A gift from Wal-Mart

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In my position at Southeast Missouri State University, I assist small business owners through entrepreneurial training and by purchasing items for their small businesses. I could make this article into something that touts how wonderful Southeast University is, how wonderful my job here is, or how much I love helping small businesses succeed.

However, this short story is about my dog; my Wal-Mart dog, my mixed-breed, we-don't-know-how-big-she'll-get dog, Mindy. Yes, you read it here first. You can get dogs at Wal-Mart. Well, at least I did on a rather warm, 90 degree day at the end May.

In reference to paragraph one, my position at Southeast requires me to 'go shopping' quite a bit to help small businesses. Yes, I really am working, while I'm shopping, if my boss is reading this. As I bid some entrepreneurs farewell after our shopping excursion, I was approached by a rather dirty, sweaty, smelly, toothless and genuine man standing outside Wal-Mart. He handed me a small puppy, one of the cutest sights I'd ever seen, and said, "Ma'am, can you hold my puppy while I go in and find my wife before she checks out?"

Well, who could turn down such a request? Being the animal lover that I am, I could not, and I secretly had fallen in love with the dog the second I saw her. After 10 minutes in the hot sun, I looked around the entrance to Wal-Mart, poked my head in to view the checkout lanes to see if I could find the man, and then took my panting puppy to my car. Yes, she was MY puppy by this time. I drove off with her in my lap and took an early lunch from work to take her home; to her new home, to meet her two new sisters--my 11 year old Pomeranian and my 9 year old Miniature Pinscher.

I called my boss first to tell him that I was taking an early lunch because of a surprise new obligation from Wal-Mart. He said, "Wow, they are selling at puppies at Wal-Mart these days!?" I replied, "Nope, Wal-Mart is just giving them away!" We laughed, he called me crazy, and said he'd see me after lunch to hear all about it.

I then called my fiancé' who also works at a wonderful job at Southeast University and said, "Don't be surprised when you come home from work today, there's going to be another dog in the house...but I can explain." I waited for the yelling, for the screaming, for the "no way, no how are we taking in another dog" speech.

Instead, he said, "Ok dear, I'm kind of busy right now, we'll talk about it later, we'll figure something out." We had lots of "figuring out" to do. We've never owned a puppy because our other dogs were already adult dogs when we got them. We had no idea how to treat or take care of a puppy. We didn't know what puppies did, or how often they needed to pee, or when to feed them....we were less than ideal puppy parents.

In retrospect, I either stole that fellow's dog, or he scammed me. Either way, I don't regret it. It has been three months since Mindy came home as a 3 lb, blue-eyed little fur-ball. She is now a lanky, fun, loving, sweet, 15-lb girl with dark brown eyes, who loves us as much as we love her. Thank you, Wal-Mart, for giving away puppies.

Oh, on a side note, while driving on campus this week to run an errand, a beautiful, emaciated, long-haired greyhound was crossing Henderson Street alone. I slammed on my breaks, put on my car flashers, and did my best to coax it into my car. It hesitated, looked my way, and I was hopeful. But after a couple of seconds, it did run the other direction. When I told my fiancé' the story later that night, he looked at me inquisitively and asked calmly, "There's not another dog out in the garage is there?"

No there wasn't, but part of me wished there would have been. I guess I can't save them all, I had to tell myself.

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