Seventy-five dollars isn't a lot of money. It's definately not a lot for a dog--especially a Collie/Sheltie mix. That's what the ad said. I couldn't believe it. All my life I had wanted a Collie. Lassie had been my favorite...well, everything, when I was a child. I had seen all of the movies, read the books, watched all of the TV shows. It wasn't just Lassie I adored though, it was the Collie itself. Huge, dark doe eyes. Long, sleek fur of blush, brown and white; delicate limbs, and the full main. To me, they were the most glorious of dogs. Here was my chance to have one. Or as close as I was likely to come.
I immediately called the number. "Hello, are you the people advertising the Collie/Shelties?"
"Yes, but there aren't any left."
"OH, No!" My heart fell to my knees and I couldn't help keep the sorrow from my voice.
"Oh wait. She replied. "Just a second."
I bounced up and down, biting my lips as I waited for the woman to come back to the phone.
"Well, we might have one little girl left. A woman called about her, but she's not sure if she wants her. She would have first pick."
"Oh, I understand, but can I come and look at her please."
"Well, I guess that would be OK..."
The ride, only ten minutes, seemed to take forever. And, I had already had her name picked--just in case.
When we arrived, we first saw the father, a tri-colored collie. He was huge, and beautiful. Regal, he walked like a king around his pups (all claimed) and his mate--letting we intruders know who was boss. The mother, the Collie/Sheltie mix, was lying in the middle of the floor, four of her pups tumbling over and around her as they used Mamma as a slide in their play.
"Where did that girl get off to?" The owner stood, arms akimbo. "Well, there she is. Kneeling, she called, "Come on. Don't be shy." And the little one made her way, tongue and tail wagging to her. "This is her."
She made to bring her to me, but I smiled and asked, "Could you let her down so I can call her?"
"Hun, it's not likely she will come to you." She replied.
"I know." I smiled back to the woman. "It's just..." I shrugged.
Doing as I wanted, she nodded and put the puppy down.
I slid down until I was seated on the floor and watched her play with her siblings and Mother. She was beautiful, happy, and full of fun. Her black tipped ears seemed to have no cartilage as they went this way and that, as she listened to her brothers and sisters, and everything around her, waiting for each new adventure. A stray leaf became a game of chase for all of them. And as to the victor goes the spoils, the winner raced around the room holding aloft her spoils until it crumpled in her mouth. I laughed softly and clapped at her decisive win. As she eyed me, I could have sworn she gave me a small nod of her head as though accepting her due.
After about fifteen minutes of this the pups lay down for a rest. Most lay down near their mother again, but She lay near the sink doors--directly across the room from me. As though I weren't there, she began to lick her paws. In a soft, clear voice I called, "Cassidy, come here girl." She lifted her head and looked at me. I nodded, then called again. "Cassidy, come." She rose up and padded across the floor to me, crawling up my skirt to lie in contentment in my lap. I petted her for a few moments before lifting her, so that I could look directly into her eyes. That's when the magic happened. There was absolute adoration there already. From that moment, she was my dog, and I was her human. I had never had a magical connection like that before with an a dog. Sure, I had loved and connected with them, but not immediately.
I pulled her to me, and felt my heart wretch. The other person still had the first option. I tried to fight my tears as the puppy kissed me on the nose. Lifting my head, I looked at the owner, who was standing beside us, giving me an odd look. "Will you let me know as soon as possible if she's available, please?" I smiled and put the girl down as I rose to my feet.
Writing my phone number down, I began to walk toward the door. My new friend followed, close behind, sitting beside me at the door as if to say, "I'm coming too." I wanted to lean down and swoop her up. Stiffening myself, I stepped out and began to walk up the side walk to the car.
"Chele, wait." I heard my Mom call, but I didn't want to turn around because I was already crying and felt a little silly about it.
"I'll meet you in the car."
"Wait for me, I need you a minute."
I stopped where I was and without turning, waited.
"Here, hold this a minute." She said.
Turning to take what she offered, I held out my hands, only to have them filled with squirming, licking puppy.
I looked up, eyes wide, "Wha?"
She wore a huge grin as she explained, "The lady said the dog was made for you. She began to cry and whimper when you walked out the door."
"Thank you, thank you." I yelled back to the owner, who stood in the door waving. "Oh, thank you!" Lifting Cassidy to my face,I cried in earnest then as I buried kisses into her spicy scented fir.