My favorite year.

Today marks one year of THOR goodness in our lives. Pets Landing has oodles of irresistable puppies, but there was something about baby THOR that melted by heart into a worthless puddle on the floor. Cody would tell you that every puppy did that to me; and that's most likely, probably entirely, completely true. But I had an even softer spot for our little one, probably because when we got him, he was the very picture of an underdog, and I'm a sucker for underdogs.

It was one year ago that Cody and I had taken a walk through the neighborhood after an afternoon at our then-favorite Bean and decided to make a stop in our still-favorite pet store. What we loved most about this place is that you can go in and play with the puppies without having to bother with the sales people first. They rotate their pups between the cage wall and about 12 fenced-in kiddie pools filled with shredded paper and two puppies each, so you can just walk in and pick up any one you want. We loved to go in there from time to time and see them, because puppies are pretty much my favorite thing in the world.

THOR was four months old when we took him home, an almost unheard of age for a puppy in a pet store. He was bigger than the other dogs and had a very sad, lonely air about him, and I just couldn't stand it for one more second. When I picked him up out of his little kiddie pool, he nuzzled right up into my neck, like he was trying to smuggle himself out of there by crawling into my shirt. There was no doubt in my mind that while Pets Landing is a great pet store, he was just sick of being there, sick of watching all his friends leave him for homes of their own. I inquired about his breed and how much he costs, and how is he still here, he's so sweet! The girls at the store said that he was their favorite, and they had a name for him: Rupert.

So Cody and I went into a little private room, then we took him outside, and he was very... mellow. He wasn't playful like the other puppies. Granted, he was older and by default a little more calm, but Cody couldn't help but think there was something wrong with him. Even though I was secretly wondering the same thing, I just told Cody to stop being ridiculous, there is nothing wrong with this little guy. I mean, after all, look at that face!

We took him back inside and Cody convinced me to part with him for the night. I HATED IT. We walked back to the car, arguing about whether or not it made sense to get a dog right now, and we came to a compromise: if we went back the next day and he was still there, we would get him.

So we went back the next day. And the second we walked in, I saw him- in the arms of another woman (that bitch!). I looked at Cody with what I'm sure translated as sheer desperation, and he just gave me a hug and said, "I'm sure he is going to a good home." (Translation: "Thank God someone else bought that dog." Although now Cody would kick himself for ever thinking such a thing.) So we stayed for a little while longer, played with a tiny shih tzu, and just as we were getting ready to head out the door, I saw the same lady standing at the counter gushing over a different puppy that apparently was in the back, getting ready to go home with her (bitch comment retracted). I peered around the corner and, sure enough, there was the little man, sitting all alone amongst the paper shreds in his kiddie pool.

So off we went, armed with a brand-new Cavachon and a carload of puppy necessities. We cooked dinner and then I almost had a nervous breakdown. Cody remembers me sitting at the table, apparently in shock based on the look of absolute terror on my face, staring at the little white fluffball relieving himself on the carpet, frozen in the realization that I am now responsible for another life, and what-the-crap-did-I-just-get-myself-into? OMG OMG OMG. He told me to breathe. The thought of that helpless, un-loved little guy living another night without a family completely disarmed my reasoning. Even if he didn't keep me awake with his incessant barking and yelping and whining ALL NIGHT LONG, I still don't think I would have slept a wink.

But sometimes what may appear to be the dumbest decisions turn out to be the best decisions. Baby THOR is certainly no exception, and I would do it all over again if I had to. I know that moms are always biased, but after we took him home, he blossomed with the most perfect doggie personality I have yet to encounter. Everyone who meets him says so. My dad was visibly annoyed when I showed up on their doorstep, puppy in tow, but now he loves him like his own. And oh my gosh. My mom. She actually refers to him as her grandson. And she is THOR's absolute favorite. Amber calls him her favorite nephew. Even the most macho manly men think THOR is the coolest little dog. I'm such a proud mom.

A couple of months after we got him, I got a picture message from Cody. The caption said that it was taken sometime in February of 07. Here is the picture:

It was about two months before we took him home. I had no idea. Looks like he had kept everyone else fooled long enough to come home with the family he had been waiting for all along.

I love you, Little Man.

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