This proposal was a change in our gameplan, as we’d already given up on adopting a shelter dog. After going through several shelters and talking to dog rescue groups, we’d been unable to find the pooch that would eventually make our home its bathroom. Instead, we’d decided to give up and get a purebred lab through a breeder, even though it turns out that purebred labs must be the most expensive things that don’t come equipped with stow-n’-go seating.
After weeks of research, we had even narrowed our search down to breeders of English labs, rather than American ones, as English labs are calmer, stockier and can understand cricket, while American labs have longer legs, burn more energy and have terrible foreign policies.
With Grand Theft Auto IV not yet released for the PlayStation 3, I didn’t have anything better to do that Saturday afternoon, so we arrived at the adoption event shortly after it opened. Inside a two-room wooden building at the zoo, we found a small crowd gathered around five puppies in separate crates (which is the canine-world euphemism for cages, as the crates in my world are made of wood and nails and contain boxing kangaroos that Sylvester the Cat mistakes for giant mice.)
We crouched down and held out our hands to the first puppy we came to, a black floppy-eared mutt with brown stripes, an upright beagle tail and two white feet. Her entire body wagged as we approached, threatening to turn the crate on its side as she licked our fingers through the bars.
Three hours later, Kara sat with the puppy still in her lap. One by one, the other puppies had begun going home with their new owners. One couple wandered into the room, played with a puppy for five minutes and said, “We’ll take this one.” I spend more time at the checkout counter choosing between spearmint and peppermint than these people spent choosing an animal with which they would spend at least the next decade.
For us, the deal was sealed when we left the room to talk it over and looked back through the window to see the puppy mournfully gazing at the door we’d just passed through.
“OK, that’s it. We have to do it,” Kara said. I nodded.
As we filled out the paperwork with one of the volunteers, I asked him if the puppy already had a name.
The man looked at her tags and said, “T72671.”
That’s a great name for a Terminator, but it didn’t have quite the puppy zing we were looking for.
“Do you know where she’s from?” I asked.
“The ‘T’ in her ID code stands for
Kara and I immediately started running down a list of puppy names with
In the end, we decided on
As we headed to the pet store to inject our own stimulus package into the local economy with the little puppy formerly known as T72671 panting quietly on Kara’s lap, Kara said, “You know, things aren’t ever going to be the same again.”
“I know,” I replied. “Grand Theft Auto IV comes out in a few weeks.”
You can muzzle Mike Todd at email@example.com.