I Blame the Pandas

Late Saturday morning Clayton and I were lounging lazily on the couch watching Animal Planet. We became very entrenched in a show about giant pandas. It revolved around two pandas who had a whole host of volunteers monitoring them twenty-fours a day to answer the classic question: will they or won’t they. While I was watching, I couldn’t help but remember my New Year’s resolution to start volunteering at the Humane Society. (OK, it wasn’t so much a resolution as a thought that I had while coming up with resolutions and was too afraid to write down knowing that I probably wouldn’t follow through with it.) So I went to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s website to look into volunteer opportunities. After a few minutes of searching, I succumbed to the tempting link that’s been in my peripheral vision the whole time — “adoptable pets.” What harm could there be in looking at some pictures of cute, homeless dogs? I started scrolling through the photos and cooing over every single one, forcing Clayton to look at them, too. It started out fairly harmless. And then we get near the bottom of the page, both of us looking now. There he was. Keegan was their name for him. I knew these people must be professionals in the way they caught this puppy in his absolute most adorable pose with the neediest little eyes looking straight out of the computer screen into our weak souls. We’d found our favorite. There wasn’t much information listed for him, only that he would be available in the Mobil Adoption Center on February 21. Interesting, we thought. Today is February 21. One quick glance at each other and I was clicking away to find out what the Mobil Adoption Center was and what the best way to stalk it would be. And it just so happens the MAC was parked, at that very moment, at the new mall ten minutes from our apartment. After a few stuttered half questions, we were changed and in the car. We hadn’t exactly decided why we were going to look for the MAC. Maybe we were just going to see what it was all about, maybe we were hoping to play with Keegan before they packed him back in the trailer, or maybe, just maybe, we were going to do something a bit more spontaneous.

We saw the tent several feet away, but it wasn’t until we got closer that we saw a woman wearing the purple volunteer shirt holding a small, tan puppy with its head draped over her shoulder. We had only seen his picture for a few seconds, but we knew it was Keegan. We went directly to the volunteer and asked if the precious pooch in her arms was, in fact, the puppy we’d already silently claimed as ours. “This is Keegan,” she said.

With knots in my stomach, a lump in my throat and not one single thing appropriate for a dog (much less an 8-week old puppy) in our apartment, we walked away from that tent the proud new parents of a 6 pound hound/retriever mix. An hour later, we were the proud new parents of Bryson Noa. Thirty-two hours later we are the proud, stunned, tired, terrified parents of a feisty yet sweet-natured puppy. We have no idea what we just got ourselves into.

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