Bob and Les who – it bears repeating – are fake fish.
Clearly, we were a family in need of something a bit more challenging to occupy our time. Not that the hours spent trying to balance Les on his seashell before he flopped over onto his side again weren’t entertaining, mind you.
Nonetheless, what we were seeking was something a bit larger, perhaps fluffier, and definitely more responsive. Was it time, finally, for a puppy?
Time. It was probably no coincidence that this puppy epiphany occurred nearly a year to the day since we had lost our own beloved long-time dog, Steel, to cancer.
For a year, Steel’s obvious superiority (in our eyes) over any other dog on the planet had caused us to cast a jaded eye at any canine that dared even flirt with becoming his replacement.
Perfectly lovely dogs were dismissed out of hand as not fit to tip Steel’s trash can. Yet now, having mourned, we were ready.
Canine class. Finding a dog proved harder than we imagined.
I had envisioned myself as lady bountiful of the canine class, visiting the largesse that is life with our family upon some deserving shelter dog.
Instead, somebody call Bob Barker and tell him that the spay and neuter campaign is going swimmingly, because the availability of mutt puppies is severely limited.
Had I wanted to buy a purebred dog, I would have had endless options. Instead, having a long-standing problem with any pet having a better pedigree than we do, we are more a mixed breed shelter/stray sort of family.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, really), strays are rarer than hen’s teeth. Granted, it might have been easier to adopt a hen’s tooth, had one become available.
Waiting list. Instead, our local shelter offered to put me on a waiting list for when a puppy might be available, someday, maybe.
But only after a lengthy credit check and feasibility study, mind you.
Forced to go underground in pursuit of our pet, word was put out on the street that the Seabolts, a fine, upstanding family willing to provide references if necessary, were on the prowl for a dog.
Time passed and I began to despair that we’d end up having to settle for a hamster who could fetch.
Finally. Then, oh blessed day, came the rumor of one lone puppy. Calls were made, secret passwords were exchanged, and finally a pre-adoption visit was arranged.
We drove over hill and dale, through woods, and up the side of a mountain, anticipation stretching every mile.
Finally we arrived and there – hallelujah and angel’s harps – we found our dog!
Ankle high and no bigger than a minute, he sized us up with pure puppy fearlessness, a handful of black fluff and jaunty disposition. Two days later he rode home with us as if he’d known all along he was ours.
He is now happily ensconced in our home and hearts. A pee-er of floors (code name: The Urinator) and chewer of shoes, all wrapped in the sweetest little “gotta love me, I’m a baby” face.
We’ve named him Jagger, and his arrival has delighted the family, with the possible exception of our two cats, who despise him.
Hate. On the plus side, the pup has provided a welcome bonding experience as the two felines who formerly enjoyed a relationship built entirely on mutual disdain have now united in their shared hatred of the puppy.
Jagger, for his part, seems blissfully unconcerned that the cats have a contract out on him.
Bob and Les, meanwhile, are keeping mum. But with me preoccupied with the puppy, I think they’re really enjoying their space.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a proud puppy parent. She welcomes comments c/o email@example.com or P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460.)