PETS

I have been wanting a parrot. I have a history of acquiring pets when I am under stress. My friends used to say every boyfriend I broke up with meant a new puppy for me but, in truth, it’s a number of things that prompt me to get another pet.

As my mother was dying in Florida, each day I would take a break and visit a pet shop in Stuart. They had these odd white cribs with really handsome animals in them – not puppy mill dogs. They were healthy and friendly and in no way desperate. There was a Scottie pup there that would grab his rubber toy, shake it and growl. Grrrrrrrrrr… Then he would look at me out of his almond shaped eyes and grin. I was done for…

My mother died peacefully surrounded by my sister, me and her three brothers. She lay quietly for five days before dying. Hospital staff would come in to check on her and, despite her speechless state, would talk to her and kiss her forehead. We sat in the hospital room with mom and told family stories. We still joke that she lingered to hear those stories and our laughter one last time. When she died I flew my son, Tyson, down for the funeral.

I told Tyson about the Scottie. We knew we would be driving a truck back up north with our family’s grandfather clock in it. (The clock was made in Philadelphia in 1836 for my great, great grandmother. I had listened to it chime hourly as I was growing up. Now it would be ours.) Ty asked if we could go see this Scottie. Why not?

We went to the pet store and the puppy grabbed his toy and performed his Grrrrrrr… trick followed by a Scottie grin. Ty was smitten. So we brought him him home with us. Ty, my sister and I played with him at my mom’s house as we got ready to leave. He brought joy and laughter into Mom’s house. He lightened our long drive to New Jersey. Tyson named him Isaac, the oddest name I’ve ever heard for a Scottie.

Ty’s friend Michael, who loved dogs, offered to walk Isaac mid-day, since I was working. He and Tyson spent hours playing with the pup.

Isaac grew to be a super-sized. Handsome as all get out but large and sweet unlike some Scotties. My vet’s techs called him “the good Scottie” and gave him special attention if he had to stay with them.

Years later, when Ty, his wife and daughter lived with me, Isaac would sit on my pregnant daughter-in-law’s lap for hours. He was gentle with my granddaughter. He was well loved by us all.

I read in all the guides that getting a dog should be a slow, thoughtful process. I totally agree. It is important to be sure a dog will fit into your lifestyle and has the temperament you desire. Breeds have traits which must be considered before you bring a dog home.

But I confess that the best dog I ever had arrived when I needed him. Coincidence? I think not.