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It began before our old dog, Nonny, died in March.
“Dad,” Jenna would say. “When Nonny dies, can we get a puppy?”
This would usually cause Nonny to raise her head from the floor and look at Jenna like “Uh, I’m still here?”
This did not stop Jenna and for the past year she has told me how she would take care of a puppy and get up with it at night and feed it and bathe it and train it.
Has any child in the history of children ever actually done that?
Even when Nonny took a turn, Jenna would remain focused.
I give her credit. When Nonny died, Jenna waited three days before ...
“HEY! Give me my sock!”
Where was I?
Oh. Jenna remained persistent as spring gave way to summer and even more so as her birthday approached on Sept. 11.
“What do you think?” I said to her mom.
“It’s up to you. You have to live with it,” Pam said.
I planned on getting a puppy next year.
“OK,” I said and it was done. “We’ll get her a puppy for her birthday.”
Famous last words.
Jenna knew, even though I repeatedly told her, “No. We are not getting a puppy. Maybe next year.”
On her birthday, she opened a massive box containing an assortment of items I gathered from my closet.
At the bottom was an envelope containing ...
“MILO! Stop chewing that cord!!!”
The envelope contained a Yankees-themed dog tagged with the name “Stella” written on it.
That’s what she wanted to name the puppy, prompting me to repeatedly yell “STELLLLLAAAAA!”
Anyway, Jenna was more than excited and the search began.
Adopting a puppy is more of a process than adopting a human baby.
I filled out applications, complete with a list of all the dogs I’ve ever owned, all the vets I’ve ever used and three references and answering many, many questions about my house, my yard and my intentions.
Eventually, we were approved by an agency called 716Paws.
I explained that we wanted a female puppy.
None was available. We would wait until another shipment came in.
Then, the messages began.
They practically begged us to take this puppy, a male.
“Please just do a meet-and-greet,” she said. “If you don’t want him, no problem.”
Doomed from the start.
Hold on. I have to clean up pee ...
Milo came last Sunday and it was love at first sight, as I knew it would be.
Even Rosie the Cartoon Dog was excited. After the prerequisite sniffing of the butt, both began chasing each other and wrestling in the yard.
Later that night, Rosie, tired and asleep on the couch, would growl and snap at Milo, who needs to learn when to leave her alone.
He’s a good pup, so far, despite the chewing and occasional mess on the carpet. He sleeps through the night, is learning a few tricks and seems to be understanding when he should back away from Rosie and when it’s OK to play.
Jenna? She’s done pretty well so far and is adamant that this is going to be “MY puppy.”
She even cleaned up poop, which I found in a plastic bag on the chair on my porch after ....