Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who Knew Pandora Owned a Store?

By Mark W. Danielson

A funny thing happened on the way to the phone store. You see, our upstairs phone had died a slow, agonizing death, so one day we decided to look for a replacement. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the phone market, and much has changed since then. Apparently, so many people have canceled their phone service in lieu of their cell phones that few choices remain for a simple cordless replacement. Even more aggravating is that most of these replacements come with extra phones – as in up to six – which is enough to qualify as a litter. The two Target stores we checked had reasonable displays, but there were few phones in stock. Best Buy had fewer still, and Ultimate Electronics was dismal, so we decided to try Radio Shack. While Radio Shack had a couple of good prospects, we needed more information, but after waiting ten minutes for either sales rep to finish with their customers, or at least acknowledge our presence, we decided to visit nearby Pandora’s Pet Store (not the real name) and then return to Radio Shack for the phone.

Last September, I lost my faithful pooch, Lucy, and I’m still missing her. My companion of fourteen years was eighteen months old when I rescued her from a young couple who couldn’t keep her. When she was spayed, they discovered she had heartworm. Surviving that and several other problems kept her at my side as my muse. I was hesitant to get another dog because we intend to move back to Texas. Granted, I probably used this as an excuse to keep from getting hurt, but since the economy took its spin and will likely delay our move, I had been warming up to the idea of adopting a new pooch.

So there we stood inside Pandora’s Pet Store, watching a confident Siamese roam free while pups played in their pens. We later learned that this cat was never adopted as a kitten, but he had such a great disposition, the store owners kept him there as a mascot. Now, he happily plays with the puppies, keeps the mice away, and never hurts a thing, so keeping him there was a good decision.

Anyway, a few puppies caught our eye, and we even took two sisters, call them Bonkers and Placid, into a playpen to see how they interacted. It soon became clear that while they had a good time playing with each other, they could care less about playing with us. We were about to leave when we spotted a pup who was all by himself. As it turns out, his sister left a couple of days ago, and his brother was adopted that morning. I had never imagined taking a liking to a little puff ball, but something about him caught my eye. In fact, it was his eyes -- his bright little black ones -- that made us take him into the play area. Unlike the nutzo twins of a different breed, he was calm, loved to be held, and yet was confident enough to play by himself with a toy. He was also hypo-allergenic, which was a requirement, and being small is a plus if he’s in any kind of vehicle. Since it was near closing time, we handed him back saying we’d think about it and left By now, the phone store had closed, which meant we would have to keep dragging the downstairs portable upstairs with us. But phone decisions are much easier than puppy ones because puppies can affect your lives in unimaginable ways.

Lyne and I pondered this little pooch all night, each of us wondering if this was really a good time for us to be getting another dog. For that matter, was this little powder puff the right pet for us? In fact, did he even qualify as a dog? Then there was the moral issue over whether it is right for us to buy a dog from a pet store when there are so many dogs in shelters? Indeed, it was a difficult decision, and to make it worse, I had to leave that night for a week long trip out of LA. The next day, Lyne and I spoke on the phone while with him in the playpen. Right then, that crazy Siamese decided it was time to play, dropping in on Lyne and the dog. The cat and dog wrestled each other for ten minutes while we were talking and then the cat left as if nothing ever happened. Seeing this interaction made it clear that the dog had a winning personality and we decided to bring him home. (See photo below.) We named him Maxx for the protagonist in my new Maxx Watts detective series, figuring he would be a good muse. I suspect that will be the case.

Maxx has turned out to be a truly perfect pup. He doesn’t whine, rarely barks, loves people, plays on his own, and is clearly intelligent. We couldn’t be happier. Of course, some will criticize me for not adopting from a shelter. Others will claim I’ve supported a puppy mills, even though Maxx didn’t come from one. But while I adamantly oppose puppy mills and encourage shelter adoptions, Maxx still needed a home. You can’t look at him and not smile, and it’s comforting seeing how much joy he brings. I’m not sure whether it’s a coincidence that he was born on Christmas Day, or whether we were destined to meet, but I am grateful that he is with us. He can never replace Lucy, but I’m sure that she approves. As for the phone? Well, we gave up the stores and found one on line that will work. Of course, it comes with an extra, but as with puppies, sometimes compromises work out for the best.


Anonymous said...

Maxx is adorable! Good for you. I can't imagine why you hesitated even for a second. (-:

And I hope he brings good luck to your new series.

Pat Browning

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks, Pat. He's the greatest little rascal we could have ever imagined. Even better, the new phone works:)

Jean Henry Mead said...

Maxx is the perfect puppy and I'm sure he'll be the perfect companion and muse. How you could have left him overnight is beyond me. :)

Mark W. Danielson said...

As if Maxx wasn't cute enough, he went bonkers in today's Denver blizzard. The first time he went out, he didn't know what to think, but later, to see him play in the snow on the covered deck -- well, life doesn't get better than that:) I agree with both of you -- it's hard to imagine why we hesitated.

Beth Terrell said...

Oh, Mark. He's adorable. And just the right size to play with His Lordship of Eternal Cuteness, should you ever get to Nashville.

Chester Campbell said...

Since I'm not a dog person, it was the phone story that caught my eye. We recently went through the new phone ordeal. We found a Uniden at Office Depot that fit the bill. It came with two phones and was expandable to five. We now have four. One in my office, one by Sarah's recliner, one in Justin's bedroom, and one in the kitchen. But much of the time, somebody has moved the one that should be nearby when it rings.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Chester, the only problem with phones is they ring:) Nothing like waking up to a wrong number. No, wait-- waking up to an emergency is far worse.