Eight years ago, the Books household was blessed with its fifth family member, an 8-pound cockapoo puppy. As you may have guessed from her picture above, she had no trouble instantly bonding with the four of us in record time.
Truth be told, Bella had no choice, as she was followed all around the house by both of our children for weeks. The kids were clearly enamored with their new house occupant, and life was okay as neither I or my wife were in charge of picking up the inevitable doggie landmines that would eventually dot our back lawn. That charming duty fell to my kids, at least initially.
Aside from a few days communication blackout in which she and I were not interacting due to her chewing off the corner of a kitchen cabinet, we, too, were growing pretty tight. She was admittedly confused regarding her nom de plume for a few days after that incident, as I took to calling her petite frame anything but her chosen name. My go-to choice applied perfectly, since dogs don’t get married, anyway.
Choosing to adopt our first family dog was a big deal for us as it took some convincing of my wife to finally make it happen. Her parents never had a canine, and I grew up with dogs, cats, and parakeets (one that barked) as a normal part of the family entourage. I was accustomed to pets around my ankles, whereas my wife never experienced the joy of fur babies.
When she finally relented, the three of us were overcome with joy as the kids and I had been hinting for years that we wanted one. She had a single condition, though…she would pick the type of dog as allergies were an issue. After doing some research on hypo-allergenic types, we settled on a Cockapoo, which is an undeniably adorable mix of cocker spaniel and poodle.
My job in this hunt? Go find one.
Frankly, I thought that was a fair deal. I didn’t mind doing the leg work and looking at options, plus, it prepared me for the responsibilities I never had to handle before…flea treatments, shots, spaying, etc. The initial cost was certainly a huge consideration, as well as the month-to-month expenses that would accompany our initial investment.
Once we finally found a potential winner online, we purchased a kennel and made the two-hour trip north to Wausau to claim our new housemate. During the drive, we discussed the responsibilities that had to take place in order to make this new venture work.
Who would feed her? Who would handle the brushings? Who would walk her? Who got to pick up the aforementioned poop? What about obedience training?
All important components that had to be considered and completed, as a family.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by six eight-week-old puppies that were all equally cute and adorable. Narrowing our choice down to one suddenly became a monumental task. To his credit, my then 13-year-old, already seated on the floor, pointed out our pained conundrum as two pups simultaneously crawled into his lap. “It’s too hard to choose! How do we pick?”
A great question, since I, too, had difficulty selecting just one.
I placed our kennel in the farthest corner away from the four of us and left the door wide open. We all sat on the floor in a diamond configuration and began to interact with the canines. All of them came over to check us out at one moment or another, although the time they spent playing with us was short-lived. Puppy attention spans are pretty small…kind of like the same duration most sane people give infomercials and televangelists.
Eventually, one of the pups lounging in my lap got up, wandered over to the kennel, sniffed the gate, and lumbered in. Once she turned around and faced us, she laid down with her head between her front feet, and let out a sigh. She yawned, smacked her lips, and looked us at contently as if to say, “I’m ready. Let’s go.” There it was. Instead of us having to make the hard choice, she did it, herself. She chose us.
It’s a good thing, too. Otherwise, we would have been there for hours trying to make the big selection. My kids would’ve campaigned for more than one dog out of pity, and my big ole’ softie heart might have relented. Frankly, it was refreshing that neither I nor my wife had to be the bad guy in this deal and force a choice.
Eight years later, the impact Bella has made on the four of us is undeniable. She’s forged a bond with not only us but with other members of the extended family and friends that come to visit. Of course, if you’ve got snacks, she’ll be your buddy for life, as my brothers have learned during our family cookouts. Even our mailman has that figured out, as he carries doggie treats in a small hip bag on his route for all of the neighborhood pooches (to Bella, the white USPS truck is really a catering service). The rewards we’ve all experienced by having her in our lives is immeasurable, and her story reminds me that it’s okay to let life make the natural choices sometimes.
Frankly, I don’t totally believe that paths in our lives are pre-determined. However, I do believe there are occasions where life just chooses us when we’re not looking or we don’t expect it. Just about anyone can recite examples where things fell into place with zero expectation or preparation. As Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters:
Call it fate, call it luck, call it karma…I believe everything happens for a reason.
Take for example the guy in the clip below from The Johnny Carson Show. Here he was, taking in the LA attractions on a sunny weekday afternoon, and this happens:
I hadn’t heard of David Tolley until I tripped over this video while perusing Facebook a few nights ago. I needed a break from the writing process as I was hitting a creative wall, which is fairly common for anyone who blogs or publishes on a regular basis. Facebook is generally good for brainless thought where I can mindlessly let my noggin drift, or I can always rely on cat videos that are endlessly posted on YouTube to send my brain into a mental hiatus.
As I scrolled through my feed, there it was, screaming for my attention, almost like I was meant to find it. How ironic that in the middle of my fervor to complete this article, it fell into my lap when I wasn’t looking. All I had to do was slow down my pace, and let life point me in the right direction. Much like Bella did eight years ago, karma made the choice for me.
If you retain nothing else from this article, at least take this: It’s okay to get out of the way of ourselves, occasionally. We live in accelerated and turbulent times and rarely take the needed moments to slow down, look around, appreciate what we have and embrace the things they mean the most to us….the love of a family, good friends, prosperous times, etc. More often than not, we’re far too busy patting ourselves on the back for our successes, planning, and ingenuity. Yes, it would be naive and far too passive to suggest that we should go through life and let the chips fall where they may always, but on the flip side, there is no harm to letting it ride when appropriate.
Sometimes, the best results come from allowing ourselves the benefits of luck and good fortune, along with the flexibility to adapt to change.
Thank you for reading. As always, I welcome your thoughts and opinions. There’s plenty of space below to leave a comment, share a thought or dole out a beatdown. If you found the article useful, why not “like” it or share it with others?