Monday, April 21, 2008

Waiting For A Dog’s Age

It's funny how slow time can crawl by when you are waiting for something.

I remember how long it took when Darlene was expecting with our eldest daughter, Alannah. That entire nine month period seemed to last an entire lifetime. Of course, during that period as well, we moved, I switched jobs, and in general we set our lives up to accommodate a young family.

And my youngest daughter Ashley-Rae must have felt the same way about meeting us, because she showed up a whole three months early. I guess she didn't realize that she would have to spend those three months in the neo-natal intensive care unit growing big and strong enough to come home with us. And those three months indeed seemed like a year as we hoped and prayed for her. Now that she turns six this month, we have learned that Ashley-Rae waits for no one.

And when we added a pet to our home, a kitten we named Skye, we did not wait. It was a split-second decision my wife made (with suggestive consent from yours truly). The door bell rang, and a kitten was suddenly a part of our home.

Well, another new family member has arrived at our home today. A new family member that I have not met yet. Another family member that I did not expect, nor have any preconceived notion of when I awoke this morning.

She has no name yet – for I have demanded full naming rights be reserved for me, but she is a five month old black lab pup. A girl pup. But I have been in constant communication with the missus every step of the way.

It started with an ad in the paper:

BEAUTIFUL BLACK labs, purebred champion stock, 2 males, 1 female, 5 mths old. $100 each. Call ….

I am a dog lover. I love dogs. My last dog was a border collie named Champ. He could catch Frisbees and play goalie. He understood English and could herd anything from sheep in a field to ants on a driveway. But Champ was devoted to my former girlfriend, and rightly so. I have thought of him often. That was ten years ago now.

So it took little to convince me that we needed a dog.

Darlene called. And she talked. And she got the answers she was looking for. And then Darlene called me on her way back from the pup's countryside farmyard birthplace.

"She's beautiful", she started.

"And I know she was meant to be with us", she went on.

"How so?" I asked.

"Well, when the fella let her out of the barn, she ran all around the barn, and then ran right up to me and dropped a present at my foot."

"Really? What did she bring you?"

"A dead bird!" and Darlene started to laugh as thou it were the cutest thing she could imagine.

Now I have never known Darlene to think a dead bird to be cute. That's just not my wife. And quite honestly my second image in my head was this pup brining our new kitten Skye to Darlene in the same fashion.

"Sounds like she's a keeper!" I said. "She is definitely a retriever."

<deep sigh>

Another girl.

I guess I will never get any male reinforcements in my house.

The schedule of events as they unfolded worked out so that Dar had to drive directly to the school to pick our daughters up for three o-clock. There was no time to take the puppy back to the house. So just as she was pulling in to the school parking lot, she called so I could be part of the introduction ceremony. The pup was sleeping in the back cargo area of the Jeep quite contently. After finally rounding both girls up and leading them to the car, I heard through the phone the voice of my daughter Alannah:

"It stinks in here".

Then she spied the bag of puppy food on the floor. "Mom, are we getting a puppy?"

Ashley-Rae started in "I want a puppy, I want a puppy…"

Then the puppy must have raised her head in the back of the Jeep.

"WE GOT A PUPPY!!!, WE GOT A PUPPY!!" they both sang in unison.

And shortly after that, I hung up, because, well, I had to get back to work.

And as I while away the remainder of the afternoon, from this break that I'm taking until the time I leave at five o-clock, it will seem like a whole day.

It always seems to be that way when we add new members to the family. And I still haven't met her yet!

I guess I better buy her a Frisbee.

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