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 A Home for Daisy 

        Daddy, can we get a puppy?” little Sara asked as her father pushed a shopping cart with a squeaky wheel down the cereal aisle of Shop-o-Rama. 

        Her father paused from looking for the Fantastic Choco-Blasts (the box with the happy, brown pangolin on it) that Sara loved so much. He looked down at her, a smile spreading across his face, and said softly, “Ask your mother.”

 

        It was a good sign. Even eight-year-old Sara knew that. When Daddy said “We’ll see” that really meant “no.” But “Ask your mother” meant she had a chance, and probably a pretty good one, especially since she was wearing the pink skirt that Mommy thought she looked particularly adorable in.  

        Little Sara did know that Daddy had wanted a pet for years. He’d have preferred a cat, but Mommy wouldn’t hear of it, so he’d spent years feeding the squirrels and the birds out on the back deck and that had been the closest he’d come to getting a pet. But he had something of a plan — a dream really. He dreamt of one day — hopefully soon — of having a little girl, and that would one day — hopefully soon — his little girl would ask for a pony or a kitty or a puppy, and Mommy would cave in and they’d have a pet. It’s all coming together perfectly, he thought as he wheeled Sara up close to see the live lobsters in the tank and then whisked her off to pick up a gallon of milk and then to the checkout line.

        Daddy hummed to himself as he buckled Sara into the back seat. They sang “Bingo” and “I have a dog his name is Fido” on the way home. Mommy came out to the garage to help bring in the groceries as Daddy pulled the car up. As he unbuckled Sara from her seat he said, loud enough for Mommy to hear: “Don’t forget to ask Mommy what you asked me in the grocery store.” As Mommy picked Sara up, she asked in Mommy’s ear: “Mommy, can we get a puppy?”

        “What did your father say?” Mommy asked as she looked at Daddy.

 

        “He said to ask Mommy.”

        “Well, OK, let’s see.”

        That wasn’t the same as when Daddy said “We’ll see,” and Sara smiled broadly.

        That evening they started looking through online sites about different dog breeds and Sara went to bed excited. She could hardly sleep even after Mommy found her stuffed animal turtle, Mr. Tibbs, and Daddy read Green Eggs and Ham to her (again). The next morning, Mommy steered them toward Labradoodles or Dalmatians. Then, for a while, Daddy pushed them to get a beagle or a big, fluffy Saint Bernard, but then, for a few days, he’d come home from work and tell Mommy and Sara about the samoyeds and huskies his coworkers had.

        Finally, they found a local rescue shelter where families could adopt dogs that had been abused or abandoned by their owners. Daddy called and made an appointment to drive out Saturday morning. Sara was buzzing with excitement that morning, when the whole family drove out in the spring sunshine, past the horse farms and vineyards, to the little farm. There, they played in a pen with several dogs before Sara picked out a little Chocolate Labrador retriever she named Daisy. Daisy was as brown as chocolate milk and had big, floppy ears. She was a wonderful, playful, happy dog. Daddy smiled and hummed on the way home while Sara, in her car seat, played with Daisy through the holes in the dog carrier. Even Mommy looked happy, though Sara overheard her tell Daddy that he had to clean up after Daisy until Sara was old enough.

        Daddy built a little house for Daisy in the backyard and bought a leash and a collar — a pretty red one with a golden tag engraved with the name “Daisy” on it. Sara played with Daisy in the back yard and they romped around on the couch and the big squishy chairs in the living room. Mommy, Daddy and Sara would take her for walks and take her to play in the dog park. And Daddy would sit on the park bench, content and joyful while he watched Mommy and Sara play with Daisy, and he’d still feed the birds and squirrels.