A Change of Heart

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Written by Scott Witt

I DIDN’T WANT A DOG!

     I was traveling on a business trip when I got the dreaded text from my wife.  She had mentioned that the family should have a dog several times but this time she had actually found one she just couldn’t live without.  I looked at the picture of the dog in the text and then put the phone back in my pocket thinking this would all blow over like most of the other things she has asked for.  Upon returning home I noted the special treatment I was receiving and thought to myself “this dog thing is not over”.  Sure enough the subject of the dog resurfaced and now she had attached the name, JASPER.

You see, I grew up on a farm where dogs were strictly outdoor animals.  While they were pets they also had other duties, such as herding the milk cows nightly, fetching the paper, and disposing of any leftovers or scraps from meals.  I explained that since we didn’t have a fence at our house, we lived in the city, the kids might be allergic, and any other reason (perhaps excuse is a better word) I could come up with.  Did I mention this Jasper was a Jack Russell?  I told her how high strung they were and that we wouldn’t have any furniture left, he would be barking all the time, and we wouldn’t have any friends because they would be sick and tired of our dog.  My wife took it better than I thought and said that if I was definitely against it that she understood.  What a relief!  No dog and while the wife was disappointed she wasn’t mad.

A couple of weeks passed by with perhaps an occasional mention of Jasper but not the full court press like before.  Then one night she said “perhaps if you saw Jasper you would fall in love with him and then we could get him”.   Just to humor her, the whole family took the drive to Jasper’s foster home and met him.  Yeah he was cute and I could see he was pretty good around the three boys we have but the fact remained I really didn’t want a dog.  So once again I used my 51% stake to vote “NO”.  We all went home and once again my wife and kids seemed to understand and didn’t hold my decision against me.

A couple more weeks passed.  No mention of Jasper other than he had been at an adoption fair and by some miracle he was still available.  I’m thinking at this point I had avoided this looming crisis.  Then over the weekend she mentions that she was at Petsmart that day with our youngest son Rowan and they got to visit Jasper.  I’m thinking “For Gods sake would someone please come to my rescue and adopt this dog!”  But surprisingly again no full court press.

The next weekend they went to see Jasper again but he wasn’t at Petsmart that weekend.  I’m not sure why.  I’m thinking maybe he just drew the short straw and had to stay at the foster home.  I could see the disappointment that they both felt not getting to see Jasper.

November 17th started out like any ordinary Saturday.  We got up and had breakfast.  And then we needed to run some errands.  We were just riding along in my pickup truck when my wife mentions that Jasper might be at Petsmart today and we should stop and see him.  OK, I must admit I tried turning in the direction of the local hardware store but she pointed in the direction of the Petsmart.  Since the full court press hadn’t been used other than that first time I figured what the heck we can swing by there.  He probably won’t be there anyway, right?

As we walked up to the store we saw Jasper on a leash with three girls.  It looked like they were trying him out and I could then see that both my wife and little boy were disappointed but at the same time excited that he might be getting a permanent home.  It was at that point something made me pause and reconsider my position.  It felt like something that I could give my family was about to walk away with another owner.  Turns out the girls walking the dog were volunteers for the day and were just getting him out of the crate for a while.  We looked at all the other dogs up for adoption but for some reason this little guy seemed special to me.  I could see this was an intelligent dog and he interacted with everyone in the way a friend would.  They asked if we wanted to take him for a walk so we took him away from the hubbub of the store and spent a little time with him.  He didn’t act spastic or crazy.  He seemed fun loving and kind.  For that moment my wife, son and Jasper were all happy!  At that point I realized I wanted to give Jasper a chance to be part of our family.  I secretly inquired if he could be kept until Christmas and that way he could perhaps be the best Christmas present ever.   The answer was probably wouldn’t be an issue.  So without my wife knowing my change of heart we said goodbye to Jasper and decided to go get a bite for a late lunch.

Throughout lunch I just couldn’t get Jasper out of my mind.  I really didn’t want him to have to go back to the foster home and hang out until Christmas.  After all he had no idea he was about to get a new home.  So I said to my wife “what if Christmas came early this year?”  I could see she already knew what I was proposing.  Lunch was gobbled up and we retraced our path back to Petsmart.  We told the folks from Russell Rescue that we wanted to adapt Jasper.  Everyone was happy and Jasper got his picture taken with us.

To shorten the story, today Jasper is loving life at his new home.  He seems extremely happy.  It has been nine days now and Jasper hasn’t torn anything up, hasn’t pottied in the house, and other than trying to hump my wife’s parents legs when they visited his behavior has been very good.  He loves to fetch and is learning lots of tricks.  He loves his Nutro dog food and Nutro treats and is keeping his teeth clean with a Greenie each day.  In nine days he has already become part of the family.

Turns out I really did want a dog!