Thursday, December 8, 2011

She Was Free To A Good Home.

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon checking up on my favorite blogs and stalking Facebook when Maple walked up to beside my chair. She pushed her nose into my leg as a greeting and then proceeded to slam her chin down on my lap. With a loud sigh, she sat down. Even as she sat, her head didn't leave my lap.

I think someone needs some attention.

For the next ten minutes she sat there as I rubbed her ears, nuzzled her face and told her she was the best dog in the world.

Now, I know that she is not the best dog in the world. She's not even the best dog in our house.

But she's my bad dog. Despite all her antics she is always sweet and cuddly. Laying her head in my lap is how she pretends to be a lap dog. See? She just came back right this second. She just sat down and gave me a whine while looking up at me with big pitiful eyes. Now she's placed one front paw on my leg and turned her head to offer me an ear. Just in case I needed to be reminded that she likes a good ear rub. Sorry, Mape Dog, I'm typing. There she goes. Under the desk to curl up on my feet. My slippers make the best pillows in her world.

Every time she does this poor, poor, pitiful me routine I think about how cute she was as a pup and how she has always been right by my side.

During the summer of 2007 I decided that I wanted a dog of my own. Mind you, I didn't know what kind of dog and I didn't really care. I didn't have much money, I didn't have a job and I didn't really have a place to live. Details aside, I decided to get a dog anyway.

A few days after camp was over that summer I had surgery to remove my appendix and tend to some other issues in my abdomen. The day after surgery my mother and I were hosting a Mexican themed (read: tequila themed) wedding shower for my best friend and her husband-to-be. Due to my recent surgery, I was heavily drugged. Drugs combined with the margaritas prompted me to start talking about my plans to get a dog and then proceed to argue with everyone about how I was totally prepared for the responsibility. My friend, Carine, jumped in and said that her friend's lab had just given birth to a litter of lab puppies that were being given away for free. Would I want one? Of course!, I told her. Sign me up! When can I pick it up?

Problem solved.

Two weeks later I was out of town spending Labor Day weekend at the beach with some other friends. That weekend happened to be when the puppies were ready to go to their new homes. Holding me accountable to my drug-induced word, Carine went to her friend's house and picked out a puppy for me. I gave her specific instructions: female, calm and chocolate.

Instead, she picked out a wild black female. Please, don't ask why I was letting someone else pick out my sounded like a good idea at the time...the beach trip was more important...clearly my priorities were in line.

When I returned from the beach I went to meet Carine at the park for the big puppy hand-off. After spending the weekend with the pup, Carine was in love. I think her heart broke a little when she handed over the wiggling little girl to me.

Maple was a perfect cube. She was as wide as she was long as she was tall. Giant head, giant paws and dense as lead. But she had these green eyes and bright pink tongue that was constantly hanging out of her mouth. I was smitten. Okay fine, I was a little terrified too.

Seriously, who gave me a dog? Who ever thought this was a good idea? Why didn't someone try and talk me out of this???

Anyway, that night I put Maple in the car and we set off from Atlanta to head back home to Tennessee. As we packed the car I gave her a little pep talk and explained that the car is a place for sleeping and that we don't pee in the car. I went on and told her that I spend a lot of time on the road and she better get used to it. Car sickness was just not in the cards if we were going to make it as a team.

My pep talk must have worked because she was an angel for the duration of our three hour trip. When we got home...well, that was a different story.

I have a point to all this, I promise.

For the next four months Maple and I spent major time going back and forth between Tennessee and Atlanta while I plotted out my new life path. I was job hunting, bar tending and contemplating teaching. Even though I was driving everyone else in my life crazy with my turmoil, Maple didn't care one bit. She happily hopped in the car every time I decided to head somewhere else. She was more than happy to have a stay-at-home mom, especially when she fell down the stairs and dislocated her shoulder one morning.

Eventually we moved to Florida so I could persue a career in education. I was substituting and bar tending to make ends meet, and at the end of every long day I came home to my little pup who was always beside herself with excitement to see me again. As the months went on we went to camp in Maine, then we came back to Florida and I got a full time teaching job. As I figured out how to teach science at a low-income middle school, I would sit toiling away every night making lesson plans and grading papers. Every night she would sit at my feet with her ball, just in case I needed a break. She dutifully drove all the way to Maine with me every summer and slept in the car the whole way. When I got engaged she forced me to go running and try to get in shape. She drove back and forth to Atlanta with me as we planned the wedding. And then finally, she moved to Canada with me last year when our visas finally came through.

She's just four years old and has already lived in three different states and two countries. Through all of it I've always been surrounded by wonderful friends and family. But every morning and every night the face I saw every single time was hers.

That is what I think about when she stares at me with her big brown pitiful eyes. For the record, that is a lot to have run through your mind in 5 seconds at least twice a day. Just sayin'.


Workout: nothin'. didn't make it to the gym today. i did go yesterday and the day before but i'm to tired to remember what i did. see? i can't even spell 'too' properly. with any luck i'll make it tomorrow.

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