Thursday, December 16, 2010

How The Old Grinch's Heart Grew Two Sizes That Day

*this is a story about coincidence, fate and how even the hardest hearts can be softened*

To say I am not a pet person would be an understatement.
I think animals are ok, but I like my stuff and my house to be the way I want it, so I have very little patience for something that messes with the things I work so hard to have.
Of course I would happen to be married to the biggest dog lover on the planet.
For all of the 10 years we have been together we have always had a dog.

For the past 5 years we have had a Soft~Coated Wheaten Terrier who has made my head spin and me want to rip out my hair on more than one occasion.
This dog has cost me thousands upon thousands of dollars and everyone in our real lives laughs and thinks it's funny how utterly exasperated he makes me.
But my children and husband love him, so I tolerate the situation.

Now and again the husband starts talking about a second dog and I roll my eyes and try not to gag.
Years ago, he mentioned how he loves the Brussel Griffon breed and anytime the movie As Good As It Gets is on tv you can be assured he is sitting there gushing over what a cool looking dog Verdell is.
We have googled them and looked up breeders but the conversations have always ended there.

Fast forward to this Christmas.
My daughter has been begging Santa to bring her a puppy.
She emailed him this, and writes it on every list.
To these requests I have responded:
"Fat chance kiddo!"
"Santa doesn't bring puppies to kids because he will just piss off the parents!"
"You have a robot dog Santa brought you a year or two ago. Isn't that good enough?"
Crazy kid! Where is her head?!?!

Saturday night she went to visit my father and stepmother for a sleepover.
My husband and son came to the mall I work at that night so we could do some Christmas shopping.
I had to park in East Jabib when I got to work earlier that day and hubby had a good spot on the other side of the mall so I asked him to drive me around to my car.
As we walked to the doorway, we passed the pet shop that has been in the mall for the past 18 years.
"Do you want to go in?" he asked.
"Sure." Puppies are cute. Why not?

A split second later my husband gasps.
"Oh my God! They have a Brussel Griffon!" he exclaims.
"Really?" We have never seen one in person before.
We stared through the glass.
"It's a female and she's only $499!" he exclaims again.
"Wow!" we have googled this so we know that these dogs sell for 2 times that amount. "Do you want to have them take her out and play with her?" I asked.
You know where this is going right? Playing with the puppy is almost like sealing the deal, right?
We went into a playroom with her and she was just awesome.
She liked us, but there were toys in there and she was fully capable of keeping herself entertained with them.
She displayed such great temperment that we grew kind of silent and thoughtful.
The sales girl came to check on us.
She explained that the puppy was already 4 months old and was transferred from another location because no one was buying her.
The sales girl was in love with her too and said how so many people don't even know this breed.
She only gets requested to come out once or twice a day.
That made our hearts heavy, but we explained that we were really not looking for a dog, we did like her and we would have a lot to talk about.

We called each other on our cell phones and talked the whole way home.
We sat at the kitchen counter until late into the night discussing pros and cons.
Most of the cons being me.
Sunday morning, my husband woke me up telling me to hurry into the family room.
He had something to show me.
As Good As It Gets was on tv!
Was this a sign????
We talked some more until I had to head back to work then even talked some more while I was driving.
How was this even a conversation to be had?
Why are we really talking about this?
I knew it would make he and the kids happy...and as cute as she is...could I really tolerate another pet?
We agreed later that afternoon that he needed to come back up with our daughter to see how she interacted with the dog.
My daughter is terrified of our friends tea cup Yorkie and we cannot possibly own a pet she is timid of.
But of course she loved her too, and stood in the middle of the mall crying and begging us for her.
Then my husband said to me, "If this dog starts chewing on your say your dining room will you feel about the dog then? This is your decision Eleanor. You know I love dogs, this is all up to you."
That sobered up the moment really quickly.
"Ryan, this is decision is bigger than all of us right now. Mommy and Daddy cannot just decide this in a day or two. We are just too busy a family to have two dogs."
"I knew it!" she wailed "You are never going to get her!"
Off they went home and I headed back up to work.
But I couldn't stop thinking about this whole debacle.
I left work a few minutes before the mall was closing and found myself back in the pet shop staring through the glass at her.

The sales associates were chatting with me about my whole dilemma and I asked if I could just hold her for a minute even though they were closing.
Of course they agreed, and when the put her in my arms she snuggled up to me and rested her head on my shoulder...burrowing in tightly to my neck...just like my babies once did.
I picked up my cell phone.
"Would you kill me if I come home with her right now?" I asked my sleeping husband.
"Yes. We don't even have the crate assembled. What are you going to do with her?"
"That's true."
"If you have decided you want her, go back and pick her up in the morning. You're off tomorrow."
They put a sold sign on her crate and I headed home.

I drove home drunken from all the excitement and woke him up when I slid into bed.
We excitedly discussed names and all the possibilities adding to our little family would bring.
Then it came to me.
"Winnie!" I exclaimed out of nowhere.
"Winnie?" he asked.
"Yes! Her name is Winnie! It's girly without being, well, too girly!"
"Winnie." he said.
"Yes. It's perfect."

I could scarcely sleep and just got up at 4am and went on the computer.
I was scrolling through my blog reader when I almost jumped out of my skin.
My friend Emily had posted on Sunday a blog she titled "Winnie."
I nearly died.
Another sign?!?!?

After dropping my disgruntled daughter at school and never telling her what we had decided I drove up to the store to buy Winnie.
As I sat there waiting for them to fill out my paperwork, another sales associate came to me and asked, "Are you buying the Brussel Griffon today?"
"Yes, why?"
She turned to someone behind her who I hadn't seen until that moment.
"I'm sorry ma'am. Someone else has bought her first."
A really sad faced woman peeked around the corner and looked at me.
"Are you really buying her?" she asked almost hopefully.
"I came to buy her too. My husband saw her yesterday and texted me a picture of her. He wants her."
"I'm sorry...we saw her here this weekend and fell in love with her."
We chatted for a few minutes and she asked if she could hold Winnie.
I said that was fine.
The whole thing was so surreal.
Had I not decided made up my mind Sunday night...she would have been gone forever.

She rode home on my lap, snuggled up tight to me just as she is right this minute as I type away.
This little pup has stolen my heart and I will never be the same.

We brought her to my daughter's school with us on Monday afternoon to surprise her with an early Christmas gift.
She was beyond elated.
We were going to buy a new big,fancy tv as our present to each other this year, but we have decided it can wait.
Winnie was the best present we could have given each other.
Our little family is now complete.


  1. What a sweet story Eleanor. Winnie snuggling against your neck reminds me of the first time I held my Bella. She's been by my side ever since. Congrats and Merry Christmas!

  2. I was reading and heart "ached" when the other lady almost bought her. We have two lovely lab-mix...pets, specially dogs give you unconditional love. Enjoy Winnie...she's home for Christmas!!!

  3. I'm so not a pet person myself, but this story and those pictures melt my heart and i'm getting teary eyed. A sweet little puppy can do that to you.

    It was a sign that was meant to be. What a lovely Christmas story.

  4. This actually made me tear up a little. What a wonderful story, and I am so happy that you got to bring this little darling home! Be sure to give us updates on how Winnie is doing with her new loving family! I hope that other lady found a wonderful pet, too. Happy holidays, Eleanor!

  5. Best Christmas EVER! What a wonderful story. The universe was telling you is must be :) Love it. I bet it makes coming home from a work that is filled with crazy shoppers that much better. Merry Christmas.

  6. amazing story, she is so adorable!!
    I can't believe the whole name thing, too freaky!
    I hope she doesn't eat anything of value ;)


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