Today I dropped my fur-baby off to be spayed and she gave me a look of such fear and concern that I was not coming back. Obviously I will be back in a mere 5 hours. However, I feel it is time to share the story of how I got Zoe.
There once was a girl.
Technically this girl was a woman. It’s important to this story that she was a woman, not a girl, since she had recently gone through a loss that only a woman can experience.
Pen, the woman, no longer thought she was worthy of this thing called life.
Her well-meaning partner, Army, did his best to distract her with movies and jokes and trips to places she used to enjoy.
To no avail.
On December 20th, mere days before Christmas, a distant friend mentioned her mom’s dog had an accidental litter. And her mom was very displeased. The dog was a pure bred Australian Shepherd; a show dog. And now considered “ruined”.
A concept that hit Pen in the stomach like a sack of stones.
Most of the puppies had been given away and found homes, but there was one left and they’d run out of people who’d take puppies. Her friend’s mom was going to dump it at a shelter.
Pen felt some vague sense of maternal instinct give a kick deep inside her.
“Just come look at her? Please?” said the friend. Pen agreed. She drove over within the day to see this lone puppy.
When she pulled into the driveway, the puppy had already been dumped into a box and was sitting in front of the garage. Pen’s friend was apologetic, saying her mom said the puppy absolutely couldn’t stay another day.
As she squatted down, Pen’s eyes focused on the ball of red. After a moment, greenish-gold eyes met hers.
The ice that had been encasing Pen’s heart for nearly two months felt a warm breeze. It trembled, debating on sweating a thin line of water. Debating on melting.
The puppy was so very tiny. Not much bigger than a softball. Pen turned to her friend and asked the age.
“8 weeks. She’s the runt though. Just a scrawny thing.”
Even though she hadn’t mentioned this excursion, she remembered Army had talked about getting a second dog. Perhaps…
She put her hand into the box. The puppy waddled up to it immediately and shoved the tiny triangular face into Pen’s palm. This of course, meant the puppy absolutely had to be picked up. The tiny warm body easily snuggled against Pen’s heart.
The ice cracked. The lines thickened, then dribbled. The heart swelled.
She went from the friend’s house straight to a pet store. She had a decent stockpile of money in her account due to saving for a baby that would never come.
Now, as she stared down at the red ball that tried frantically to lick her face, Pen wondered if the baby just was meant to be a different form.
When she drove up to the apartment, she saw Army’s car. She felt nervous for a moment. She really should have texted or called him. Warned him. But they’d been distant lately.
The moment she walked in, Sofya’s nose lifted, twitched, and the sleek black dog froze for a moment, before leaping towards Pen in excitement.
“Wow she’s happy to see you.” Army commented offhand, focused on the TV. Then he heard squeaks of joy. He slowly glanced over. “…what is that?”
Sofya tried to climb into Pen’s arms to get to the puppy. She was careful to let them merely touch noses, concerned of the reaction. She didn’t need to worry though, Sofya’s tail was a whirlwind of happy excitement and her long tongue attempted to bathe the red ball.
“It may be a puppy.” Pen said shyly.
Army’s face melted into sweet delight as he rushed from the couch around to the front door. He held out his arms and Pen smiled, handing him the red ball.
“Boy or girl?”
“Aussie mix. Her mom was purebred and the litter accidental. The jerk owner was gonna dump her at a shelter.”
“Bitch. How old?”
“She is super cute.” He crooned, in a way Pen had rarely seen. Sofya nosed in as he knelt down to let his dog greet the new puppy properly.
The first night, she had a kennel prepare for the puppy to spend the night it. But it was mere hours before she was curled up with the puppy in bed. Army came in early in the morning and chuckled at the scene.
“She’s going to be so spoiled.”
Pen secretly thought that she, not the puppy, was the spoiled one.
About 12 weeks old
4-5 months old
My babygirl recently