Dateland: Puppy Vortex


This has been a terrible winter. First there was the Polar Vortex. Initially, I felt it fitting revenge for our attempts to kill off the polar bears with whatever type of atmosphere-choking gas (carbon monoxide? dioxide? I can never remember) we’re spewing from our SUVs and pig farms.

But when the PV continued to blast into April (!), I began to grow resentful. Especially after it froze my water pipes twice and made everyone on the entire continent grumpy.

And just as the PV began to retreat, one of my dogs died and, then, my dad died a week later.

It’s hard to put a positive spin on any of this, even for an optimist like me. But in the depths of this cold madness, something adorable happened.

It all started late at night—a couple days after my dog died and a few days before my dad died. I was self-medicating with a bottle of Barolo and watching YouTube videos of puppies doing what puppies do best—rolling around like drunken bowling balls and squeaking. I happened upon a video of a sleepy French bulldog puppy heroically trying to keep its eyes open before falling asleep face-first into a bowl of food.

Immediately, I knew it would be the best idea ever to get a French bulldog puppy. (Yes, I was drunk.) So, I promptly found a breeder online and sent in a deposit. And, then, just like a puppy, I fell asleep face-first into a bowl of food.

The next morning, I completely forgot about my puppy commitment and went about the grim business of tending to my dad’s failing health. A few days later, I was stunned to receive an email inviting me to pick up the puppy.

The email explained that since the puppy was from an Amish breeder, the communication was being sent by a “technology emissary” and I was not to respond to it. Instead, I was commanded to drive to Amish country to pick up the pup.

I did a lot of stupid, impulsive things while my dad was dying. I bought a boat. I contacted an old girlfriend through Facebook. I binged on brain-leaching reality TV. And I drank too much wine (which explains everything listed above). Now that his transition is complete, I’m mopping up the consequences.

The day after my dad died, I wearily drove to the Amish farm fully prepared to explain the situation and renege on the puppy. I was greeted by a stern Amish man and his weirdly silent wife, who refused to make eye contact. The man explained that this was the last of the litter and it had to go to make room for a new batch. They were clearly operating some type of Old World puppy mill.

I feared the surplus pup would be served for Easter dinner if I didn’t rescue it. (This also served as rationalization for getting a purebred instead of a mutt from a shelter. This was a rescue dog! I was rescuing it from the Amish!)

She was released from her austere cell looking like a cross between a pot-bellied pig and a bunny, happily romping to me with no clue of how close she came to being served in a stroganoff. I scooped her up and took her to my car. As I did the sun appeared from behind the steely clouds. Since she’s been with me, the daffodils have bloomed and the PV has returned to the North Pole.

I’ll return to my lesbian nonsense in future columns. But after this harsh winter, I thought we could all use a reminder of how an unexpected blast of ridiculous charm can chase away the clouds and make you remember why life is fun.


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