He was smaller, cuter than all of us, he made me happy before I even met him, I wanted to squeeze him into a hug. But of course I didn’t, I wouldn’t want to overwhelm something so fragile. He was waiting in a new place for people he’d never met before, and I couldn’t wait to get to him.
I’ve never run faster to the bus, even though I’d rather walk 100 miles home than ride it, I knew something was waiting for me at home, my new (and very first) dog Ollie. It took two weeks to get over the initial shock of actually convincing my parents to get a dog, I was BEYOND ecstatic. And all I could do now was wait anxiously on the shaky bus, listening to all the typical Thursday bus ride background noise.
There were people who complained about school, people who blasted music through speakers, and kids who sat quietly behind the bus driver, I isolated myself towards the middle of the bus, I could hear all the conversation in the back.
“I can’t wait to see my dog,” Said my one year older brother Erik to his friend Teddy.
“I bet you’re just going to neglect it after a week,” interrupted Anthony, a taller 8th grader who sat in the farthest back seat of the bus because he felt entitled.
Everyone glanced at him with his crooked glasses on the bridge of his nose, his presence was the reason for almost every disagreement or fight on bus 6.
“First of all, he is not an it,” added my more sincere brother John.
“First of all,” Anthony repeated mockingly with his high pitched prepubescent voice, somebody should have shut him up by now. I never understood why he had friends that worshipped him when all he did was make fun of and mimic people.
“Dude you should actually shut up and mind your own business,” yelled Teddy, who was bold in everything he said, and just generally didn’t care.
I wish I could’ve been Teddy in the situation, but at the same time I didn’t want to hear my name come out of his stupid mouth with his annoying voice, I definitely wouldn’t miss him next year. Not having to see him would be a relief, at first in the beginning of the year I’d tried to make peace, but now there was no sympathy.
Although I liked to listen to Anthony get what he deserves, there was something else I wanted. So as the bus came to a stop at the bottom of the hill in front of my house, I bounded down the aisle with my brothers pushing anxiously behind me.
“Bye, Thank you,” I said to my bus driver not even giving a glance.
“Bye, you’re welcome,” replied my bus driver Amy in the same monotone voice I heard everyday.
And then I continued on and skipped all three bus steps in one jump, I almost fell, but I couldn’t help it because I couldn’t stop coming up with different perfect scenarios in my head. Reoccuring in my mind was a puppy who’s green and white petfinder page showed would be an “apricot” goldendoodle. As I made the turn away from the bus door and saw the street I would cross, I saw my dad standing there alone, his hands behind his back with the biggest joy filled grin i’ve ever seen. My dad didn’t usually make these kinds of expressions, he was a generally serious man, and I couldn’t remember the last time or reason i’d seen him smile so bright. Although I wish he’d smile more, I took what I could get and continued forward.
And then, the world stopped. I saw a small awkward looking puppy walk out from behind him, his short curly hair and somewhat wispy fur, my eyes were huge. I crossed the street quickly, hearing a single car’s low revving engine as the driver waited for us to pass. There was the recurring thud of our sneakers as they clapped against the road. For a split second I turned around and smiled, reassuring my bus mates as they drove off with their faces pressed against the dirty windows trying to get a peak at what I’d been talking about for weeks. The normal smell of surrounding trees and clean breeze, with the warmth of the heavy summer sun just felt more important in the moment. It was a perfect kind of sight and feeling that I thought I’d only ever see in movies. I had the definition of butterflies in my stomach as I crossed the street feeling weightless despite my heavy backpack.
After bolting across the street I held in my weeks worth of excitement in front of this puppy, it felt like I was beaming with it as I towered over him. He was so small. Everything was a blur, until I touched his head and everything came back to me, this is my dog, I thought. Why is it that I’ve pet many dogs and never been so in awe, maybe it was because he was mine.
I removed my hand from his head and put my fingers in front of his nose while he sniffed and gently touched my fingers with his snout, it was the perfect opportunity to tousle the lustrous and thick hair that sat on his head. He must not have got a good enough whiff of my scent because before I knew it, I was knocked over landing onto my backpack.
Before getting him I was always somewhat afraid of dogs that jumped, I’d had too many bad experiences, but he was different, it was the kind of jump you wanted. It was a sign that this brown puppy was already comfortable in his new family.
The jingle of his collar was too much for me as I erupted in laughter, it was pathetic that I let him knock me down. My family laughed with me, but when they eventually stopped I couldn’t, there was something that was so innocent and naturally funny about him. I got off the ground after realizing my brothers had been trying to grab at him and hold him, with the never ending bickering of their fight to hold Ollie.
“Let me hold him,” John practically screeched.
“Maybe if you stopped whining,” Sharply said Erik, as he turned his arms away.
“Now no one gets to hold him,” said my dad as he took Ollie and placed him back on the ground.
I didn’t focus on their bickering, I focused on the reason for it, while I’ve never really believed in love at first sight, I think it’s different with dogs, I felt the connection.
But soon after, it hit me, I really couldn’t grasp the fact that this dog will be in my life for the next 15 years or so, it couldn’t register in my mind. I tried to imagine him in my future, in the kitchen, the living room, and even in the bathroom.
Then after the contemplation came the worry, how was I going to make sure he slept at the foot of my bed every night? Will I still have time for everything I do? How is he going to change my life? Will my brothers hog him? And most importantly, will he be scared or uncomfortable in our house?
The worrying came so quickly I forgot about the actual dog, I glanced at his big brown eyes and it all melted away. What did I do to be so blessed?
I realized I had been standing on the driveway just casually contemplating my life and wasting time, so I grabbed his blue petco collar decorated with little monsters and began the long trek uphill towards our house.
“I love him so much,” was all I muttered to my mother as I walked through the door while she gathered her belongings in her work clothes.
“Already?” she said, then laughed and patted Ollie’s head who I had picked up.
My mom listed out the chores we had to do while me, my brothers, and dad sat on our L shaped couch. Chores, really? I thought today was a special occasion.
I placed him on the couch, but he was too excited and leaped off and ran towards my brothers who squealed and ran around trying to rile him up. I collapsed back down as similar worries made their way into my head again. Will my schedule change? Am I ready for him? And now as I look back, of course I was, it was only the first two weeks that were hard, but after that it was pure bliss.
I watched him run full speed as I wondered how a puppy with no concept of simple things could so quickly make you reevaluate your entire life and then totally forget everything you were worrying about.
Every day after that I watched him grow more comfortable, and grow in size too. Me and my brothers bonded more every time we talked about his cuteness and perfection while he sat there totally oblivious. Two years later Ollie had taught me and my family a lot, we’ve become closer and learned to put time into people you love instead of worrying about how it will affect your schedule, or if you’ll have enough time. And surprisingly we also came to love him jumping on us, and especially the frightened look on our visitors faces as our harmless dog throws his 60 pound body against them. Dogs have the ability to totally distract you, especially while you’re doing homework, and help you forget when you’re stressed. They bring families closer and I know that firsthand, I’d never expected to actually get a dog but I am beyond grateful that I was so blessed to finally get one.