What if #TBT encompassed more than just a photo? That was my thought this morning and I found a perfect photo to inspire a post: adopting a puppy from a shelter. This is the story of Tex.
When we arrived at the shelter, Rob and I thought we were already too late. It had taken an hour to get to the Montgomery SPCA and half a dozen people stood on the porch of the building, though it was still an hour before the doors would open.
“We tried,” Rob said, touching my hand.
“Let’s at least go ask. We drove all the way here. Let’s be sure,” I said. The tires crunched over gravel as he pulled into a parking spot.
I waited in the car while he walked up to the building, I’m not good with body language, but tried to glean something from the back of Rob’s neck. When he turned around, it was all over his face. A big grin and then a thumbs up. He jogged back to the car. “Those are just the employees,” he said. “We’re the first ones here. He’s ours if we want him.”
“He” was a puppy named Jackson I found on Petfinder.com. Listed as a lost pet, his picture stayed online for three days before his adoption opened, ample time for a frantic owner to find a missing puppy. I know if I lost a puppy, I’d be calling every shelter in the state.
“He’ll be available Wednesday when we open at noon,” the man said when I called. “And I would come early. We’ve received a flood of calls about him and he will go to the person who is here first.”
Which we were—but only by five minutes. Two other couples showed up after we did and even waited to see if we would take Jackson home. We played frisbee in the shaded parking lot until quarter til noon when I got too nervous. What if they forgot we were first? What if one of the other couples lied and tried to get in first? Rob rolled his eyes but stood with me by the front door for the last 15 minutes.
We had agreed to meet him before we made the decision, and even had a code word. The same word we had as when we met a man from Craigslist in a parking lot a month before to see a 10-month old Great Dane. She became our first dog, there in the parking lot of Arnie’s, and only when the man drove off did it sink in that we had no leash, no dog food, and no idea what to do with a 100 pound dog that went into heat an hour later. But Tiny instantly became family, leaping and writhing with excitement when Rob came home from work and tilting her head the tiniest bit so she could lick my chin without having to jump up. Two weeks later Tiny died in my arms after running out into the road in front of an Isuzu. Seven acres of land and she found the one break in the fence. The sound of her wet breathing as fluid filled up her lungs haunted me still and kept tears ready for the slightest provocation.
Like this: the tiny puppy standing on his hind legs to bathe our faces and nuzzle into Rob’s neck. We did not need a code word. But we did need a new name. This, we pondered after signing the paperwork and settling him in my lap for the drive home.
“What about Tex?” I said.
“I like it,” Rob said. “Plus tomorrow is April 15, tax day. Tax, Tex.”
As if in agreement, Tex crossed over the center console to climb in Rob’s lap and began licking his face, one over-sized paw on either shoulder. Endearing, except when you’re driving on I-45. Within weeks, though, Tex learned to restrain the licking and inserted himself squarely in the driver’s lap, the same way he inserted himself squarely into our lives. Ten years later and he’s driving me crazy daily wanting in and then wanting out and then wanting in and then wanting food and then wanting to drink out of the toilet—but he lets the kids climb all over him without complaint and protects us from scary dangers like the mailman and has learned to sleep as long as I do rather than waking me up at 6am ready for a walk. He is our firstborn, but still our baby.
Do you have any great pet adoption stories? Or a #TBT photo with posts to go along with them?
I’m linking this one up with my Not So (Small) Stories this week. You can read about audience and find other writers swapping stories there.