In February, it will be two years since we took Buck into our home. There are many things to love about this dog: big brown eyes, paws that are slighty too big for his body, and an affectionate disposition. He is easy to love, but it certainly was not easy to convince Kevin that getting him, or any dog for that matter, was a good idea.
Not long after Kevin and I started dating, we had a conversation around our feelings and opinions about pets in the home. I grew up with a dog, and I have very fond memories of companionship and cuddling with man's best friend. Kevin, on the other hand, grew up in a nearly pet-free home, needless to say a very clean and fresh-smelling home. So, while Kevin has no problem with the idea of keeping a goat in the back yard to eat our trash(I'm totally serious), the idea of a drooling, fur-shedding animal romping around the house was less than appealing.
Fast forward to married life in our first home. This is our place to do what we want! No apartment rules or surcharges concerning pets, a decent size yard for a dog to run; obviously this was the perfect time for our first four-legged friend, right? Not when your husband is vehemently opposed. Even tears could not melt his frosty heart.
In the midst of the ongoing Dog Debate, tragedy struck. Kevin is not a pack rat, but he does have a few prized possessions: a U.S. State quarter collection, various foreign currencies from his father's international travels, and a 1988 Little Caesar's Detroit Red Wings commemorative glass picturing Gerard "Spud" Gallant and one of Kevin's childhood heroes, Steve "Silk" Yzerman. While washing dishes after dinner, I broke the glass. I didn't have time to react, to hide the shards. Kevin saw them and mournfully cried, "Steeeeeeeeeeeve!" There was nothing we could do. Kevin's prized possession was gone. We ceremoniously disposed of the glass in the garbage can, and I did my best to forget and never utter Steve Yzerman's name again.
Not long after the Steve Incident, we ran a 5K race and bumped into one of Kevin's co-workers at the finish line. During our conversation, the Dog Debate came up, and on a whim, Kevin made a vow. "If you find me another Steve glass, just like the old one, I'll get you a dog." With Kevin's co-worker as a witness, the deal was sealed. It was up to me and Providence to find that glass!
Upon returning home that day, Kevin did yard work and I secretly set to finding that glass. I feverishly searched eBay and there it was: the 1988 Little Caesar's Detroit Red Wings commemorative glass picturing Gerard "Spud" Gallant and Steve "Silk" Yzerman. God bless that man in Sterling Heights. For $12, I was going to win the rights to a dog. I knew I had to keep this a secret until the glass arrived. This was an event worthy of all the pomp I could muster. I won the glass and payed with money order, so Kevin wouldn't find any suspicious checks or credit card charges. Two weeks later, the glass arrived during a Saturday afternoon cleaning session. As the UPS truck rumbled away, Kevin looked at me inquisitively, "Do you know what this is?"
"No. No idea. You can go ahead and open it." I could hardly contain myself. This was it! The moment I've been waiting for. Kevin pried open the box flaps and took out the paper and bubble wrapped bundle. He unwrapped the glass, and as soon as he recognized it as THE 1988 Little Caesar's Detroit Red Wings commemorative glass picturing Gerard "Spud" Gallant and Steve "Silk" Yzerman, he lifted it above his head and cried joyfully, "Steeeeeeeeeeeeve!"
Then came the questions:
"How did you find this?"
"Who sent it?"
"Did you know what was in this box?"
Then came the realization of what this glass really meant:
"Oh no. The dog."
All I could do was smile. I was speechless. This was probably one of my greatest triumphs ever and I fully expected to reap the rewards.
I won't get into the gory details, but the victory went sour quickly. It took four more months of pleading, heated discussions, and covert communication with dog rescue organizations to get Kevin to agree to go to one of the dog adoption clinics. I assured him that this trip would be to "look," but anyone who has ever gone to "look" for a dog knows that there really is no such thing as "looking". More often than not, you come home with a dog.
This trip to "look" was no different. We walked into the pet supply store where the adoption clinic was held and we were immediately accosted by a ridiculously excited mutt named Dutch. He jumped, pawed and proceeded to circle me, wrapping his red leash around my legs. One of the volunteers, probably the one who should have been man-handling this dog, exclaimed, "You'd love Dutch! He's the sweetest pup!" I grabbed a nearby table to keep myself upright and broadcast a message with my eyes clearly saying, "Sweet is not the word I would use to describe Dutch."
After untangling myself, we continued to run the gauntlet of dogs. It wasn't long before the cutest black dog I had ever laid eyes on came into view. He was sitting placidly in front of the man holding his leash. I bent down, looked into his velvety eyes, looked back at Kevin and said, "I like him. I want him." I was smitten.
It became clear very quickly that we were not the only people interested in this dog. Two different potential households were showing interest in what I was already thinking was my dog. After a half hour of heated discussion and debate, we agreed to take him. Nearly two years and many adventures later, he's still with us and he's still winning hearts.
I think I owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Yzerman. The time he spent setting records and wowing crowds on the ice brought the admiration of many, namely my husband. Little did I know that this admiration would, in some small way, make one of my dreams come true.