"When you adopt a dog from a shelter do you pick them or do they pick you?" Vivian asked.
"Probably a little of both," I answered.
When I adopted Nola he was one of a litter of pomeranians. He was the first to run over to me and he immediately plopped his puppy body in my lap. A few days later I took him home.
I put him on the passenger's seat, but he decided my lap was where he would reside during this, and all future, car rides. He rested his little head on my knee and didn't budge.
I took him to see my parents that first day. He stayed on my lap the whole visit. I was his.
Every night after work we'd go to a dog park to burn off his puppy energy. His favorite park was the one that had some sort of plumbing issue which left muddy puddles throughout the grass, even in the middle of summer.
He'd run around like a rabbit on speed, then settle in for a nice mud bath. His hind legs stretched out behind him, for maximum filth potential. I gave up trying to stop him, it was a futile effort and the mud made him so damn happy.
I brought towels and wrapped him up on my lap for the ride home. Once there, I'd rinse him off with a hose. Then more running around in my condo like a rabbit on speed.
There is something so special about that first animal you have as an adult. The first one you are 100% responsible for. The one that teaches you how to care for another living being.
Nola passed away 6 months ago today. When he died I picked him up, wrapped him in a towel, and held him on my lap for the ride to the vet. His little head resting on my leg one last time.
A couple months later I went back to his favorite dog park and left a big water bowl there with his name on it. I was delighted to find that, even after a decade, the plumbing was still crap, the puddles still remained.
I miss his crazy, I miss his yippy, I miss his heart.
I'm so lucky he chose me.