Sylvia got the call from a neighbor. “Come over here and see this new puppy,” the neighbor said. Obligingly, she grabbed a sweater, shoved her phone into a pocket and headed for the front door. On her way out she called to me asking, “Do you wanna walk over to Ollie’s and see the new puppy?” I thought for a second. “Probably not,” I replied, “but call me once you’re there and let me know what you think.”
We occasionally discussed getting a dog. The sticking point always wound up to be my allergies. What would happen if we took one home and then had to return it. “It wouldn’t be fair to the dog, ” I’d say. Typically, that was the extent of our discussion. We kept open minds, though. There were plenty of hypoallergenic dogs out there.
No more than five minutes passed. My phone rang. It was Sylvia. “You HAVE to come over and see this puppy,” she cooed. “Alright, I’ll be right there,” I sighed.
Before I even made it to the doorstep, a pint-sized, black and white, hairy little creature came running across the front yard to greet me, tail wagging, tongue protruding through smiling, black lips. When it reached my feet, it sniffed and immediately rolled over, belly up, whereupon it began urinating on my pant leg. It was love at first sight.
We adopted him on the spot. A six month old Shih Tzu named Bandit who, even at such a young age, had been shuffled through two different households before winding up in ours.
Bandit’s been with us a few years now. Somewhere during that time Sylvia and I went to hear an all-female, alternative folk band named Roxie Watson. During their set of original songs, they performed one called I Got a Dog. Now, every morning when Bandit greets me, I sing the first couple of lines almost like a daily prayer. We have a symbiotic relationship. Bandit no longer pees on my leg. In return, I don’t sneeze on him.