From Idgie's Baby Book

Idgie came home under the funniest circumstances. I had been wanting a dog for years, and lately I had been torturing myself with surreptitious visits to the Humane Society and the “pet orphans” outside of the dog treat bakery, and looking at ads for puppies in the paper. I had not met a dog that felt like “the one,” and I was trying desperately to argue myself out of getting one anyway.

Then during a terrible day at work, I decided to leave early in the afternoon. I found myself heading over to the Humane Society. I lingered in the front area a while played with the puppies, a big litter of hound mixes, and then went in the back to look at the adult dogs.

At some point I went back to the puppy area and a new litter was brought in. I spotted Idgie’s cute face bounding toward me. She was mostly white with big brown spots on her back like a saddle, and her eyes were coal dark. She had a cheeky, happy expression and was the friendliest, biggest puppy of the litter. I played with her and her littermates for a long time, sitting on that ledge of their pen, stuck between between desire and responsibility.

Three of them were solid black, two were black and white merle, the runt was white with big black spots and a hurt leg (they whisked her away when they realized), and then there was Idgie. The info card said Lab/Dalmation mix, but I immediately thought there was no Dalmation in these pups. I held several of Idgie’s brothers and sisters, and Idgie for a long time, and then tore myself away and went out to the car to check voicemail.

In the car, I got up some determination, and went back in to see her. I held her and carried her around as the volunteers tried to convince me to get her, but still I was scared. A dog was a big responsibility and especially with work, I didn’t want to get in over my head.

Then a camera crew and reporter from Fox News randomly appeared with all their lights and equipment. They interviewed the director of the Humane Society about a recent amendment to the animal cruelty law that made extreme cases of cruelty a felony. It seemed like they left, but then they came back in and interviewed me while I was cradling Idgie! I was so nervous and am sure I said something dumb but I was excited to be on TV with her. I hoped that no-one from work saw me playing hooky at the Humane Society. (As it turned out, Sarah called and said, “Jere, I just saw you on television. You looked great! Did you get a dog?”)

It was as if our fate together had been sealed. After the news crew left and the hubbub died down, I knew I was going to adopt Idgie. A man named Manuel took care of the paperwork and asked if he could be adopted too. I followed my heart. I have never been sorry.

Posted on March 23, 2000 and filed under book.