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On Meeting Little Dog

Shelter Employee: Here she is. Number 325401.

Little Dog: I love you.

Me: Wow, she’s really little.

Shelter Employee: Four months old.

Little Dog: I love you.

Me: I guess I missed that in the posting.

Z: Come here, puppy! Come here! You’re so cute!

Little Dog: A little human! I love you too, little human. I bet you’re pretty entertaining.

Me: It’s just that we normally only adopt adult dogs. Like Big Dog here.

Big Dog: I’m depressed.

Little Dog: A Big Dog! I love you, Big Dog.

Big Dog: I’m depressed.

Little Dog: I love you anyway.

Me: We think maybe Big Dog needs a friend. The other shelter said she came in with another dog that got adopted quickly. A cocker spaniel, maybe.

Shelter Employee: Yeah. People like those.

Me: Anyway, I brought a list of some other dogs we might look at from the website. Um, 440432 and 625107.

Shelter Employee: I’ll go check. Want to hang out with this one while I look?

Little Dog: I love you.

Me: Sure.

Shelter Employee: Be right back.

Me: So, tell me about yourself, Little Dog.

Little Dog: Well, I have kennel cough. Observe.

Me: That sounds pretty bad.

Little Dog: It sounds bad because it is. And, um, maybe mange.

Me: I see.

Little Dog: When I get excited, I lose control of my bladder. Like so.

Me: Alrighty then.

Little Dog: And also when I’m nervous. Or if I like you. Or if I don’t like you.

Me: Maybe that will improve with time.

Little Dog: Nah, I don’t think so. But now that I’ve piddled on your shoe, all the other dogs will know how much I love you.

Me: Great.

Little Dog: It’s a feature, not a bug.

Me: What’s the story with your tail?

Little Dog: It maybe broke in the middle there at some point. I dunno. I’m only four months old. My memory’s pretty short.

Me: That’s terrible

Little Dog: It’s distinctive. I do have trouble lifting it out of the way when I poop. That might account for the smell.

Me: It doesn’t seem like much gets you down, Little Dog.

Little Dog: What’s to be down about? I’m peppy. I have pep. I love everybody. The closer I stand to you, the more I love you. Like little human here. Little human is very close. So right now, I love him most of all.

Z: Can I keep her? Can I hold her? Can I make her sit? Do you know how to sit, puppy? Sit, puppy, sit!

Little Dog: I guess that could change.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up, Little Dog?

Little Dog: Well, my intake paperwork says I’m part Australian Shepherd, and Golden Retriever, and Lab. And maybe some sort of spaniel. So yeah. One of those. Which one has the most hair?

Me: Aussies, I guess.

Little Dog: Then I’d like to grow up to be an Aussie. I’d like to have hair. Oops, there I go again! All over the picnic table. You don’t think anyone eats here, do you?

Me: Gross.

Little Dog: I guess I must be excited about the thought of having hair.

Shelter Employee: How’d you guys do?

Me: Just getting acquainted. What’s the word on the other dogs?

Shelter Employee: 440432 just had his leg amputated.

Me: We’d be okay with a three-legged dog. Can we meet him?

Shelter Employee: Sorry, not available for release.

Me: Oh, okay. Well, what about 625107?

Shelter Employee:  Still hasn’t passed the behavior test.

Me: I just really want an adult dog.

Shelter Employee: Should I take this one back?

Little Dog: Don’t leave me here.

Me: Um…

Little Dog: Don’t leave me here.

Me: I guess take her back. I’m really not looking for a puppy.

Little Dog: Please, please don’t leave me here. I love you.

Me: I’m sorry, Little Dog. I’ve got to be smart. The kid’s four. My husband travels all the time. Big Dog hides in her crate most days and won’t come out.

Big Dog: I am so depressed.

Me: I’m worried you’re more than I can handle. You’re cute. You’re little.   You’re peppy. I’m sure, if you live, they’ll be lining up to adopt you.

Little Dog: But I love you! And I love the little human!

Big Dog: I am so depressed.

Little Dog: I especially love Big Dog!

Shelter Employee: Here, hand her over.

Little Dog: Nooooo!

Z: Nooooo!

Big Dog: I hate this whole experience.

Z: We can’t leave my puppy here!

Me: You said it yourself, Little Dog, you’ve got a short memory. You just like me in this moment because right now I’m the person standing closest to you.

Little Dog: Once I know you for a few days, I promise I’ll love even when you’re in the bathroom.

Me: I had a dog who hated it when I went to the bathroom. When I first brought her home, she would sit outside the door and cry until I came out. I finally had to let her lay on the bath mat when I showered, just to keep her quiet.

Little Dog: I hate bathrooms.

Me: She was just the greatest dog. She lived with me in Los Angeles, and Arizona, and Sacramento. We went to law school. We got married. We had a baby. She was part Aussie, and part Golden, and she had an osteosarcoma and she died. I miss her so much.

Little Dog: I’m part Aussie and part Golden.

Me: I know.

Little Dog: And Lab. And some kind of spaniel, maybe.

Me: We’ve really got to be going.

Little Dog: Look, I get it. I’m little, and mangy, and smelly. I piddle at the drop of a hat. I have a funny tail, and a terrible cough, and I’m not going to lie, I overheard the shelter staff talking about how it was a wonder I was still alive. But if you can overlook all those things, I think you’ll find there’s really a lot to like here. Maybe, one day, you’ll be here at the shelter again, sitting right here at this picnic bench, telling another dog about the day you met me, and how great we were together, and wondering if there’s something wrong with them because they aren’t me. We could really be something, you and I.

Me: You think so?

Little Dog: There’s only one way to find out.

Me: I guess so. I guess…We’ll adopt the puppy. Yeah, we’ll do it.

Little Dog: Yay!

Z: Yay!

Me: I’m such a sucker.

Little Dog: You won’t regret it. I promise.


  1. Awww! We had a similar experience with our little dog. The lady who was trying to get us to rescue her talked us into taking her home just for one night to see if we would get along even though our big dog was 4 times her size and aggressive towards little dogs, she had lived in a cage for 5 years years, smelled like a homeless person and was never going to be completely potty trained at this point.. It was NEVER going to work out.
    I was so wrong. She is my heart dog, my most fervent admirer and the alpha dog of the house. What’s a little poop on the carpet when compared with that?

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