It was a sunny day. I was playing basketball when a dog walked up to me. She barked at me — no, behind me. I turned around and saw a man with a knife. I ran. The dog came after me. I ran faster and faster, and the dog caught up with me. Just when I got inside the dog was inside. I always wanted a dog. Maybe I could have this dog?
I asked my mom, and she said, “Yes.” My mom told me there would be pizza.
“Yay,” I said.
Just then, there was a knock. I saw the man with the knife. I said, “Don’t open the door!” My mom was like, “No can do.” She opened the door. The man tried to stab us. That’s when the dog attacked the man, and I grabbed one of my toy swords and hit the man in the head, making him unconscious. And that’s how we got our dog.
All my life I have lived with dogs. When I was six, I decided that I would marry Robbie, our very sweet black and white Sheltie. Although that didn’t work out, it nevertheless established appropriate expectations in me for partnership: loyalty, playfulness, and the ability to lick my cheeks affectionately. Then came a series of other Shelties throughout my childhood, and several other dogs as an adult. My best friend for 15 years was Nadine, or Nadi as I called her, an energetic Husky Shepherd. We did everything together, from long hikes at the Minnehaha dog park where she would run through the woods like the Flash and swim in the river, to mundane trips to the gas station for milk. I was devastated when she died a few years ago.
Since then, my children have been at me to get a dog. But our house is small, and we had a bad experience with another dog we tried to take in, so I have been wary. When you are a single mom, your plate is always full, so you have to be careful about what you add — no matter how much you may want it. But when COVID-19 hit, it seemed like the stars had finally aligned for canine camaraderie. With everyone home for at least a few months, I reasoned, we would be able to give a new dog the attention and training it deserved.
I knew that the area Humane Societies had closed because of the pandemic. I found a few dog rescues through the Petfinder website. The kids and I looked over available dogs and puppies, I sent out a few inquiries, and about a week later we learned about Layla, a young German Shepherd mutt.
I filled out a lengthy pet adoption form and we video-chatted with Layla’s foster mom. We arranged a socially distanced meeting in the PetSmart parking lot and took Layla for a two-week “trial run.” We have a feisty cat, and were not sure how he would react to a dog, so we had to give him time and space. I wouldn’t say he is enthusiastic about the dog, especially because Layla enthusiastically chases him around the house whenever she sees him. The cat is slowly getting used to her.
In the end, Layla has been a wonderful addition to our family. She is rambunctious, cuddly, and flatulent. And, like my first love, she never forgets to lick my cheeks affectionately.
Boisey Corvah (he/him) loves sports, reading, and gaming.
Shannon Gibney (she/her) lives in Powderhorn Park with her two children, Boisey and Marwein, and their dog and cat. There is never a dull moment.
See a related story about “Pandemic Pets” — images of more readers and their new pets