Friday . January 24 . 2003 . 4:32pm
dog tale

We got a call at 5:56 this morning from the Dean of Students, to inform Joe that he matched at his first choice ophthalmology residency program.  Woo! High fives all around!  He is both ecstatic at the news and relieved that it is over, whereas I'm just relieved that it's over, since I knew he was going to match at his first choice all along.  I only wish that Pediatrics had an early match.  I have to wait until mid March to find out where I'm going to be training.

So I've been feeling guilty lately that we didn't adopt two puppies at the same time when we got Cooper from the pound.  I know that sounds nuts, since they barely even let us adopt the one dog, but I feel like she needs a playmate, and there are no other dogs her age in the building. 

She's a young puppy, and puppies are very playful. Puppies like to play with other puppies.  Given that we have no other puppies, she then tries to play with us.  I mean, we play with her all the time, but when she gets really excited, her play consisting of jumping all over us, gnawing at our outstretched limbs, and basically getting underfoot every time we try to take  two steps away from her. "Gah!  Mad dog!  Down, Cooper, Bad!"  But it's not her fault.  She just needs someone to take out that doggy-play instinct on.  We should have gotten two puppies, so that they could have played with each other.  We should have gotten Cooper's littermate.


THE STORY OF HOW WE GOT COOPER
(or, How We Totally Scammed the Pound

The day we went to the pound to adopt Cooper, there was some indecision in the ranks about what kind of dog we wanted to get.  I've always been partial to Labradors, given that they're so smart, family- oriented, and easily trained (what with their leading the blind and such).  Joe, however, had grown up with a series of German Shepards, and has always had some sort of instinctive affinity for the breed.


MICHELLE
So what happened to all those German Shepards
you had when you were a kid? 

JOE
Well, one of them got run over by a truck. 
And two of them got stolen.

MICHELLE
Stolen?

JOE
Yeah, they were just hanging out
by the side of the road, and some people
just stopped their cars and took them.

MICHELLE
Who would steal some kid's dog?  There must be some special corner of hell for people like that.

JOE
Oh, and one dog ran away.

MICHELLE
Don't tell our adoption counselor that. 
They'll never let us get a puppy.


Upon walking into the puppy room, Joe instantly gravitated towards a Shepard mix puppy in one of the upper cages.  (We will call this puppy "Adolph" for story purposes.)  Adolph was very cute, as all puppies are, but there's something about German Shepards that makes me think about attack dogs in Nazi movies, with vicious growling hounds straining at their choke chains as the Jews are loaded onto the boxcars.  Also, his fur was very wiry, and I wanted a good pettin' dog. 

Over on the other side of the room, there were a whole mess of Lab mixes, some more attractive than others.  Some were clearly mixed with terrier, others looking kind of strangely misshapen and mottled, like they weren't even dogs, rather dog-cat hybrids or something.  And in one of the cages were two small, black furballs, looking like Black Labs but with slightly smaller ears and wrinkled mouths.  Duh, it was Cooper, and her littermate, who I will call "Cooper's sister."

We took the dogs one by one out to get to know them, first Adolph (who shed tan fur all over my black winter coat), Cooper's sister, and then Cooper herself.  They were all very cute, of course, but I liked the Labs, and Cooper's sister was slightly larger and more aggressive (which could explain the "larger" part, she was probably hogging the food) so I favored The Coop.  Joe, however, was all over little Adolph.


MICHELLE
(Lifting up Cooper)
Look at this puppy!  Isn't she the best? 
Look how soft!  Look at her little tail wagging!

JOE
(Lifting up Adolph)
Yeah, but look at this guy! 
His face!  I love this face!

MICHELLE
(Lifting up Cooper)
Yeah, but...

JOE
(Lifting up Adolph)
Yeah, but...

MICHELLE
Uh-oh.  There seems to be disagreement
as to which dog we should get.

JOE
Not disagreement.  I like your dog. 
But I really, really, REALLY like my dog.

MICHELLE
How are we going to decide?

(Silence)

MICHELLE
(Unconvincingly)
Well, if you really want the Shepard pup...
maybe we should just get him.

JOE
(Unconvincingly)
No, we should get the dog you want.

(Both silently clutching their respective puppies.)

MICHELLE
Except that your dog is a Nazi.

JOE
Well, your dog has a weird face. 

MICHELLE
WHAT'S WEIRD ABOUT HER FACE?

JOE
Her mouth is weird.

MICHELLE
That's because she's cool.

(Silent staring.)

JOE
OK, there's only one way we're going to
be able to settle this.  We'll flip a coin.

MICHELLE
I'd rather us just both agree on what dog we want.

JOE
But we're not going to agree.  And we both like both dogs, we just prefer different ones.  So we'll both be happy either way.  Heads we go with mine, tails we go with yours.

MICHELLE
Because of her cute tail.

JOE
Right.  (Flips coin, catches.)  Oooh, suspense.

(The coin is tails side up.)

MICHELLE
TAILS!

JOE
(Disappointed.)
Oh.

MICHELLE
Wait, I thought you said you'd
be happy with either one.

JOE
Yeah, but...
(lifts up Adolph "Circle of Life" style)

MICHELLE
You really want to get the Shepard?

JOE
Well...I mean...

MICHELLE
Then let's just do it.  We'll get the dog you want, because I don't want you to be disappointed.  Anyway, it was my idea to get the dog, so you should get to choose.

(Puts Cooper back in her cage.  Immediately, three families are swarming all over her.)

MICHELLE
Let's go.  Let's get your fucking dog.

JOE
Wait, do you not want to get the Shepard?

MICHELLE
No, great, the Shepard is great. 
Let's get him and go home.

MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
We can train him to sniff out Anne Frank.

JOE
You really wanted that other dog.

MICHELLE
No, I liked both dogs.  (Trying not to look at Cooper.) Both are excellent dogs.  And you really like this one, so let's get him and go.

MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
Even though I won the fucking coin toss.

JOE
We can't do this.

MICHELLE
Why not? 

JOE
Because you like that little black Lab.

MICHELLE
AND THAT OTHER FAMILY IS GOING TO ADOPT HER!  (Tears.)

JOE
We'll get the black one.

MICHELLE
Really?  I don't want you to be unhappy, though.

JOE
I won't be.  I like both dogs.

MICHELLE
I said that too, but I didn't really mean it.

JOE
But I do.  We'll get the black one.

MICHELLE
Well...twist my arm.

(Puts Adolph back in his cage,
where he is also immediately showered with attention by potential adopters.)

JOE
See, he'll have a good home.

(Lifting Cooper out of her cage.)

MICHELLE
(Whispering to Cooper)
That was a close one.


So that's the story of how we almost didn't get Cooper.  Or, more accurately, how Cooper was almost a different dog, since we had picked out the name before we got the puppy.  (That's why it's a boy's name even though she's a lady dog.)  But now I wish that we had either gotten both Cooper and her sister, or both Cooper and Adolph, so that she could have someone to play with. 

Even choosing between Cooper and her sister it was a close call--the only reason that we ended up deciding on The Coop was because her sister seemed slightly more energetic, slightly more crazy.  Not until two days later did we realize that Cooper, too, was crazy.  She had just been pretending to be good the whole time at the pound, to dupe us into taking her home.


xo
Michelle