By Meghan Christian
This is about a dream of puppy love coming true, right on the east side of Flint.
About a year into our relationship, my boyfriend Chad and I started talking about getting a dog. We would sit on the futon in our cramped, one-bedroom apartment and dream about what kind of dog we would get and the adventures we would go on together. But since our lease wasn’t going to be up for another six months, all we had were those conversations about our dream dog.
Then one day in the midst of apartment hunting, Chad came home from work with a lead on a three-bedroom house on the east side of Flint with a fenced-in backyard; the perfect yard for a dog. Not only was the house close to work, but it seemed to be the next logical step for us. Part of me worried it was going to be too good to be true, that the other shoe was going to drop and we weren’t going to be able to have everything we wanted.
After our first walk through and conversation with the landlord, all those worries evaporated. We just knew that this home would be a great fit for us, as long as he was okay with us adopting a dog. With his approval, we could finally start making our dream become a reality.
A month later, we seriously started the search for the next adddition to our little family. We scoured adoption websites and we went to the Humane Society of Genesee County at least once a week for a month. Every time, we walked in with the hope that we would meet our dog, but every time, we would leave empty handed and disappointed.
All that changed at a Humane Society adoption event Dec. 2.
We pulled into the parking lot at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the event was supposed to start. We were surprised the parking lot was mostly full. We had been watching the website for a few weeks and we knew we were there for the same reason as most of the others: three Labrador retriever/husky puppies were finally old enough to be adopted. We had to be some of the first people in or there was no way we would even get the chance to take one home.
Five minutes before the event, we watched as a Humane Society volunteer unlocked the front door and we did not wait. We nearly sprinted inside and right back to the dog area like we worked there—we knew it so well from the our past visits.
We looked into each cage, remembering some faces and seeing some new. The cacaphony of dogs barking echoed off the walls as we checked each cage to try to find those puppies. In front of us, a mother and daughter were doing the same thing. I hoped they were the only other ones in front of us.
Then we turned the last corner and saw three little puppies in the first cage, all cowering a little as the big dogs barked around them. Two were reddish-brown; one was blond. As soon as I saw the blond puppy, I knew it was the one we needed to take home. Maybe it was because it was different from the others that caught my eye, but there was just something about it that said “Take me home!”
A volunteer came by and asked the four of us now gathered in front of the puppies if we were interested. We all said yes and the volunteer opened the gate. “Go ahead and grab which one you want,” she said, swinging the gate open and stepping out of the way. The daughter stepped in and grabbed one of the brown puppies. My heart quit pounding. Chad reached down and picked up the blond puppy and we were taken to a small office space where we could play with the animals and see if we wanted to take them home.
In the next 30 minutes, that blond puppy stole my heart. It was a girl. As soon as I got to hold her and she cuddled in my arms instead of trying to play, I knew I was in trouble. She went back and forth between Chad and me, taking turns in our laps and then occasionally playing with her sister. We were enthralled. When the volunteer came back in to ask if we wanted applications, none of us hesitated to say yes.
It has been about a month now since we brought home our puppy, We named her Dempsey, after an American soccer player. In her first days with us, our dream of having a traveling companion already came true. She has gone to family holiday parties, on walks with new dogs, and has made friends wherever she goes.
But owning a puppy isn’t always a dream.
It’s a lot of responsibility and we have had to adjust nearly every aspect of our lives–from little things like making sure controllers are out of her reach to big things like making sure we can afford to take her to the vet when she needs it. It is knowing that after-work drinks with co-workers or staying late a party are no longer options since we have to be home to take her outside.
But while it has taken some sacrifice and adjustment, the reward is well worth it. Now when I come home from a long City Council meeting, I am greeted by the sounds of little paws on hardwood floors and a wagging tail. When my anxiety and depression make me feel worthless, she will climb in my lap, give me a kiss, and remind me in her own way that I am loved.
One month down and Chad and I are still excited to see how our dream dog continues to make our reality a little brighter.
EVM Managing Editor Meghan Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.