Roosevelt! What I did the rest of that day is more or less a blank. I was completely focused on my husband Edwin getting home from work. I do remember plotting my approach out carefully. Edwin is very generous in his love for me and is quick to give in to what I want as a result. But a dog? Like I said before, life changing. He eventually arrived home and after meeting him happily at the door he headed upstairs to take a shower. The poor guy was tired and grimy but happy as usual and I moved in with my plan. While he was in the shower I stood in the bathroom doorway and asked him if he remembered saying that if we ever moved farther outside the city we would probably get a dog. Yes, he remembered. I asked if he really meant it. Without a second of hesitation…he said no. Roadblock! I plowed ahead anyway. I told Edwin that I was on the computer doing some research today. And I told him what I had found. The words came out in a rush and from the heart. I asked if he would come look at the picture of the dog ( it worked on me, it might work on him as well). Nope – he wanted to rest and watch television. But as we went back downstairs to the couch, I took a detour path that lead past the computer. And despite his earlier refusal, Edwin stood behind me and watched as I started typing. I searched the key words that would take me to the link of that haunting picture. Before I could find and click on that link, I spied another link among several others returned. It shouted with bold capital letters ‘Only HOURS maybe MINUTES left to save Roosevelt!’ Of course I clicked on that link feeling sick. There was an entire page dedicated to Roosevelt. It detailed that the shelter was full. He was next in line for euthanization! Edwin read the title of the link out loud and to my horror started laughing ( he laughs a lot, and I will note here not always appropriately). I remember saying ‘Oh my God it’s not funny! That’s him!’ I quickly found the original link I was searching for with the photograph and clicked on it. And the picture that I had found earlier that day popped up. He still looked miserable. I wish I could recall Edwin’s exact words but it was something like ‘Oh my God you have got to be kidding me, Jill. That is the ugliest dog I have ever seen.’ Yes, I admitted that he looked rough and no I was not kidding.
A successful plan always needs to be followed carefully even if it initially appears to be failing. Gentle persistence is the key. We retired to the couch, turned the television on and started our evening of relaxation together. I have always said that Jo Ann Perry did not raise her girls to be fools. I know Edwin well. A seed had been planted by me and even if he was silent on the subject for now, I knew the idea was traveling around in his brain where he would try to see it from all angles. Sure enough, at the next commercial he asked what we would do with a dog if we wanted to go on vacation or take a weekend trip as we are prone to do. I told him there were hotels that accepted dogs and there were also people who specialized in pet – sitting for reasonable fees. We watched more television. A few commercials later he wanted to know what we would do with a dog when I returned to work. As always the words Return to Work made me feel like projectile vomiting. So I told him truthfully that getting to that point might take a while but I was certain that it would all work itself out in the end. How could I explain to him that I had a very certain feeling – no, I knew – I was meant to have this dog. But bless him, Edwin questioned me with reasonable concerns and did not interrupt my carefully prepared answers. I could tell he was puzzled. And for a good reason. I had just stated almost one month ago to the date that I would never own another pet as long as I lived. I had been pet-less for 18 years, since I had moved to Delaware from West Virginia. I had to leave a dog, a cat and a horse behind. They all depended on me and had formed strong bonds with me. And while I will not be more specific just yet about why leaving my beloved fur family behind was necessary, please trust that if I could have taken them with me, I would have. Even though I knew this to be the truth, it did not keep me from feeling crushing guilt for all of these years. I told myself that I did not deserve another pet. Ever. But on the outside, to others, I would convince them that I found cats and especially dogs odious. They slobbered, licked their balls and then licked you and pooped all over everything. I even managed to convince myself of that. Until today. As the evening was winding down, we switched off the living room lights and turned the television off. Before we proceeded up the stairs to bed, Edwin turned to me and broke the peaceful silence saying with a smile ‘ If you want that dog, go to West Virginia and pick him up.’
I have read that it is easy to be magnanimous in victory. That may be so but I still have a conscience. I knew very well that I had already changed our very comfortable lifestyle by going on leave of absence from the bank six months back. My short – term disability had just run out and I was trying to apply for long – term disability. But psychological wounds are a lot harder to see than physical wounds and I had been denied by what I thought was a very professional and objective insurance company. My doctors completely agreed that I was not ready to return to the stressful atmosphere that I had just left and supported me in appealing the decision. We were living on Edwin’s paycheck alone and although we were still comfortable, here I was thinking about bringing another mouth into the family to feed. The last thing I wanted to do was put more pressure on my husband and make his life miserable. I love him way too much to do that. And I told him that. He smiled and said he was not miserable and adopting one dog was not going make him so. I knew he still had lingering questions but the total reversal in my feelings about dogs – or at least this dog – convinced him to at least trust my instinct. I decided to go to sleep on it and I hoped that poor Roosevelt would be safe for one more night.