Today was the big day. After months of anticipation, we ventured deep into the heart of Pennsylvania to choose our puppy. We didn’t think the choice would be easy. It wasn’t.
It started out easy, however. We knew that we wanted a boy, which immediately eliminated two of the seven pups. Another two were sleeping or trembling in a corner. Eliminated. The pack leader, a real Lothario, had Sophie wrapped around his little paws. But he was rambunctious and barked too much. Eliminated (although as far as Sophie was concerned, he was her absolute favorite pup of all).
Our finalists were the puppy with the green ribbon and the one with the blue ribbon. They were both energetic and curious and cuddly. We played with them. We observed them. We took videos and photos of them. We loved both of them. And before we could say “woof,” our 45 minutes of allotted time were over. The next family was waiting to make its choice.
And in the spirit of complete and total indecision, the girls decided they wanted the puppy with the blue ribbon, my husband leaned blue but didn’t really give a shit and I was in love with the green-ribboned dude. Anyone with half a brain would have seen that result coming from a mile away. But I had been naively optimistic and was confident we’d choose in harmony. Sucker!
The pressure was on. Sophie was pissed off that the crazy puppy she loved was out of the running, but she would reluctantly settle for “Bluey,” as she called him. Chloe also preferred the blue guy because he sported a Harry Potter-like marking on his forehead. I favored the green-ribboned puppy because of his blue eyes (even if they are only temporary), his beautiful chocolate brown face and the brown ticking adorning the rest of his coat.
It was time to decide. So I chose the green puppy. And this is where all the high expectations I had for this day went down the toilet. Sophie looked plain angry. Chloe looked a little bereft. And I felt like the worst f***ing mom ever for choosing the dog I wanted instead of the dog my daughters wanted. And suddenly, what was supposed to be a pretty magical morning wasn’t so magical anymore.
The girls gave me the stink eye for the next hour or so. But my husband and a very dear friend sagely reminded me who the dog’s primary (if not sole) caregiver will be. It’s not going to be the girls. My husband is just going along for the ride. Which leaves moi. Which gave me the right to be the final arbiter.
Fortunately, the girls had recovered from their disappointment by the time we returned home. They’re excited again. But now that we have chosen our puppy, we need to choose a name. Because the dozens of monikers we’ve brainstormed over the past year are apparently no longer up to snuff (ok – many of them were never really up to snuff). Chloe has given herself the Sisyphean task of coming up with a new shortlist (‘short’ being the operative word here) so that in 20 days, when we return to the heart of Pennsylvania to pick up our puppy and bring him home, we’ll be able to officially knight him with his very own personalized dog tag.