Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jasmine

Okay.  I am not sure where to start, so I'll just start in the very beginning.

By the time I turned 5 years old, I knew that all I wanted from my life was to own a dog.  I was a born leader and a dog would be my co-pilot.  At that age, a German Sheppard was my ultimate companion.  I was fearless, petting every dog on the street while my mom dragged me away in fear.

By the time I was 6, my mom and dad grew tired of hearing me whine about wanting a dog and decided that the best way to shut me up would be to buy me a pet.  A small, manageable pet.  A small, manageable pet that would not live very long and would hopefully satisfy my childish need for a dog.  So they got me a hamster.

Alice, my new hamster,  was a great pet.  Although she was no dog, I was satisfied that my parents were at least willing to compromise.  They handed over my new pet to me and explained that if I could keep her alive, then they would consider getting me a dog.  I was thrilled!  How hard could it be to keep a hamster alive?

Alice and I became best friends.  I took her everywhere with me.  We spent endless hours playing outside while she ran around and chewed on dandelions; I gave her my little Barbie house to run around in when the weather wasn't participating; I fed her carrots when she looked like she needed that little extra to get through the day.  I loved her.

If I was to be honest with you, I'd also tell you that she often ran away from her cage and hid behind furniture.  My dad would have to go get her and she would bite him so hard that his fingers would bleed for days.  I am almost sure that my parents hated her.

One night while my sister and I were taking a bath, my mom and dad walked in to chat with us.  Unsuspecting and innocent, I couldn't figure out what this could be about.  Without showing too much emotion, my dad sat down and told us that Alice was dead.  She died peacefully in her sleep and they were going to take care of her so we wouldn't have to see her.  I bawled the whole night.  By the time I realized what this meant, my dad had "taken care" of everything.  I wiped my tears away from my face and asked him where he buried her so I could say goodbye.   "Buried her?" My dad looked confused.  In return, my mom and I looked confused.  "I just threw her in the dumpster outside."  I bawled for another couple of days.

Years later I would learn that Alice died naturally from being old because hamsters don't live that long.  But my parents said that taking care of Alice was hard work and a puppy would only be 100 times worse.  So that was that.  I was not to have a puppy.

Needless to say, my want need for a puppy didn't stop with my dead hamster.  I mourned her and moved on.  I had my eyes on the prize - one day I would get my puppy!

There was Pebbles in college, but we're going to skip right over Pebbles.  But by the time I graduated college, it was a matter of days before I got Travis.  I always said that I wanted a big dog, but our apartment at the time only allowed dogs under 30 pounds.  And besides, Travis is like the cutest little brat in the world.  Then, a couple of years later, we got Cailey.  She wasn't a big dog either, but she was our clearance puppy and we loved her dearly.

So after a couple more years, I was ready for my big dog.  Jon and I were married, we bought a house with a huge yard, and we both wanted a big dog.  We kept going back and forth about a new addition to our already big family.  A third dog would be too much!  But we both wanted to have sleepless nights with a new puppy.  Our families thought we were kind of insane.  But we couldn't stop looking up little balls of fur online.  We spent endless hours sending each other links over the course of a couple of months that contained adorable squishies.  We ended up settling on a Boxer for a breed after countless conversations about what kind of a dog we wanted.  We even came up with a name, Jasmine.  There was no way around it - we would get a new puppy.  I called and e-mailed Boxer breeders in CT and finally found a great home breeder that had a litter of puppies and she still had 2 females and a male left!  We knew we wanted a female, so we told her to hold on to them for us and headed an hour away on a nice Saturday afternoon to pick up our puppy.  Actually, I think Jon's words were something like, "We'll just go and check it out and see what these Boxer puppies are like.  This does NOT under any circumstances mean that we are coming home with a puppy."  What I heard was, "We're getting a puppy!"

We talked excitedly the whole drive about Jasmine.  Jon continued to tell me that this didn't mean that we would be bringing any puppies home - we were only going to check things out.  I laughed at him.  Did he not know me at all?

When we pulled up to the house, the owners weren't home yet, but we could hear the terrifying bark of boxers on the other side of the door.  I could barely contain myself.  When the owners arrived, they warned us that the dogs only looked and sounded scary, so to not be alarmed; then they let them out.  Two big, strong boxers ran out, barking their scary barks at us.  I couldn't be happier.  They ran up and licked my face and I was mush under their saliva.  Then, just behind them, came three tiny little balls of skin and soft bones, waddling, tripping over their own feet.  They let out tiny little barks that sounded more like squeals.  The first was a reverse brindle (meaning she had dark brown lines with lighter brown lines), the second - a brindle (the lighter stripes) and a third fawn (tan).  The reverse brindle puppy came up and began chewing on my laces.  I almost started crying.  Then the brindle puppy tried to jump up and eat my hair.  I was ready to pack up both puppies and bring them home.  Jon reminded me that these tiny little muffins would eventually grow up to be big eating, pooping machines and we couldn't afford them both.  I sighed heavily and started trying to decide on a puppy.  At the end, we chose the reverse brindle little princess whose birth name was Velvet because of the beautiful coloring of her skin.  I lifted the puppy up, kissed her, and told Jon that this was Jasmine.

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