Photo Friday "Portrait" of an outstanding $40 investment.
It was almost exactly eleven years ago that I walked into the animal shelter thinking of adopting a kitten. I was 25 years old and had just kicked my boyfriend of five years out of our house. Things were awfully quiet when I got home from work every afternoon. So, one afternoon in August of '95 I walked into the shelter and found myself stopping at each cage and petting the various stray dogs. I didn't want a dog, but they were all so overjoyed to see a potential Mommy. I just couldn't walk past them without faking interest. An hour had passed before I stopped at a cage holding two tiny black and tan puppies. One of the puppies jumped at my hand, nipping and whining. The other one attempted to hide behind the water bowl, but knocked it over and scared himself. I laughed and continued on to the cats.
I left the shelter without a kitten that afternoon. I had decided that the decision was entirely too overwhelming for someone as young as myself to make. What was I thinking? Adoption? I wasn't ready for that. I was an only child, living on her own, two thousand miles from my family, working full time. I was selfish and self sufficient and came and went as I pleased. A pet? Pshaw. I think not.
Three hours later I was on my hands and knees in the "get acquainted" room of the animal shelter. Forces beyond my control drove my Mazda back to there and demanded that I spend more time with the black and tan puppies. I threw chew toys and the one frisky puppy grabbed them and growled, initiating play. The second pup sat and stared at me from the far corner of the room. Throwing a toy across the room, the frisky dog bounded off after it. I scooped up his docile brother and felt him lean into me.
I sat on the floor for an eternity and walked out in a daze minutes before the shelter closed with a wide eyed black and tan bundle of nerves cradled in my arms. Looking back on it, maybe it was me that was shaking so hard, but I thought it was him.
I named him Nesta. Bob Marley was one thing that always calmed me down and helped me focus and I thought that passing on his middle name to my nervous pup might have the same effect on him.
Never having owned a dog before I wasn't prepared for the screeching halt of freedom that came with dog ownership.
"Stop on the way home from work to meet you for dinner? Sure, I'd love to...ohh...wait...I can't. No, sorry. I can't. I have a dog now."
It sounded hard to believe, yet there Nesta was every afternoon when I got home. Eager to please and thrilled to have someone to prove it to. Walks with a leash were never necessary. He stayed at my heel and would turn in circles over and over again, as long as that was the way I was going. Even at eight weeks old he rarely had accidents in the house. He never barked to be let inside either. I sensed that he was afraid any wrong move might send him back to that annoying brother of his.
Eleven years have passed. He hasn't let me out of his sight intentionally even once in those eleven years. I've been married for nine years and have two children. We've moved across country so many times, I'm starting to think Nesta knows the route well enough to do the driving. Instead, he sits in the back of the truck. He doesn't look out the window, doesn't notice the endless fields of cows and horses. Nope, his brown eyes stay fixated on the back of my skull for every inch of the highway that runs east to west and back again. Moving is just fine with him, as long as I'm along for the ride.
We probably won't be moving again for four or five years. When we moved in a month ago I realized this might be Nesta's last house. I don't think he cares, as long as I'm here with him.