Today is the day our puppy gets here. This will be approximately the 10th dog I’ve acquired in my life. I think I’ve gotten a dog every other possible way. Most often it’s been a drive out to a farm, but there was the time when I was a kid and we went to a strange house in the suburbs. That time we took the Cocker Spaniel puppy almost as much to rescue it from the weird lady as to have her (the puppy-not the lady) for a pet. That was before “backyard breeder” was an official term and before people were aware that the folks who sold inbred dogs out of their laundry room were a special kind of villain. I’ve rescued dogs from death row and adopted them after being on a waiting list for three years.
This will be the first time I’ve had to pick up a puppy at the airport. It feels strange to me, and since I myself hate to fly I feel like next I will be asking the puppy to go to the top of the Sears (or whatever it’s called now) Tower or go to the dry cleaners or eat fish fingers. We were planning to drive up to the Wisconsin/Minnesota border the day after Christmas to pick him up from the farm, but I’m assured by everyone from Vets to the Breeder to other pet owners that a two-hour plane ride is a lot easier on the wee fellah than a 20-hour trip by auto in the dead of winter.
I had to call the airlines today to double-check on some of the arrival details. The routing maze through the airline phone system and the unintelligible CSR agent reminded me of those early days of my marriage and life in Nashville when I worked as a travel agent.
I’m not the person I was then. I’m her plus a few new ideas, minus a few old bad habits. I’m her minus a few pounds and a great many delusions. I’m happier now than I ever thought I would be, but I’m nothing like I expected to be. I never went back to finish up college and go on to law school and I’m fine with that. I never had kids. I didn’t move back to Indiana after my husband finished grad school.
I’ve met wonderful people who make my life a better place than any of those other things would have done. I wouldn’t trade a single one of my current friends and acquaintances for anything. Each of them–even if we’ve only traded a few words a few times–has had an impact on me like the drops of rain that smooth a rock.
I’m nervous about Fergus because he’s another change–and a big one. But if he’s like every other change he’ll be a whole lot of love that conspires with the difficulties to make me a better version of who I am.