When my son, Chris, was in high school, from time to time he would bring home a stray animal. He would generally find homes for them or find their owners. Two cats became permanent residents. While this was an admirable and kind thing to do, I never knew what creature would be in residence when I arrived home.
So I wasn’t completely surprised when I walked into the house and I heard Christopher thundering down the staircase. A new creature has arrived, I thought. He rounded the final set of stairs, and vibrating with excitement, he said, “You have got to see her, Mom.” He then disappeared back up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Sighing, I dropped my briefcase and trooped up the stairs to Chris’s bedroom, not exactly enthusiastic over another rescue. Walking into his room I saw her and knew why Chris was so excited. In a gray plastic crate with a wire door, an auburn, mature, tweenie dachshund looked up at me with large brown eyes that held sadness, hope, and just a hint of mischief. I opened the door of the crate. She came out slowly, gave me a knowing look, then started exploring Chris’s odiferous room. (If you have ever lived with a teenage boy you know what I mean.)
“Where did she come from?” I asked, flopping down on the floor. It was a convoluted story, even for Christopher. But the bottom line was that he had been given this sweet pooch with the caveat that if he did not want her, the owner would take her back.
We watched the doxie explore his room. She lingered long over the dirty laundry strewn about and paused over Chris’s retainer, but he scooped it up. She did not bark, whine, or jump on us. Actually, she looked perfectly at home. I could not understand why anyone would give her up.
“Oh no! She’s eating something,” I said as she backed out from under the bed.
“It’s just a pizza crust, or maybe it’s an apple core,” Chris said nonchalantly.
I rolled my eyes. “Well, I hope she doesn’t get sick. You really do need to clean—”
Before I could finish the sentence, the phone interrupted us, and Chris answered. The conversation was short. He hung up and said, “That was the owner. She said she did not want Princess, and if we didn’t want to keep her, we could take her to a shelter.” He looked at me with an expression of sadness and hope, not unlike this sweet pooch’s when she had been in the crate.
After a frisson of anger, I thought, What good fortune. In her wandering, Princess had made her way over to me. I reached out to scratch her back. “One thing the owner did well is to name her. ‘Princess’ is a good title for such a splendid dog,” I addressed her.
“Yeah, it kind of fits her,” Chris said as he dropped down on the floor beside me. Princess glanced at me and then at Chris.
As she climbed into my lap, I said, “I think she likes us.” Princess looked me fully in the eyes, and something passed between us. We have been communicating ever since that day.
Looking up at Chris, I said, “This is our dog now.” To seal the deal the, Princess gave me a delicate little kiss on my chin.