A few weeks ago, Sarah and I were busy in the kitchen cooking dinner. While she chopped onions and mushrooms, I slowly stirred the bubbling risotto. This is our time, when the kids are asleep or at their mom’s house, work is done and we get the chance to catch up on our day.
As she dumped the freshly chopped veggies into the pot I stirred, Sarah told me about her morning with our yellow Labrador, Marney. “I went over to Canine Companions with Marney to let her play with the other dogs and I met the cutest puppy ever, her name is Poppy!”
Sarah is always meeting the cutest puppy or dog. “That’s nice, Sugar.” I said.
“Well, Poppy and Marney were running, and playing and Poppy is such a good puppy! You wouldn’t believe how calm she is! She isn’t even a year old. She is SO CUTE! What’s sad is, she needs a home! Her owner Chris wants to have another breeder dog and Poppy won’t be able to breed. So, she wants to find her a good home.”
“What’s that?” Her last words had my attention.
Sarah has banged this drum ever since we adopted Marney a few years ago. But she had failed to convince me. “Marney needs a buddy! She’d have company while we are gone. They could occupy each other when we’re busy.”
My usual reply is “we are Marney’s friends. So are the kids! What about all her buddies at Doyle Park? Or Frankie, or Mazie, or Yosie and her other play time pals? Why does she need a friend to live with her here? In our tiny home?”
But I thought maybe I should try a different approach. I didn’t want to be the curmudgeon, always saying no. So, I thought I’d be clever and offered an idea.
“Do you think Chris would let us take Poppy for a trial run? She could stay with us for a week and we could see how she gets along with us, with Marney, with the kids?” I asked.
Proud of my tact, certain of my strategy, I caught Sarah off guard. “Really?” she said. Surely, after a week with another dog in our modest home, Sarah would see why this just couldn’t work.
We met with Chris at her lovely home off Hall Road and talked about the idea. She was very happy to hear we’d give Poppy a try. “You wait, she will wind her way into your heart.” Had Chris seen through my ruse?
Throughout the week, I raised different objections.
“Don’t we have enough dog hair floating into every corner of this house?” I queried.
“I’ll vacuum every day though, Honey!” Sarah said.
“Don’t we pay enough for dog food and medicine each month?” I asked.
“We can make it work!” She promised.
As she knocked down my objections, the kids were now teaming up on Dad.
“Dad! Look at the names – Marney and Poppy! We are Maddie and Patrick! M&P, baby!” Maddie chirped. Patrick, the dog whisperer, was even more convinced than his sister. “Dad, Poppy needs us!” he claimed. Of course he loved this puppy. What boy doesn’t love a puppy? What had I been thinking in the kitchen that night?
I delayed my decision as long as I could. Meanwhile, Sarah was posting photos of Poppy all over Facebook, the kids were showing her off to friends. Every day, the kids or Sarah would ask “So, are we going to keep her?” Every day, I’d reply “I’m still thinking.”
Maybe I was hoping Poppy would chew up my floor? Or bite a cat? Maybe she’d not get along with the kids or Marney? I was sure she’d give me some reason I could use not to adopt her.
But the only thing Poppy did was prove my logic was flawed from the start. She proved I wasn’t clever at all. Any legitimate reason I might have for not keeping her was being conquered by the mountain of cuteness that is Poppy.
After a long discussion last Sunday evening, Sarah and I phoned the kids at their mom’s. When they answered, it was silence on the other end. But I could almost hear their singular thought, “Are we keeping Poppy?”
“Kids, we’ve talked. We’ll need your help with cleaning up, walking and more. If you’ll promise that, we can keep Poppy!”
“WE PROMISE DAD!” was all I heard before they began screaming and yelling with joy.
Will they keep their promises? I may have been proven not too clever, but I’m not that dumb. But never have I been so wrong yet had the outcome turn out so right. Welcome to the family, Poppy!