As we were leaving the swap meet, walking through the parking lot to the van, we heard those two words your boyfriend never wants you to hear; "Free puppies" and I looked over to meet eyes with this boy.
He nuzzled my throat and I stopped thinking clearly. Eight year old Beca took over all conscious thinking and I looked at Doug with my own set of puppy dog eyes. We have talked a lot about getting another dog, and it always ends the same way. We don't have time to train a puppy right now, we can't afford it, our house is too small and it just isn't smart. Logical me knows this.
Logical me knows all about how hard it is to raise a puppy. Logical me knows that my boys need a lot of attention and it wouldn't be fair to get another dog right now. Eight year old Beca doesn't give one single thought or care to any of that. I WANT A PUPPY, little me whined and cried. I looked at Doug and he said "We have three dogs, Beca." and I said "What's one more?" and told the people we would take him. Done. Exchanged phone numbers and walked away. What a dick move. I always consult Doug on everything, but I manipulated his reply to what I wanted to hear. Doug and I have an incredible amount of trust and respect for one another, don't get me wrong, but I wanted that puppy, and sometimes, when you love someone, you have to let them figure shit out on their own.
My best friend, and partner, watched carefully as the next 20 minutes unfolded. We got to the car, I was all cuddles and love, and the puppy was quiet and sweet. I sat down in the front seat of the van and did the one thing that I should have done before I walked away from his owners, I flipped him on his back. A simple dominance test we did at the humane society when I worked there, something I instantly did with my 85 pound American Bulldog (who, despite his issues, let me.) The puppy lost it, thrashed around, wouldn't allow me to hold him. My heart sank. Reality hit. It was that simple. This. Would. Not. Work. Instantly, my brain turned on. Light bulb. Stupid, Beca. We can't even afford our bills right now, simple bills, electricity, phone, rent. We are scraping by in this expensive place. We just opened a business that we are pouring every penny into. A puppy! A wrigley, thrashing, bully of a puppy. A German Shepand Blue Nose Mix puppy. A puppy who would grow up into a dog.
An hour after I got this puppy, I called the owners and told them I had made a terrible mistake. I ate crow. I apologized, I was embarrassed, I cried, but I know at the end of the day I made the right decision. This morning I woke up an hour before Doug did, I couldn't sleep. I needed to pay bills, work on our financing, answer emails, make arrangements. I needed to face facts. We are struggling just like everyone else. To quote the infamous GZA, the mailman's late with the check and I'm in the flood with a bunch of bills that's up to my neck, rent's not paid and the lights about to go off.
Baby Jesus knows that I am in absolutely no position to get an eight week old puppy that needs shots, to be neutered, dewormed, tick dipped, flea bathed and puppy food-ed. Toys and the incredible amount of time that it takes to raise a good, healthy, obedient puppy. None of which I can afford. If you know me at all, you know that I love my boys with so much of my heart, it hurts when I am away from them. If you are any of the friends who have watched my dogs while I was on vacation or on a day trip (yes, a day trip) then you know I call 5 times a day, request photos and updates via text message. And if you also know me for more than 5 minutes, you know that I would love to get another puppy. But, as much as I cried, I just can't.
It's weird, I don't think much about it. Eating whatever is in the fridge. Not buying new clothes. Paying bills late. Asking the landlord for an extension. Recycling cans and bottles to get supplies. It's just all part of us living the dream. The big picture. The forest and the trees. But when I thought about that puppy not getting the attention and amenities that it deserves, I was grounded. Heavy in the heart. Get your shit together, Beca. Pay your bills, buy new clothes, go on a vacation, have a real, legit, cheesy as all get out holiday with presents and food and the opulence that you have worked so hard for. Be lucky. But, please, for the love of all that is good, go ahead and scratch "puppy" off of your Christmas list.
PS, we didn't name the puppy, but if I would have, I would have named him Teddy. You know, for logical reasons.