How she learned to love her dog and understand pets in general.
Growing up, my family didn’t have pets, and I never considered myself much of an animal person. I didn’t dislike animals—I was more or less indifferent—though not indifferent to slobber. That I distinctly did dislike. Ultimately, I just didn’t get it. Pets were nice and all, but at the end of the day, they were just pets.
Unlike me, my husband Matt had grown up with animals, and as long as we had been together, he had talked about getting a dog. Cut to four years into our relationship, when we weren’t yet married, and he had decided that it was a good time. He even knew what kind of dog he wanted—after having met a Boston Terrier and been charmed by its boundless energy and friendliness, he felt he had found a perfect little buddy.
I would’ve preferred to remain petless, but I saw how important having a dog was to Matt, so I was on board so long as my irrefutable rules were never broken. They included: she must always sleep in her crate, and she must never lick me—ever.
We picked out an eight-week old Boston Terrier puppy—complete with floppy ears—at a farm in Pennsylvania, and named her Bernadette. I think Bernie could sense my lifelong indifference to her kind, because she immediately went to work chipping away at my heart.
On the car ride home, she curled up on my lap, used my wrist as a pillow, and fell asleep. Matt maintains that was the moment, an entire 10 minutes after we picked her out, that my resolve started to crumble.
Bernie is now a little over two years old and we’ve lost track of how many nicknames and songs we have for her. There’s always a new funny Bernie story to tell. Plus, not only does she sleep in the bed, but I find myself adjusting to make her more comfortable. And the slobber? All. Over. My. Face. She even served as ring-bearer at our wedding last year. Yes, I’ve become one of those people.
She made our little family whole. And I get it now. I definitely get it.