Weekly feature by: Sarah Frances Moran
We started off the day with bellies full on eggs, potatoes, beans and homemade tortillas. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday so outside was our destination. You decided that riding our bicycles should be first on our agenda so we sped off down Wellington Road ready to greet the wind with our faces.
We only got five houses down when we noticed our neighbor’s Robert and Paul had stopped at the old brick house and were leaned over the fence where the “beware of dog” sign hung. We were naturally curious and we stopped. As we plopped our squeaky kickstands down we heard them. Squealing and fussing, small yaps coming from the fence line. We knew it was puppies. We ran over and the old lady that lived there waved to us and asked, “you kids want a puppy?”
My god did we want a puppy. We’d been asking mom for years.
She was sitting there in her lawn chair and beneath her a small horde of pups. She explained that big Old Red, the neighborhood scoundrel, had jumped the fence and got her pitbull pregnant. Now she had these eight puppies to get rid of. I turned to you and pleaded, “go ask Mom, you’re the baby she’ll have a harder time telling you no.” You didn’t need much convincing and took off down the road, your short little legs pounding on the petals with excitement.
I immersed myself in the puppies and began fantasizing of taking one home, what we’d name it, what we’d feed it, walking it and cuddling it.
Not long after, you came walking back up not with Momma but with Roy, our cousin that lived behind us. We adored Roy. He was a young adult, wise as far as we could tell and we looked up to him.
He approached me and the puppies. “Let’s pick a puppy.”
“What about Mom?” I worried.
“She won’t say no once you have it. They’re too cute.”
Reluctantly I looked at the eight pups. You wanted a small female and I was set on a large boy. As we disagreed Roy began grabbing each puppy and inspecting them like an expert; pulling at their ears, looking at their teeth, scruffing them at the neck.
You and I were still contemplating when Roy said, “this one!” He was holding up one of the biggest males by the scruff of the neck. It was black with white on his chest. Its black coat had a faint tinge of red that shone when the sun hit him. He was mostly like his momma but also a bit like Old Red. He just hung there in Roy’s large hand, tail wagging and looking at us. He never whimpered or worried over being held up in the air.
Roy said, “this one here is tough,” and so the three of us walked home to confront Momma with this raggedy illegitimate puppy and we called him Patton, a name befitting our tough, new best friend.