I don’t really live by many mottos, but one that I’ve found that seems to work in my favor is the old adage “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
More than four years ago, I kinda, sorta just showed up with a dog.
Moving out on the farm, it gets pretty quiet in the country. Since we had lived in town for so long, I also justified that no childhood would be complete without a canine.
So I was doing it for the kid. Kinda.
In all honesty, I started my search for a large Newfoundland type. You know, the one that would guard the house and the livestock. This dog would be perfectly fine living outside in one of the barns all year round with heat in the winters.
Instead, four years ago, I found a stocky, short black and white mutt on the county’s animal shelter’s website. He looked like a Snoopy dog. For a few days I kept looking at his photo and debating whether I should take on dog ownership. Finally, my boss Melody, who owns two dogs, loaded me up in her car and took me down to the shelter to check this dog out in person.
The shelter was loud. All of the dogs were barking so much, including Shorty. I knew I didn’t want a yappy dog that barked. Yet, Melody pushed me to get the dog out of kennel No. 9 and take it outside to see how he interacted away from other dogs.
He fetched the tennis ball. He sat quietly and waited for me to throw the ball again. He didn’t bark at all. He didn’t jump and he quietly laid down for belly rubs.
Melody observed how he interacted and could tell by his disposition that he was a good fit. “Get him,” she told me. And so I did.
I wrote the check and loaded the dog up in the car and slightly panicked what my landlord father would say when he saw the new dog.
He wasn’t pleased. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to.
Oh my how things have changed over the last four years.
This dog has never spent a night outdoors. Instead, Shorty sleeps each night on the left-hand corner of whatever bed he finds most comfortable.
I also spend more on his bi-monthly grooming than I do on my own head of hair. I probably shed just as much as he does.
My dad has since warmed up to Shorty — in fact, they are inseparable. He’s now a regular at both my house and at my parent’s house. I have to drop him off in the mornings like a toddler at day care.
Just the other day, my dad asked what my schedule looked like for the following day.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why he cared about my work life, so I just rattled off the checklist of things I had to do.
“So Shorty will be here around 10 a.m. then?”
This dog goes with him almost everywhere: the lumber yard, the feed store, the implement store, the feed salesman’s home. If Shorty isn’t with him, people tend to ask what’s wrong.
He’s pretty popular.
The dog, not my dad.
Over the course of four years, my dad has decided my dog has many talents. My dad has determined my dog can tell time. For example, Shorty will go along to supervise the latest field tile project. Shorty will watch from the truck and listen to WLW. Then at 3:15 p.m., Shorty will jump out of the truck to retrieve my dad to load up him to head back to the house to welcome Evan home from school.
My dog can tell time.
Here in the newsroom, sometimes we break up the depressing news cycle by visiting the Miami County Animal Shelter’s website to cheer ourselves up. They have a talented photographer Donna Meade who takes the most wonderful photos of the shelter’s dogs and cats. In fact, I’ve toyed with adopting a cat or two solely on the fact she makes them look so adorable. For the record, I don’t even like cats, but she makes them look so darn cute.
This time of the year, many dogs are turned into the shelters. That Christmas puppy no longer is as cute, the training was too much and these unfortunate animals are dumped off for others to care for them.
So this spring, take a chance and check out these animals that will love you unconditionally for rescuing them.
I don’t know who rescued who, but I’m glad I took a chance on Shorty on May 11, 2012. Happy Rescue Day Shorty!
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Her favorite part of the day is seeing her dad and her dog riding in the pickup truck together.