Christopherson Column: Of course we got a dog
We got a dog.
Why try to be all poetic and clever in stating such a straightforward fact? We got a dog. A puppy, to be more specific. A seven-week-old Siberian Husky puppy, to be even more specific. Which means I don’t really have the time to be poetic and clever as I assemble this column, because there is a furry explosion of energy with big ears romping and flopping at my feet and trying to make my laptop cord her latest teething remedy, or maybe just a rubbery, wiry snack.
(If I had a dollar for every time over the past week or so someone has felt the need to mention that we’ve purchased perhaps the most “high-octane” canine on the planet, I could do all of my Christmas shopping without putting a single gift on a credit card.)
It feels so cliché writing this column, on this topic. I mean, how out-of-the-box and even rebellious would it be to write a column about having to buy jeans online and in a brand you’ve never before worn and, therefore, you have to guess your size because your favorite apparel stores are shut down or closed for good ONE WEEK after you brought a holy terror puppy into your home that for 15 years has been occupied by two cats? And the week after that, what if you continued to avoid writing about your puppy and instead you write a follow-up sharing the joy that your new Old Navy jeans fit wonderfully and are surprisingly stylish?
In all seriousness, I’m happy with my new jeans, but...
We got a dog, and she – we named her Cora after more than a day of surprisingly enthusiastic debate and intense research – gets an introductory column.
I could write a sidebar, too, on the number of people who have outright scolded us for not announcing the addition to our family on Facebook. It’s like, how could be we so rude? Believe me, I’ve been me for 50 years now and my wife has known me for three decades of those five...she’ll be the first to tell you that I can be that rude.
I’m calling her the pandemic puppy, and why wouldn’t I? (I even brought up Rona as a potential name.) If not for this pandemic and if not for the fact that my wife and I have been working almost entirely from home since last March, buying a puppy with winter approaching and the two aforementioned felines already firmly entrenched in our house would not even have been a consideration.
Well, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been talking about this off and on, with varying degrees of seriousness, for quite a while. After all, two parents suddenly left alone together in a big house when their kids move out starting to entertain thoughts of getting a dog...that’s almost cliché, too. But it’s never been a full-on serious discussion. It’s almost like we’d take turns casually bringing up the topic of getting a dog as sort of a mutual testing-the-waters thing. It’s like we’d try to out-coy each other:
“So, scale of 1 to 10, how serious are you?” one of us would inquire.
“Well, how serious are YOU?” would come the retort.
And then the Saturday backyard bonfire happened, a day after my wife’s most recent visit to the Humane Society of Polk County in Crookston, where she’d taken a liking to walking dogs in recent weeks. There was a 9-month-old female German Shepherd there, and my wife and the pretty girl hit it off during a stroll. She took photos. She sent them to me. She liked this dog.
We chatted, again, mostly casually in nature, about the shepherd, named Blue, as we kept warm around our fire. Then my wife tapped some buttons on her phone, scrolled a bit, and announced that the humane society was still open for another half-hour or so. She wanted me to meet Blue.
But the pup’s photos had vanished from the humane society’s Facebook page earlier that day. A subsequent message was rapidly replied to: Blue had been adopted that afternoon.
We were obviously happy for her, but I knew the intensity of our puppy pursuit had officially left “casual” in the rear-view mirror.
Sure enough, a few days later, when my wife wrapped up an appointment in Fargo, she made a pit stop, and started sending photos and videos to me starring a certain husky pup, and then the phone call came. My wife’s tone of voice told me she was coming home with this animal.
But she wanted my input, she wanted my endorsement. I largely wimped out by offering my inspirational go-to advice, courtesy of Napoleon Dynamite: “Pedro, just listen to your heart. That’s what I do.”
A few minutes later came another photo, a selfie of the puppy on my wife’s lap in the front seat of her vehicle. Part of my wife’s face was visible, too, and she looked as serious as I’ve ever seen her, melancholy, even.
“Why aren’t you smiling?” I texted.
“Because I’m nervous!” she replied. “This is the most impulsive thing I’ve ever done!”
Maybe so, but if you can’t be a little impulsive or even a lot impulsive at this particular moment in time, at this moment in our lives, when can you?