The Furriest Thing I’m Thankful For

Admittedly, I am overdue for a blog post, so I am going to do one right now.  And as it is on the heels of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d write about something I’m thankful for.  I thought I’d write about something that makes me smile every single day.  I thought I’d write about one of my best friends in the entire world.

I’ve always been a dog lover.  We had a Maltese named Muffy when we were growing up.  She was a good dog and had a knack for knowing when you were upset.  Somehow she sensed it and always came and lay down by you as if it was her job to comfort you when times were rough.  With Muffy as an example, and plenty of experiences of meeting other dogs, I knew that I would have one when I was an adult.  My fiancé however, did not.

Sarah was a dog person like I am a brussel sprout person.  Her response to my musing of getting a dog was a flat “No”.  But I was persistent and continued to harp on her.  When we got married and moved into our first apartment in Illinois, even I forgot about getting a dog.  The apartment was small and we were on the third floor.  That meant that if we got a dog, we’d be marching up and down the stairs, taking the dog for a walk each time it needed to go out.  And obviously, we wouldn’t be able to run the dog around in a small apartment. 

Then, one day I called Sarah on my way home on the train, and my dog-not-so-loving wife said something I had to ask her to repeat multiple times.  “I want to get a dog!”  I was concerned for her mental health.  As it turned out, she was just as crazy as normal, but that day she had seen a man around the apartment complex walking a puppy.  She said that it was just a little ball of black fluff that had to hop through the grass because it was so tiny.  I was shocked.  I was the one in the position to talk Sarah out of this!  That’s exactly what I tried to do.  Third floor apartment…..small space…..we were making next to nothing.  Not time to buy a dog!

But even though I didn’t want to do it, I was still a dog lover at heart and it wasn’t that difficult for her to convince me.  We decided to just look at dogs at a few places.  (Seriously, who does that?)  So that’s what we did.  We went to a few different places and met a few puppies.  Apparently we were waiting to fall in love with one.  Regardless, it was a weird trip.  Then, on that day (Memorial Day, 2007) we ended up at a place called Dog Patch Pets.  There we were helped by a woman that was a dead ringer for my sister in law, and she let us meet three different puppies out in there fenced visitation area.  The puppies were all cute, because, you know, they were puppies.   One was a Chihuahua and another was a Shih Tzu.  Those two chased each other around this little yard and try as I might, would not come near me.  By this time, Sarah was becoming disinterested and I just felt kind of neglected.  So instead, we focused our attention on the tiny ball of silky black fluff that had crawled underneath a bench and lay down.  He was a Brussels Griffon/Poodle mix and was about as adorable as any dog can be.  I picked him up and he was only slightly larger than my hand.  Sarah and I began contemplating if we were really going to do this.

Even though this little fella’s adorable nature was undisputable, we decided we were not ready to make the call.  I suggested we go eat lunch first and talk more about what we were getting ourselves into.  We walked back in and I was handing this little guy over to my sister in law look-a-like while I was saying we’ll think about it.  As far as I recall, I was 99% sure that we wouldn’t be back for him that day.  Then, out of nowhere, two old ladies swooped in from each side.  I don’t remember seeing them before, for all I know the shop hired them to do just this.  (However I have my suspicions that the Good Lord put them there himself) ((The Good Lord is a dog lover too))  And both of these walking Q-tips shouted how cute the little black puppy was.  They reached out and as their hands nearly nabbed the guy right out of my hand I reacted.  “We’ll take him!” I shouted above the senior citizen voices.  The shop worker, she looked so much like my sister in law I nearly called her Carrie, smiled and took the dog. 

In my shock I told her that we’d come back and pick him up after lunch up the road.  While eating and trying to come to grips with this new decision, we decided to name him after something at IU, our alma mater.  The only name we could agree on from IU’s campus was the dorm I lived in my first year there, Briscoe.  We went back and got our dog, my future best furry friend.

While those first weeks in our 3rd floor apartment were tough (I had to sleep half off the bed with my hand in his cage to get him to sleep at night), they were also fun and we enjoyed our new puppy.  He has now grown into 23 pounds of energy and happiness.  And I do mean happy.  (Jeff, all dogs are happy!)  Not like Briscoe, he takes joy to a whole new level, even for a dog.  And when I come home to see him, or when I tell him it’s time to go to bed and he races up stairs, or when I say “let’s go find Mom!” and he frantically searches for Sarah; he makes me so very thankful I didn’t let those old ladies steal him away.

We’ve already been through a lot together with our little buddy-boy, including walking through a crime scene to show the police where the shooter had stood (another story for another blog).  But soon, we’ll have a whole new challenge and adventure to embark on.  We are going to bring home Odette and she will meet the best dog ever (biased) and Briscoe will meet the newest Alwine.  I am certainly worried about this.  I can’t imagine having to part with Briscoe.  But deep down, I know, Briscoe will love Odette with the same joy and enthusiasm he has for us.  He will give her kisses on the nose.  He will let her chase him around while she laughs and giggles.  He will crawl under the covers in her bed and curl up with her like a big round fuzzy heating pad.  He will be a comforting friend, and a smiling playmate.

I believe God has matched us with our Odette the same way he matched us with our Briscoe.  And as I crawl into bed and rub his ears tonight, I’ll imagine watching Odette do the same, and for that I’ll be thankful.

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