Originally, he was a hermit crab.
Our journey to adding another dog to our family began shortly before Joel’s birthday in October. Joel wanted a hermit crab. He discovered them at the mall, where a kiosk houses hundreds of the creepy crawlers in garish and tackily-painted shells. I thought it would be a low-maintanence pet for him. He’d learn to care for something small and it would be his own. Before committing to a crab, we did a little research. Our findings weren’t encouraging.
Hermit crabs need high temperatures and high humidity to thrive. Colorado isn’t famous for either of those conditions. We don’t want to be cruel to an animal, even one that resembles a spider with a Spongebob-decorated shell home, so we let him down gently. No hermit crab.
He was sad, but not for long. Other animals were suggested. He started small. Hamster? Guinea pig? Rabbit? Cat?
We have a dog. I didn’t relish the idea of having another pup in the house. But we started looking at photos of dogs at local animal shelters and human societies. Some of them caught our attention immediately. We visited several and even placed a hold on one about a month ago, but decided against her. She didn’t seem like The One. Luckily, she was adopted the next day by someone else.
I was the one who was on the fence the most. Some days, I wanted nothing to do with another dog. Our 9yo dog, Junie, was and is a handful of her own.
So when my husband sent a text with a photo of this guy…
…my heart melted like butter on Mercury, like a chocolate bar on the rim of Krakatoa, like ice thrown into fire. I put him on hold without meeting him because we couldn’t make it to the shelter that day. The next day, I met my husband there with Archie and Teddy. The big kids were in school and had no idea what we were up to. We played with the puppy for 45 minutes because we couldn’t stop. So smart! So cuddly! So quiet! So friendly! Sweet disposition and cuteness galore.
That night, we packed up the kids and headed to visit him, with the intention of adopting him. I didn’t tell anyone where we were going, but when we arrived everyone squealed and began bandying around doggie names. I mentioned I wanted something that reflected this time of year. He was a gift to our whole family. I thought of reindeer names, names from songs, and finally, I thought of my favorite holiday movies.
I thought of George Bailey from the Building and Loan. Sure, he was grumpy and put-upon and hated his job and Bedford Falls. But he was good, decent, sacrificial, devoted, humble. Plus: Jimmy Stewart.
Say hello to Georgebailey. The kids thought I was nuts for declaring that as his name, so I told them they could call him George.
But they are calling him Georgebailey.
Georgebailey, I’ll love you ’til the day I die.