As I write this I am listening to the whir of a machine I pray will clean my light-colored sofa. I’m not totally optimistic that anything can get rid of Coconut’s night of butter a year ago. Yes, this really short dog has quite the reach and though I put the butter on a pan in the middle of the kitchen island to thaw Coconut somehow reached it. And took it to the brand-new sofa. And devoured it and nature, well, you know what happened next.

One day I’ll tell you the whole, awful story of the warranty that wasn’t a true warranty if you have a dog. By the time the night of butter, three, full sticks, we were totally and completely in love with this dog. Like when your human child destroys an antique passed down for generations you don’t stop loving them and make them live elsewhere. You just put things out of reach, make rules, be better at guarding your treasures, and realize that nothing matters as much as your child, human or fur.

When we came back from buying this hopefully magical machine I was looking for something in my files. It seems appropriate to post it here because in the year since the aforementioned night of butter we still feel like we got the best gift ever when we found NEW PAWSibilities and adopted Coconut.

The Night Of Butter September 8, 2017

It’s a funny thing when you adopt a dog. Like humans, I believe all dogs have a personality. They are sometimes born shy, or they are mouthy, and many of them, like my dog, is the life of the party. Some dogs, like humans, are just smarter than others, even those in their litter. Some are runts and they know they have to work harder than anyone else to get what they need and deserve. In these ways, dogs really are no different than people.

But when we adopt a stray with no history there are learned behaviors we just don’t know about. How many times have I looked into my dog’s eyes and said, tell me your story? How did a dog as wonderful as you end up in a shelter waiting for me? So, we take a gamble when we adopt a dog. We take a gamble when we go on that first date, make a new friend, start a new job, and certainly when we marry. Everyone, especially dogs, has the characteristics they are born with as well as the behaviors they learn on their life travels. I’ve found breaking habits that are not conducive to Coconut living in our home are much easier than breaking my husband’s bad habits. I’m sure he feels the same about me.

Today my husband and I are celebrating our eighteenth wedding anniversary. We look at our lives and celebration BC, before Coconut, and all the changes in our lives because we are now three instead of two. In the past, we’d plan a romantic trip, spend the morning in bed, go out for a special dinner.

This morning Coconut thought a 5:45 am wakeup call was a good idea. We convinced him to wait till 6:30. He’s gotten this aversion to pooping in his own yard. He has to have an early morning walk. Instead of snuggling in our warm bed we did the feed the dog and walk thing. After coffee, the dog park took the place of a romantic getaway. We chatted with other owners and enjoyed Coconut’s exuberance as he played with dogs both big and small. That parental pride cropped up as we realized our dog outran every dog no matter their size.

This afternoon all three of us will go to my son’s house to celebrate my grandson’s seventh birthday. I’ll watch this beautiful, smart, capable little boy run and snuggle and play with this rescue dog who is now such an integral part of our lives.

When Coconut came to live with us we had to train him that chairs and beds and sofas and tables were for people, not dogs. We bought him beds. So, so many beds. He has a kennel with a soft mattress. We broke him of the bad furniture habit he had somehow acquired along the way. Somewhere on our nearly yearlong journey, we realized that his beds were all very far away from us. We could not pet him as we watched a movie or comfort him during those times when inconsiderate neighbors set off fireworks or the thunder and lightning scared him. We now have decided that Coconut’s hair and maybe a little dirt on the sofa is the cost we pay for as we nurture our relationship with this newest family member. We all three of us love being together on that sofa, the only piece of furniture that’s as much his as it is ours.

Tonight, instead of that romantic anniversary dinner we’ll sit on our hairy, slightly discolored sofa and watch a movie while eating leftovers. We won’t exchange gifts, we’ve spent way too much on this house and this dog. But, for now, we have the best gift ever. This year we celebrate Coconut and all the change that he has brought to our marriage and our lives. Pretty good gift, right?