Fifteen years ago this December, my family drove approximately two hours to the middle-of-nowhere Illinois. My sister and I were eight and ten, equally giddy in the back seat, fighting over who would get to hold our new puppy on the way back home.
About a year before this road trip, we had to put our first dog down from old age. He was a rescue named Mac who bit me twice on the face. Granted, I was asking for it both times, but the doctor didn’t quite agree. So, Mac went to stay at my grandparents’ house and lived the good life. He grew old while exploring their immaculate garden and napping atop colorful couch pillows.
After the appropriate mourning period, it was time for a new puppy we could actually keep in our home. Dad called the breeder ahead of time and learned there were three West Highland Terrier puppies remaining, including the runt of the litter. Evidently no one wanted him (cue tug on the heartstrings) and naturally, my father decided we only had one option: we were getting two puppies.
But we children were not informed of this decision. We believed we were faced with an impossible task: picking just one dog when presented with several. We were torn between two of the puppies, brothers who seemed attached not only to us but also to each other. Who were we to separate that bond?
And then, in a moment of perceived spontaneity, Dad looked at us and said, “Let’s just get both of them!” My ten-year-old logic reasoned this decision was made to prevent my sister and I from fighting over the puppy in the car (I’m still almost certain that had something to do with it). But regardless, going home with two puppies was the best of surprises.
We discussed names the whole drive as the boys slept on polka dot towels in our laps. Mom loved the names Yahtzee and Bingo, but Dad was set on naming one of them Scout. (An embarrassing amount of time later, I realized that it was so he—an Eagle Scout—could say “Good boy, Scout” on a regular basis… . Insert eye roll here.)
Yahtzee and Scout have since ruled the house. They receive “flying turkey” every day at lunch (extra lunch meat thrown on the floor) and they bark defiantly whenever we bring home Chick-Fil-A (you get them their own nuggets one time and they start to expect things). They are objectively adorable, known affectionately by our four-year-old neighbor as the “bestie westies.” During winter, they sport red and blue coats that match their collars. And they are most certainly the slowest walkers of all dog-kind.
But they are the best alarm clocks, and always sensitive to our tears. They wag their whole bodies when we come through the door from an errand (or nowadays, a long walk, because quarantine). They have the most handsome faces and curly hair on their tails. Now that they’re getting older, they sometimes get stuck on the third stair step. They can’t always hear us calling their names.
But for now, out the front door and into the world every morning and every night, goes one dog, two dogs, the red dog and the blue dog.
Olivia graduated from Calvin in May 2018 with a double major in business and writing. She now works as an editor in Nashville, Tennessee and is eating her way through the restaurants of her new town. She enjoys weekend trips with friends, petting other people’s dogs, and drinking coffee like a Gilmore Girl.