You know how sometimes you plan something your whole life, and then it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would, but ends up being better than you imagined?
In high school, I leafed through a book of dog breeds, reading the attributes of each one until I found what was the perfect dog for me: a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Big, fast, loyal, quiet, minimal shedding, beautiful, snugly, smart…I decided that someday, I’d find a ridgeback named Ruby, and we would go on many grand adventures together.
When I went to college, I didn’t get a dog because I knew I couldn’t care for Ruby the way she would need me to. Double that in D.C. where I flitted from one dog un-friendly apartment to the next. When we moved to AK, we could have gotten a dog, but I was holding out for a ridgeback, and my husband I both worked too much to give one the kind of attention and exercise she would need.
I eventually decided that we just wouldn’t get a dog any time soon. At least my brother had one, a gorgeous Chesapeake Bay Retriever (in the tradition of my family) named Orso who we all doted on and was very generous in allowing herself to be petted and played with.
Then my husband and I fell in love with the French Bulldog on Modern Family, and as luck would have it, there were two sweet little Frenchies for sale in the paper. After some research, we determined that this was a breed we could actually care for, even if we lived in a condo and didn’t commit to two hours of vigorous exercise a day.
We went to visit (my husband had already picked out his favorite, a black and white little guy) but were taken aback when “our” pup (so roly poly his breeder called him Chubs) refused to move except when his mom showed up and he suddenly turned into a streak of white as he sprinted toward the promise of milk. He was about as different from the majestic ridgeback I’d imagined as he could get.
Today, Chubs goes by Grover (my niece and nephews on my husband’s side are named Jackson, Madison, and Carter – it seemed only fitting to give our puppy a presidential moniker as well), he is still a bit of a glutton (we only allow him to eat dog food, which keeps him from living up to his former name), and he sprints faster that you would ever think a little dog could sprint (even without milk as an incentive).
He is sweet, funny, mostly well-behaved (he loves to steal socks, slippers, and shoes) and is a world-class cuddler. In fact, he’s been snuggled up with me as I write this (probably to make sure I only write good things and overlook the time he barfed in a favorite pair of shoes or the trials of potty training).
Maybe someday I’ll find a Ridgeback named Ruby, but for now, a Frenchie named Grover has my heart.