You would have thought, after 45 years of consistently being proven wrong on a nearly daily basis, I would have learned to “never say never.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to that particular phrase, I’m never going to learn to “never say never,” and that’s about the only absolute I can draw from that.
For all my bluster — and all the times I’d been proven wrong over the years, however, there was one thing in which I figured I’d always remain steadfast in my resolve.
We were never getting a dog in the Fong household.
By the time last spring rolled around, my wife and I had been fighting the dog battle for nearly 20 years. She always wanted one. I never did. It’s not necessarily that I didn’t like dogs in and of themselves, but rather the fact owning a dog seemed like an awful lot of work. I mean, in my eyes, there was only room for one slobbering, messy, semi-potty-trained mutt in our house — and I already had laid claim to that spot.
Over the years, however, my wife began building a pro-dog caucus against me, as she had managed to convince both of our children we also needed a dog in our house. Still, though, I had managed to stonewall them at every turn. Then, when I least expected it, they pulled a diversionary tactic.
They appealed to my love of sport.
My daughter came to me last year and asked if she broke the Troy Junior High School record in the pole vault, if we could get another dog. Figuring it would serve as some sort of motivation to get her to vault better — but not quite good enough to break the record — I relented, figuring she would never quite get the record.
In addition to learning to “never say never,” I also would quickly learn never to underestimate the power of a very determined (and very talented) little girl. Right around this time one year ago, my daughter broke the school record and — because I am a man of my word — we soon would be welcoming a puppy into our lives.
At this point, I still didn’t figure it would be much of a problem. When they called to tell me they had found the perfect puppy and would be bringing her home that day from the pet rescue, I remember thinking, “Fine. Their dog. Their feeding and watering responsibility. Their poop patrol. Their getting up in the middle of the night problem. Their. Their. Their.”
A few hours later, they walked through the door holding a tiny little puppy and placed her on my chest, as I had fallen asleep on the couch.
Mine, mine, mine.
It took me roughly three seconds to fall absolutely, completely, totally in love with this little bundle of energy that kept pawing at me and trying to lick my face. They told me her name was Millie, and I knew I was going to love her until the end of time. Three days later, I thought that end had already come when we found out she had parvo virus, which could easily have taken her life.
My little furry friend would spend the next week in the doggie hospital. I would spend the next week crying myself to sleep at night. Even I was a little amazed out how quickly I had fallen so helplessly in love. The good news is she pulled through and is a very healthy, happy little girl.
She’s also my little girl. It’s the family that wanted the dog, but guess who she usually falls asleep with in the evening? Guess who she greets with the most unbridled enthusiasm when we walk in the door? Guess who she always comforts first when he needs it the most?
A few weeks ago, our sweet Princess Millicent Josephine Marie Freckly Belly Rough Tough Wiggle Pup With the Sad Eyes of Stanfield Place (yes, I’m the one who added the extra names) celebrated her first birthday. Yes, there was cake. Yes, there were presents. Yes, we sang happy birthday to her.
Most of it was my idea.
It’s funny how this little creature I promised we’d never have in our house now has me wrapped around her little paw one year later.
Recently, my daughter asked me if I would buy her a car if she ever broke the high school record in the pole vault.
This time I didn’t say anything at all — because I know better than to never say never.
David Fong’s column appears weekly in Miami Valley Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong.