Ingenuity knows no bounds when a girl wants to get a dog
|Our fifteen-year-old daughter, Beth, had been dogging her father for weeks to get her a big dog.
“I need a big dog, Dad, to go jogging with and for cuddling up with on the sofa.”
Eventually Beth wore Dad down and he bestowed his blessing—with a list of conditions:
“If you can locate a 100% housebroken, female Lab/Golden mix puppy, we’ll take a look at it.”
Elated, Beth set right to the task. Within a week she found the exact pup advertised for adoption in the Indianapolis Trader. With paper in hand, Beth approached her dad, “I found her, Dad.”
Engrossed in a TV show, he replied, “Found what, Beth?”
“I found our puppy,” she announced, her eyes sparkling. “She’s right here in this week’s Indianapolis Trader—just as you said: “Golden Retriever, mix pup. 6 mo. old, housebroken.”
Sticking the paper in front of his face, Beth pointed to a small advertisement in a mass of other “free kittens” and “beloved pet needs new home” ads. Dad squinted at the miniscule, two-line, two-inch wide ad. “Golden Retriever, mix pup,” he read aloud to himself, “6 mo. old, housebroken.”
“See Dad? And she’s only $25. So when can we go get her?”
“It doesn’t say female. It has to be female. And it depends on what ‘mix’ it is.”
I’ll call right now and ask,” Beth proclaimed over her shoulder as she dashed off to retrieve the phone. “We’ve got to hurry, so no one else gets to her first.”
Dad was dumbfounded. He had figured that the odds of Beth finding a dog to fit his stipulations were nil. “I need to talk to Mom about this before making a decision,” Dad shouted, to his disappearing daughter.
Alas, Dad kept his promise and a trip ensued to meet the dog, which, in fact, turned out to be a female Lab/Golden mix. It was love at first sight for our dog-loving daughter who had already prepared a dog-shaped space in her heart, sight unseen. Dally (short for Dallas, as in Cowboys) was exactly how she was described in the paper, with the build of a Labrador retriever and the honey coloring of a golden retriever.
“We both work full time,” her owner said, “and can’t devote the time to her that she deserves.” They were keeping the cat, Boots (completing the Dallas Cowboy theme), who made a brief appearance and then disappeared.
Six-month-old Dally appeared shy, but willingly joined Beth for a brief walk. As they turned and headed back up the street, it was obvious from Beth’s beaming face that Dally was the perfect puzzle piece for that dog-sized hole in her heart.
“Can we take her home for a week,” Dad queried, “for a trial run—and bring her back if it doesn’t work out?”
“Sure,” said Dally’s owner, sealing the deal.
I am married to an ever-cautious, buyer-beware shopper, so I wasn’t the least surprised when my hubby invoked the “lemon law” for our $25 purchase. He wanted to be bedrock convinced that Dally was 100%, not 60%, housebroken.
Dally willingly jumped in the back seat and curled up close to Beth. Let the cuddling begin! And from day one, Dally fit into our family like slipping one’s hand into a fur-lined glove.
No offense to the Dallas Cowboys, but it was agreed that Dally definitely needed a new name. While Beth got to select our new family member, we decided that the entire family would need to agree upon a name, including our son Matt who was away at college. Numerous monikers, from Hippie to Woodstock (influenced by a teen obsession with the 70’s) were heatedly debated, but we finally all agreed upon Pandora—Panda for short.
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman created by the gods. She was given a special box and told never to open it. Overcome with curiosity, Pandora lifted the lid and the contents (either blessings or human ills, depending on the version of the myth) spread throughout the world. When she realized what she’d done, she quickly slammed the lid closed, managing to contain the one remaining item: hope.
Our Pandora, like her mythical counterpart, was also bequeathed with curiosity and could not abstain from sticking her nose in where it did not belong. Wastebaskets were her specialty, counter-surfing a close second. I grew weary of picking up the candy wrappers and pepperoni pizza-laced napkins that were strewn about the house.
A quick trip to Target successfully resulted in the purchase of several round wastebaskets fitted with nifty lids equipped with swinging doors. Not to be deterred, Panda easily nosed off the lids. Dad came to the rescue with duct tape and secured the lids to the bases. This is when the entertainment began.
Again, not to be deterred, Panda used her muzzle to open the swinging door and squeezed her head into the opening. The first time Panda came banging her way into the family room, her head completely engulfed in the wastebasket, we all thought it was hilarious.
It took several times of her dumpster-diving before I resigned myself to the fact that Panda was unperturbed by her predicament. I found suitable hiding places for the baskets—locations that were only secure if people remembered to shut cabinet doors.
Panda continued to elicit laughs for this antic. I highly suspect she was baited by one or other of the kids who hid a fragrant goodie in the container and “forgot” to latch the door.
“Kids, stop doing that,” I’d yell, but I always had to turn my back to conceal my own laughter at Panda’s ridiculous dilemma.
Things haven’t changed much over the years, as far as Panda’s curiosity. Just the other day my husband found “evidence” (plastic food bags) in the dining room implicating thirteen-year-old Panda in the digestion of a partial package of hot dog buns and half a loaf of bread. Panda came forward with the “evidence” shortly thereafter, which she regurgitated in one big blob on the kitchen floor.
And so it goes…
“Panda? What are you doing in there?”
“Trot, trot, trot, trot...” she appears before me, her deep brown eyes, saucers of innocence.
“Ah, there you are. What have you been up to this time, Panda-Pooh?”
Even though I dislike picking up her messes, I love that Panda is an explorer, persistent in her pursuits. Obstacles don’t discourage her. She’s optimistic, her tail wagging her affirmation on life and all its inviting scents.
As a marriage and family therapist I get invited to stick my nose into other peoples’ business all the time. I’m constantly encouraging my clients to take safe risks. It wouldn’t hurt me to be more adventuresome as well.
After all, it’s not such a bad thing to be nosey, now is it?