Early one Sunday morning, I was picking up some groceries. We were skipping church. Mike was having a particularly bad weekend. I hadn’t seen him smile once. “I can’t find anything to smile about” he told me. My cell phone rang. It was Mike, “I want you to go to North Carolina to get me a dog. Emma found one on the Internet and you have an appointment with the breeder this afternoon.” Wow! I didn’t see that coming.
Now, I can’t find my way to Atlanta from Marietta so driving by myself to North Carolina was hardly an option. But Mike never asks me to do anything. I’m serious. And he was getting more and more depressed after our business closed and nothing I did seemed to help. Maybe this was his way of making an effort to get out of his funk. Maybe a new pup would give him a reason to smile. So I recruited the two kids of ours who were still at home, Stephanie and Emma, and we headed out with a map to a mountain in North Carolina to fetch a pup for the sad leader of our family.
After a quick run into McDonald’s for two all beef patties to go, we somehow found our way to the breeder. He lived in a double-wide on the side of a mountain. All of his dogs lived in the double-wide with him. He bred Maltese and Yorkies. This time I got to meet the parents of the litter. He stood against the wall holding two very hyper little white dogs and quickly introduced us.
“They’re a bit crazy today.” He said. “They aren’t around people very much.” The comment didn’t sit quite right with me but I let it go. After all, this was a lot better than my first experience buying a dog, at least I got to see the parents this time. I wouldn’t understand how poorly this man’s “breeder dogs” were treated until two years later, when we bought our third dog from him.
Mike named his pup, Bella the Ball. He was so excited to get her and the effect was immediate. His mood lifted a little that first night we brought her home and actually kept getting better. She did of course end up in bed with us. Now it was Mike, me, Boo and Bella. She would start out curling up with Mike but by about midnight she’d come to my pillow and scratch around my hair and make a bed sleeping almost on top of my head! Mike and I were in love again.
Boo didn’t take long to warm up to her either. He seemed to catch her puppy enthusiasm and they played all the time. They also got into trouble. Bella opened up a whole new world of mischief for Boo. When they finally tired out the two of them collapsed snuggling together in their little bed. He was so much more relaxed when we had to leave for work. I think Boo needed a companion pup all along.
It had been a memorable two years for Mike and I. We had a failed business. We were slowly making our way back from near financial ruin. We were burned out on a good day…depressed on a bad day. Our son had moved out. Our oldest daughter had gotten married. We both hated our jobs. But we had discovered puppy love. We had become completely enamored with two adorable white fluffy pups.