It was 13 years ago today that I saw a group of adorable puppies.
I mean come on, how can you resist these faces? Well I didn’t and I hadn’t ever raised a puppy so why not right? Truth is I was 29 years old, had a good job, rocking band, led the junior high youth group and sports leagues at one of the biggest churches in the area…how bad could it be to raise a puppy.
Wait – almost forgot to mention that I was in the process of buying my first home and getting married only three months later on May 26th, 2000.
As I looked over the litter, and with the help of my coworkers (most notably Jecca), I chose the runt of the litter because I didn’t really want a big dog. There was nothing really big about this little pup…except his paws of course.
Jecca and I had to pick up some supplies on our way home and she was a big help in choosing the dog food, dog bed, color of the leash, etc. It was fun; there I was walking around my little pup in the pet store. Yeah baby, I was one of those dudes.
Valentines Day fell on a Monday that year and my fiance, Lindsay, met me before I set up for the games. We were to celebrate Valentines after basketball. When she arrived she saw that I had a puppy on a leash.
“What a cute puppy” she said as she rubbed the puppy’s face.
“Can you watch her for a minute?” I asked. “I need to set up for tonight’s games.”
“Sure.” Lindsay answered as she grabbed the leash from my hand.
After a smooch from my hotness I whispered “do you really like this puppy?”
“Yeah, she’s cute.”
“Good, cause she’s yours. Happy Valentine’s Day sweetie!” As I ran away to set up in the gym.
“WHAT?!?! YOU GOT US A DOG?????”
All of a sudden this didn’t seem like a good idea, I slowly turned around. “Yeah, isn’t she gorgeous.”
“Troy! We don’t have time for a dog and this dog is going to be huge!!!” I was still waiting for her to bring back that smile I saw when she first arrived.
“No she won’t, I picked the runt of the litter.” I said boastfully.
“And this dog has fleas. Look you can see them all over.” (We later found out the puppy had mange and wasn’t in the best of condition).
“I can’t give her back.” I said firmly trying to hold back my smile.
“Ugh, you are so fired mister.” I turned back to the gym and Lindsay went, well, somewhere, let’s just say we didn’t celebrate Valentine’s day after the game. Lindsay took the puppy home with her and we were to meet the next day.
“So I have a name for our new dog” Lindsay grumbled. “Her name is Gracie.”
“Gracie?” I asked
“Yes, because the Lord has given you grace for this ONE MESS-UP. Don’t do it again.”
I looked down at my new little puppy, what a cutie pie. What I didn’t realize is she would terrorize me for the next six weeks. Talk about parent training! Raising a puppy will absolutely prepare you for fatherhood and so much for being the runt of the litter. Gracie turned out to be a 85 pound giant of a dog that we all grew to love.
Here is a picture of Gracie in the front of her playmate Elsie that we added to the family in the fall of 2000.
Gracie was such a protective dog and great with our first born, Lorelai in 2004.
So you are probably thinking, great story but what does that have to do with today. Well, let’s flash forward to today, Thursday, February 14th 2013 and my visit to the grocery store. I had to pick up milk for the family and a Valentine’s Day card for my beautiful wife of 12+ years.
As I come out of the store I pass by a crowd of people and if you know me I definitely have to peek over to see what was going on – GASP – it was the cutest puppy I had ever, ever, ever seen. It was a toy poodle mix and one of the smallest puppies I’ve seen but I’m no fool – I learned my lesson those many years ago so I asked the lady how big do these dogs get. “Their shoulders can get up to 7 inches” the owner said.
“I’ll take that one” I responded quickly pulling out my phone.
“Hello?” Lindsay asked as she picked up the phone.
“Peeties!” I was really excited. “I got us a puppy.”
“You what?” Hmmm, I remember that tone. “You are NOT doing that to me again” she said, I was surprised there wasn’t a young man at the end of the statement.
“What do you mean again?” I innocently asked.
“You brought home Gracie as a surprise.”
“Was that on Valentine’s Day?” I asked as I started to laugh remembering Valentine’s Day 13 years ago.
“Yes, that was Valentine’s Day” she said.
I hung up took a deep breath and politely gave the little puppy back to the owners. The crowd had doubled in size so I told her that she wouldn’t have any trouble finding a home for that little cutie.
Walking away I could only shake my head smiling. I almost did it again.
My Thankful Thursday is for my soul mate, lover, partner and friend Lindsay Ritchie. Peeties, you boulder which is a really big rock! Thanks for sticking it out with me on this crazy journey we call life. Love ya!