On Saturday, my friend Melissa baked enormous home-made cinnamon rolls and had a bunch of us over for breakfast. Afterwards, we all trooped down to the pet store to assist my friend Rachel in selecting another hamster (her previous one, Odysseus, turned up his little toes recently). The pet store happened to be having a puppy sale.
As I have mentioned before, I have been planning to get a second dog after graduation. When we were oohing and ahhing over the antics of dozens of beguiling puppies, however, I altered those plans. I happened to see the exact breed mix and color of puppy that I wanted, in the correct gender, and with the perfect personality. She was a charming little Shih Tzu, Maltese, yorkie mix with brindle coloring (brindle is a soft, subtly-mixed gray and brown that is quite attractive and prized in dogs).
This blend of breeds is an excellent one: Yorkies have the perfect size for an apartment and are easy to train; Malteses are also quick to learn commands and are very intelligent, devoted little dogs; and Shih Tzus, the clowns of the dog world, are playful, energetic, and full of fun. All three breeds are good for people with allergies (like me) and make excellent apartment dogs. When you blend them together, you get a fantastic little animal with the best features of all three. In this little girl's case, she got Yorkie ears with a Shih Tzu and Maltese body, and best of all, a Yorkie snout. As cute as Shih Tzus are, their snub noses make higher temperatures very unpleasant or even dangerous for them; Jasper was unable to take walks for part of the summer because of this. In short, the puppy was everything that I had carefully planned out to look for in a second dog.
Even though I knew it would only make not buying her harder, I had to hold the puppy. She took to me immediately, and I become besotted. In only an instant, she was MY dog. It's been that way with each dog I've owned as an adult; it only takes a moment to forge the instant first connection and to know beyond doubt that a particular dog is exactly the one for me. The puppy cried when I put her down, but I was still battling with myself, wondering if it were the right choice to get a dog right now. I knew my parents would say it was a mistake, but they've been dead wrong in that opinion twice now (with Mitzi and Jasper), so I ignored the Mom and Dad voice in my head. I chose to sleep on it.
After the pet store, I decided to check with my apartment building just to see if getting another dog would be cost prohibitive. It turned out, by the terms of the lease that I've signed (they've since changed things, but I'm under the old policy), I did not have to pay anything extra. Strike one in the puppy's favor. Next, I sat down and thought about the time commitment in house-breaking and training a puppy. I realized that after graduation, I will probably be getting a full-time job rather quickly (I already have three prospects, one of which is almost a guaranteed offer), which would not give me the time needed at home with a puppy. Right now, however, I am a week away from one break, then two weeks away from another. Next semester, I will be doing only theses, so there won't be any classes. In short, this is the ideal time for training a pup, since I am home enough. Strike two in puppy's favor. When my roommate got home, I asked her opinion, assured her that she would not play a role in house-breaking, and found her to be just fine with the idea. The decision was clear; the puppy would work out.
After working on homework (while visions of furriness danced through my head), I met friends for a delicious dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant. Mmmm, peanut chicken! We then drove up to Appomattox to the Appomattox Courthouse Theater, where we watched our good friend David and others perform in Sense and Sensibility. The play was very good, made even better by the fact that we ran into three more friends from church there and so had an even larger group enjoying it together. It was, in short, the nicest Saturday in months.
Sunday trumped Saturday. Rachel came over for our weekly tradition of Sunday Pajama Breakfast (we alternate houses), then we had a stimulating discussion about the emergence of Christianity in England in our Sunday morning class at church. In the service later that morning, Father Mike preached on one of my favorite sections of the New Testament. After the service, I was able to give my future goddaughter, Annora, her birthday present. She's into archaeology, so I got her an Egyptian archaeology kit/game that had her utterly delighted. I cannot believe my luck in getting to be godmother to such an awesome, adorable little girl!
Immediately following the fellowship time, Rachel and I headed over to the pet store, praying that the puppy was still there, unsold. Brian and Annora followed, eager to see "Aunt Stephanie's" new pet. With bated breath we walked in . . . and found the puppy still there. She had almost sold, but the other people had decided to sleep on the decision as well. I snatched up my girl, picked out some supplies for her (bed, blanket, dishes, etc. -- all of which, fortuitously, were on sale), and my life got a little bit more complete.
Little Éowyn (yes, she's named for my favorite character in the Lord of the Rings novels) had a surprisingly smooth first day. She had only one small accident; she went potty outdoors three times! She and Jasper had an awkward first hour (she adored him; he was terrified of her), but by the end of the night, they were prancing and playing together very nicely. Three friends came over to meet and play with her, so we turned it into a puppy and Disney movie night. Éowyn proved very affectionate and friendly to everyone. She shocked me by eating well also (usually puppies don't feel much like eating on their first day).
When it came time for bed, Éowyn, like most puppies, did a bit of crying when I put her to bed in her kennel (she has her little puppy bed in there, so it is not unpleasant). I solved the problem by letting her snuggle with me until she fell asleep, then putting her back into the kennel. I didn't hear a peep out of her for the rest of the night.