Thursday, March 10, 2005

Love at First Sight

It was back in May of 1987 that my family was blessed with another member. In Minnesota, opening fishing weekend always seems to correspond with Mother's Day. My mom enjoyed the weekend to herself while my dad went fishing with Grandpa and Grandma. This particular year, my mom decided it was time to visit family and friends back in Iowa.

I was thrilled to be spending the weekend in Iowa with my family, but more importantly, I was going to be able to see my first friend ever, Amy B. When we had lived in Iowa, Amy lived directly across the street from me. I remember looking out the big picture window in our living room on the second floor of our yellow house and seeing my friend waving to me from her front lawn.

When we visited that particular time, her dog, Muffin, had just had puppies. The puppies were just six weeks old and full of energy. They were so adorable! Cute, little, balls of fur that hopped back and forth in the playpen in her garage and just loved attention. One of Amy's "chores" ended up being a responsibility to exercise the puppies in the yard. She would run back and forth and have them chase her. I was eager to help with the puppies (okay, I just wanted to play with them) and I was slightly disappointed when all the puppies ran after her. Except one. One of the little guys kept following me around, jumping at me and his little puppy claws made a mess of my bare arms.

I fell in love with him. It was time for me to convince Mom to let him come home with us. It didn't take much. She took one look at him and it was love at first sight. How could we not love him? He could fit in the palms of my hands, he had shiny, curly, and pitch black fur. He licked our faces and yipped in excitement when we paid attention to him.

I had a name for him instantly. I was going to name him, "Puppy!" Granted, I was eight years old. Mom and I found a laundry basket for him and we brought him home in her old, orange and brown Ford Pinto (the one that I managed to melt crayons to the back window a couple of years earlier). The entire way home, we kept talking about how we were going to convince Dad to let this little guy stay. I'm sure Mom always knew that Dad would allow him to stay, but I was a gullible 8-year old. We also kept telling the little guy bundled up in the back seat just how cute he was. In fact, he learned the phrase, "He's so cu-uuuu-te!" so well that he answered to it for three years.

When we got home, we snuck the little puppy into our house (full of boxes, we were going to move in a week to a place that actually allowed pets), and waited for Dad to come home. He took one look at the little black ball of fur and pretended for a moment that he was angry about the decision my mom and I made without him. Then he broke into a large grin and said, "Of course he can stay! What's his name?"

Dad didn't think Puppy would last as a name for long. Fate kicked in, and that night I was a typical eight-year old. I was eating a bag of tortilla chips and at bedtime, I didn't remember to put the bag away.

The little puppy kept taking trips back and forth from the couch to the bag of chips on the table. He would climb into the bag, pick up one chip, and then bring it back to the couch, where he nibbled on it daintily until it was gone. Then he went back to get another chip!

The next day, Dad told us that he thought the name of our new puppy should be Taco. And it stuck! We've had Taco for almost 18 years now. He's a member of our family and we have many, many happy memories of him. He's a little more than a small ball of fur and he may not have the same amount of energy to rip up my arms in play fighting anymore, but he's still that adorable little puppy we brought home. I love him very much. I have since I first laid eyes on him.