When my 10-year-old daughter started to make her plea for a dog, I knew I was in for a stubborn brawl. Like an attorney arguing her case, she pitched her arguments: she’d be safer at home after school; she’d learn responsibility; she’d get exercise walking it.
After wearing down my resistance with her compelling courtroom convictions, I agreed; within certain parameters.
I had grown up with german shepherds; big, beautiful beasts with long snouts, long fur, and long tails. Their reputation aligned well with the “safety” argument, but their long fur meant lots of shedding, which I didn’t want to deal with. They’re also bigger than I wanted, so they got crossed off the list.
After doing some research, I landed on a dog I wasn’t familiar with: the boxer.
It met a lot of criteria I was going for: short hair; smaller than shepherds but with a powerful and somewhat threatening look; good, apparently, with kids. I didn’t pay much attention to their overall look.
Once the “go” was given, off we went, responding to “dog seeking new home” Craigslist ads. Eventually we found ourselves talking with a young couple with a new baby; they realized they weren’t ready for both the baby and their 2-year-old boxer. The dog was polite, but bland. They sang his praises and were hoping to find a good home for him. They liked us.
I wasn’t ready to say yes. We bought some time with the owners, saying we wanted to think about it. We’d get back to them. If they found someone else, they told us, we’d miss our chance. I said I understood.
While I hadn’t been won over by the boxer, my daughter had been. As we drove away, her attorney came out, arguing the merits of this particular dog. I rebutted half-heartedly, not entirely sure why I objected to the dog. Not much personality, I claimed. Just the right amount, she replied. I continued to protest against her pleas as we got gas and groceries and ran errands. The afternoon wore on.
Exasperated and worn down, I finally acknowledged that, while the dog was nice enough, he was ugly. His short tail and smashed nose didn’t live up to my image of a dog. I simply didn’t like the dog because of his looks.
My 10-year-old lawyerly daughter saw her opening and went for the jugular.
“So you’re telling me that when I get older, you want me to date a good-looking guy even if he hits me, rather than an ugly guy who is nice to me?”
I think I blanched. I know I found the nearest phone booth and made the call, fingers crossed. We got the dog. And he was one of the most wonderful dogs I’ve ever had.
My daughter, my mentor.
Daily Post-Prompt: Mentor