This is the Dog – Part II

Did I mention I didn’t want a puppy?

Somehow we ended up at North Shore Animal League. Sight of previous dog mishap.

For before there was Rudy, there was Agnes of Dog.

We found this little brown furball in the same puppy room 15 years earlier. Aggie with her purple tongue and vicious fangs, a lunging ability that belied her 12 weeks, her venomous hatred of me after spending just a day alone with my husband as I went to work writing about bed sheets for Macy’s.

After latching on to my finest Gap khakis, growling at me in my very first apartment, it was clear she had to go back. It was after that moment, we decided to get Rudy, because the child we had planned on that wasn’t born yet, would need a pet that was emotionally stable.

Aggie the chow/Shepard mix was retuned to North Shore. And I vowed never to return myself.

So imagine my surprise and long term memory loss when there I was – in the same room picking another puppy for the child that was now born.

My son fell in love with a puppy, and my husband wanted him to have this puppy. And over lunch at Louie’s in Port Washington, where we went to eat while paperwork was processed, Jesse stared out at the water and decided on the name “Harbor.”

There was a moment where I forgot how much I didn’t want to return to the shelter and get the dog, because I was so impressed at my son’s creative naming ability. Perhaps he got something from me after all…

Back to reality and picking up Harbor. So quiet for 10 weeks old. So mellow.

So filled with runny diarrhea upon coming home and laying it all over our rugs. Plural.

The shelter mentioned a little parasite, but gave us some medicine.

That he threw up.

What we have here is a sick puppy.

And having to tell my son that his dog is sick.


The great North Shore Animal league gave a fucking dog with fucking parvo. It’s only the worst thing a puppy can have.

The shelter says, “bring back, we’ll take care of it.”

We cry “bullshit.”

And spend $10,000 of our own money to cure the puppy I didn’t want. On day three in the hospital, I visited Harbor, who didn’t recognize me at all. I “harbored” bad feelings. Shameful feelings. I hoped somehow he’d not come home.

How crazy to hate a dog for no other reason than having no connection. It was jdate and eharmony and match and speed dating and no matter how hard I would try – I wasn’t attracted to him.

Harbor came home after a week at the hospital. Jesse was so happy. Harbor clung to me immediately, as I fed him and walked him. No longer the calm, sick dog we’d met at the shelter, Harbor was ebullient. And protective and angry at anyone who wasn’t me. He kept nipping at Jesse and not in a playful way.

A trainer came and worried he’d not be good with kids or dogs. The vet thought maybe his brain snapped after the parvo.

My son was so sad. His dog didn’t love him. Which made me hate the dog more.

Three days after he came home, I found myself driving back to North Shore, dog next to me in passenger seat.

I cried all the way there. For not loving the dog. For the dog hurting my son, and the inevitable resentment Jesse would have toward his mommy giving away his puppy.

Tears streaming down my face, I handed them back the dog I never wanted. The volunteers there weren’t so sympathetic. As evidenced by their yelling at other puppies in their tiny cages, while they stepped in feces.

The animals there all needed saving. But I had to save myself too.

We would get another dog. It would have to be on my terms.

It would have to wait. And then – I found him.

Part III…


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