And Your Little Dog Too

I did a bad thing. Something I would not recommend. If one of my friends had done this, I would shake my head and laugh at his stupidity. The kind of thing that I use as a sermon illustration of foolishness. The kind of thing that makes Don Draper a clueless clod.

I got a new puppy for my family. Without really consulting my wife.


Vanessa and I are not prone to making individual decisions. We talk through everything. We operate via consensus in our marriage. We are truly egalitarian.

One of us is not really free to make life-altering decisions, like adding a new family member, without the expressed written consent of the other.

Except that, as it turns out, we are actually are free to do it. And I did it.

And it wasn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done.

Here’s how it happened.


I lost my job on September 1. The company I worked for closed. This is not the first time I’ve experienced this. It sucks.

I’ve spent the past two months job hunting, planning, working on projects, keeping myself busy helping Vanessa with her business. I’ve had many conversations about potential job opportunities. There are many hooks in the water. But it seems like week after week has dragged by without significant progress on the job front.

I’ve grown weary. And discouraged. Some might say depressed.

At the same time, Vintage is looking for a new place to meet. This is the single most important thing happening to our church community right now. It feels like our ability to grow and move forward is dependent upon getting into our next permanent home. We’ve had some options, looked at some spaces, and are ready to make a proposal. But getting a meeting scheduled with the owner of our favorite property has taken way longer than I’d anticipated.

The wait has been excruciating. And discouraging.


So, in two major areas of my life, I have been in limbo. I hate limbo. I hate waiting on someone else to make an important decision that affects my life.

You could say that all of this waiting gave me an itchy trigger finger. I felt like I had to pull the trigger on something. I had to do something. I just couldn’t stand the idea of waiting any longer.


For the past couple of weeks, I had been thinking a lot about getting a new dog. It had become obvious to me that our dog Peggy needed a playmate. She has been depressed since her friend Sydney left us in July.

And I think we as a family were ready to start loving a new dog too.

Vanessa and I had once owned a miniature dachshund that held a special place in our hearts. For some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted another.

And so, off to Craigslist I went. Everyday, I checked to see if any dachshunds in our area were available. Being unemployed and all, I didn’t want to pay for one. There were several cute ones, but all had a rehoming fee that I wasn’t willing to pay.

I wanted a free-to-good-home dachshund puppy.


Last Friday, I made a discovery. Here in Arkansas, apparently “dachshund” is too hard of a word to spell correctly. Arkansans using Craigslist to offload unwanted wiener dogs, apparently, prefer to spell it “doxin.” Seriously.

Suddenly, a new world of puppies opened up to me.

I found a free-to-a-good home doxin puppy.


Then, with Vanessa sick in bed, exhausted from her recent craft show, completely unaware of what I was up to, I squired Charleigh off to retrieve our new family member.

I pulled the trigger. I wasn’t going to wait one more minute. I made the decision all on my own without a green light from my wife.



Enter Neville Longbottom.

Exit any moral high ground I might have for the next several months of marital fights.

Vanessa was too sick to fight with me about it. The kids were too over-the-moon about having a puppy to realize that their dad had just done something amazingly stupid. And I was too relieved to have finally made something happen to fully appreciate the depth of my own foolishness.

But Vanessa is full of grace. She accepted the little guy. She named him. She holds him. She babies him. She hogs him, really.

I think she likes him better than me. And maybe with good reason.

Guys, don’t try this at home.


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