The Handsomest Boy in All the Land
"Two best friends lost already, I don't think I can go through that again," I said.
"You won't need to face that for a long time," my partner replied.
"Sure, but that is how this always ends, so why go through it all just to be heartbroken?"
"Well, let's just go look, we don't have to get one today."
"I can't. I know I'll fall in love and we'll come home with one."
"I know. That's why we're going today."
You can't win them all. Especially when you don't want to in the first place. I was terrified of getting another dog, of loving them fully and completely, only to have to say goodbye again. But I wanted to. I had already spent most of my life with a dog beside me, and having worked my way into a better spot in my own life... perhaps it was time.
"Fine. We'll go. But I'm going to pretend I'm not happy about it."
It was an hour long drive to get where we were going. He had already found one online he wanted to look at.
"It's a boy?" I asked.
"Yes, and he's apparently a golden doodle but he doesn't really look like one from the picture they had online."
"Did you call and see if he was still there?"
"You know I don't make phone calls."
"Right. So we're driving an hour to see a dog that may no longer be there."
It was a struggle learning to share my life with someone else. I can't imagine why. I suppose, sometimes what you need in life is someone that isn't exactly like you - not necessarily opposite, but just different enough to toe that line between 'I love you' and 'You're driving me nuts.' This day could have just as easily ended with the latter rather than the former.
"I don't see him."
"I don't see him either."
"I swear, if we drove all this way..."
"There he is! He's with those people over there."
Those people didn't know it at that time, and are probably still unaware of this fact today: they were playing my dog. That's all it took. One look. He was this perfect mix of cute, handsome, and adorable. I played it cool.
"You're right, he doesn't look like a golden doodle at all," I said.
"They're playing with my dog."
We were on the same page then. We waited, and not a moment after they brought him back, we pounced. We would like to see him.
He had shaggy golden-brown fur that was desperately trying to curl, but only curled enough to make his fur look like there were waves moving through it. He was playful, but he was quiet. He liked the sound of keys and was more than happy to make them his toy. We played with him for a few minutes, both of us smiling and falling in love.
"What do you think?" my partner asked me.
"I think you need to go pick out a leash and collar for him so we have something to take him home in."
The papers were signed, the card swiped, and we were on our way. My partner claimed dibs for the car ride home:
"I want to sit in the back with him."
"Fine. But we need to stop somewhere to eat, I'm starving."
Little did we know at the time, but we had started a sort of tradition that continued with two more dogs. See a dog, fall in love, leave with dog, go to McDonald's. All have peed in that McDonald's parking lot.
He got his first taste of fries that day. It wouldn't be his last. He got his name on that car ride home. Tucker. It just... fit. You know when you know, you know? We knew. He knew. He was Tucker. He was our first born. My first puppy-boy. The Handsomest Boy in All the Land.
Don't fight me on that one. He is The Handsomest Boy in All the Land. Still is, to this day, even with two younger sisters to drive him nuts, he is still The Handsomest Boy in All the Land. See Three Dogs Visit a Farm to meet his two sisters.
He had his first challenge when we got home. How exactly does one walk up the stairs with four legs? I can tell you we showed him best we could. Two grown adults climbing the stairs on their hands and feet like they were children again.
"Just like this Tucker, follow daddy!"
Tucker took put his paws up on the first step and stopped. No amount of coaxing would get him further. And have a few more of minutes of frustration, Tucker plopped down into a sit at the bottom of the stairs.
I can't tell you exactly how long it took, or how many treats placed on each stairs, and how many times we pretended to be dogs and climbed up the stairs to show him, but he finally found his way to the top. Tucker was home.