Along Came Cleo

No one would ever describe me as an animal lover. I like animals in the sense that I don't mind having them around so long as they're not too needy, annoying, loud, or messy. Jack Kraus, the dog we took in because he was pushed on us by a friend, who (despite my solid resistance) decided that we were meant for each other, is none of these. And therefore my ideal as far as the whole pet situation goes. He adores me to the point of obsession, sure. At times, to a creepy and exhausting degree. Pulling my most recently worn clothes from my bedroom to sleep on while I'm away, hiding in my van whenever he senses me heading out, following me wherever I go whenever I go, even during mid night trips to the bathroom where he slumps down on the floor and waits for my return. In fact I'm so use to him being there at my feet that I don't even realize the extent of it until someone brings it to my attention laughing at the absurdity it verges on. And yet who can fault an overly adoring poodle - an orphan with ragged white dreadlocks who was scheduled to be put down two hours before he was rescued at a shelter going out of business, who never begs, is lazy in the best way, and utterly embracing of our whole way of life. He's what made me believe that rescued dogs are the best. There are, aren't they? And made me forever swear off any desire for a purchased pure breed.

And then along came Cleo. Handed to us in an old towel by a Hispanic family on the beach who spoke broken English but kindly obliged when asked if Hayes could pet her. Who would hand her to him and tell us we could keep her asthey had no room for her. That she was four weeks old, and part Chihuahua. In need of a good home. And so it goes. A free puppy on a drizzly beach the day we came to eat burritos on the sand. With the kind of face even I couldn't deny. No matter how much my better judgment said timing wasn't right. And the last thing we needed to add to our lives was another dog. Yet 12 days in, it's hard to imagine it any other way. How she went from a newborn pup on the beach on hunt for a home, to a foster dog we planned to pass on, to a new (permanent) member of our family who sleeps in the nook of my neck every night and is best friend to Jack and cozy late night couch partner to us all.

From what I can tell, she loves it here too. The first girl in the family. One we didn't "need" or plan for, but further proof of one thing I already suspected. That the best pets always end up being the ones that choose us.