We did it all. Never ones to eschew cliché, we baked bread, made Dalonga coffee, watched Tiger King, played games on our new switch, and we held themed costume dinners with funny slideshows. I bought plants and convinced myself I could keep them alive. We watched the news—glad we were safe and heartbroken over those were not. I made fancy and put pictures on Facebook. My teen stayed locked in her room, and we collected her bins of trash and dirty dishes when we needed spoons.
We had a vulnerable senior citizen (my mom) and a stranded family friend in the house. My husband and I kept everyone fed by carefully ordering then washing our delivered groceries (I can’t believe we did that!) We told ourselves how lucky we were to still have jobs we could do online. We cooked meal after meal, we drank cocktails and we tried game nights. The teen watched us from the stairs, sneering, then went back to her room.
Things started to tatter just a bit around the seams. After making the one loaf of bread, my husband named his sourdough starter Alvin and began tenderly feeding each week with no signs that it would ever be used for the banal breadmaking process ever again. He placed the large sourdough womb in the refrigerator each time, complaining loudly that ‘we had no room for anything in there!’ I began talking about how I ‘really needed a smoker’ for proper cocktail making. My teen said I was “a Karen.”
My mom was bored and wanted to go get her hair done. So, I bought tools and cut her hair, making her look like David Bowie without the makeup. The teen came out of her room to cut our hair and dye mine purple. She did a better job than I did with my mom’s hair. I turned away from cosmetology and began writing children’s books.
In light of all this, it should come as no surprise to anyone reading that around March I began the search for a dog. I read online ads, I visited the shelters a number of times. My husband was not at all on board, but I went anyway. I never found the right fit, so I started pricing puppies. My husband was decidedly not on board with that idea. He suspected, probably accurately, that he would be in charge of potty training. I made the calls. But when it came down to it, I just didn’t want to spend that much on a dog when there were (despite the trends) so many in shelters.
Around April I hitched up my shoulders a bit and went to the county Animal Control fully expecting to see a Sarah MacLaughlin commercial. That was not the case. A clean building, efficient volunteers and orderly process identified two dogs for me to visit. One, a quiet and calm female dog seemed like a perfect fit for the family. She would take a while to warm up to me, and that was fine.
But then they brought out the other one. He slavered and pulled on the leash like a crazed TV villain. He went right for me and my gentle kneeling position transitioned to a lap. He licked my face, he licked my feet, he showed no signs of recognizing that he was a 50 pound pitbull instead of a lapdog. This one will be impossible to train, I thought. So, I brought him home.
My husband: “What have you done? We don’t know anything about pitbulls!” My mom: “Why did you do this?” My daughter came out of her room, briefly. But I had felt his desperation like a pain in my gut as he tried to jump on me at the shelter and I couldn’t turn away.
Chuck and I were a team now and there was no stopping us. He dragged me on walks. He looked at me strangely when I presented him with toys, then gave up and just sat on my lap. He had the worst gas of any dog gas I’ve ever smelled. He still doesn’t come when called. But I’ve also never seen a sweeter dog and one so gentle and eager to be loved by everyone. It dawned on me that Chuck’s superpower was that he loved you, just the way you are and no matter how much you liked him.
And now I’m a believer. I used to believe the hype about pitbulls too, but then I adopted one and wrote a book about it. I tell everyone I see—go right now to the shelter and get yourself a pitbull. The sloppier the better. Is it a hot mess? Perfect, that’s where we all are right now. Give that dog a home and family and it will love you forever.
Chuck and I wrote his adoption story together: “Chuckie Gets Adopted” is available on Amazon and is free on Kindle Unlimited:
This website tells you a bit more about me & my books: https://sites.google.com/view/misslaurasbookclub/home