Our Very Own Dog for a Day

Though they couldn't keep the big golden retriever pup, they were awfully glad he was temporarily a member of the family.

By Joanne Begane, Belle Mead, New Jersey

As appeared in

I stared at the adorable puppy splayed out on the grass by our pool, his coat glowing in the sun. How could I have been so irresponsible? Tonight, when my husband came home from work, we would return this puppy to the shelter.

I’d made a terrible mistake. Earlier, I brought my son Stevie along with me to run some errands in town. We passed a pet adoption booth, and Stevie laid eyes on the big, red golden retriever. My son fell hard.

“Mom, please!” he begged. Before I knew it, I’d signed the adoption papers and was cradling the dog in my arms. When my husband called from work, he wondered if I’d lost my mind.

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“We can’t take on a big commitment right now,” he said.

I’d already explained to Stevie, now happily playing with his two young cousins who were staying with us for the afternoon. Stevie and Bryan, the same age, splashed in the pool, while I settled in the shade with Thomas, still just a baby. Our dog for a day lounged close by.

“Boys, play in the grass till I come back,” I called when I felt Thomas’s wet diaper. I watched them run around the yard, then brought the baby inside to change him.

Ruff! A shrill bark at the window startled me. I looked up in alarm. RUFF! The puppy ran back and forth like a mad dog!

I bolted outside. Stevie stood by the pool, alone. “Bryan!” I yelled. There in the deep end was my nephew, flailing his arms. I dove in and pulled him to the ladder. My nephew was safe.

The baby went down for a nap, and the bigger boys played inside for the rest of the day. We returned the dog to the shelter that evening, as planned, where he didn’t stay long before finding his forever home. But I’d be forever thankful that he was ours, if only for a day.

 

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