When I took the boys to an animal shelter for their birthdays in July, I intended to return to the house with two, on-the-smaller-side-of-medium, outside dogs. I recognized one of the flaws in my plan immediately upon walking into the door of the no-kill facility. Two women stood behind the desk, the taller one managing a long sweeping glance from the curls on my head to the tennis shoes on my feet while her every muscle tightened in rejection of the sight.
And, somehow, without even opening my mouth, I was deemed of questionable quality as a dog owner.
And then I opened my mouth.
“We want to adopt two dogs,” I told the woman, carefully choosing the word “adopt.”
“Will they be inside or outside dogs?” she questioned, meaningfully.
I angled my chin defiantly. “Outside.”
She wanted to refuse us completely. I could tell by the pursed lips and shared glances between her and the other woman. Both insulted and amused, I waited for the decision, even as I wondered how I would explain to the boys that the people manning the shelter thought their cages were better than our woods. But finally she pointed us down a hallway towards the kennels.
“The big dogs are back there.”
Big dogs. I glanced at the boys. They just looked back at me. And down the hall we went.
We left with George, a lab mix who had spent five years of his six-year-life in the shelter, and Dusty, a border collie who had only been there a few days. Not the on-the-smaller-side-of-medium that I had planned. And for that, I blame the shelter.
But I blame the boys for these outside dogs being in my house more than in the woods.
So, basically, the only part that went to plan was the obtaining of only two dogs, not the half a dozen the boys fell in love with.
Nowadays, I consider that success.