Puppy Love

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”
Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

As I’ve briefly mentioned in quite a few of my previous posts, I have a Golden Retriever named Daisy.  She’s going to be two on the last day of February.
I bought her in early May of 2013, about a week before my birthday.  Admittedly, I rushed into it a little bit.  When I get an idea into my head, I have a very hard time convincing myself to slow down, wait or not do it.  The fact I have no self-control is also why I’m now having to diet, but that’s been discussed plenty in other posts.
Anyway, my then-best friend decided he wanted a dog.  He isn’t very organised, so I’d often be the one to help him out when he got his latest big idea.  I spent hours looking for options to suit him, and even longer looking through “puppies for sale” ads, my heart melting with every picture that came with them.  Like most of his big ideas, he changed his mind.  As quickly as the idea came, it went.  I should have seen it coming (I guess subconsciously I probably did) but I was annoyed.  All that research for nothing.  I couldn’t get those little furry faces out of my mind.  I’d grown up with dogs, but had moved out of home a year before, and I missed the cuddly company.  I lived in a first-floor apartment, so it wasn’t by choice I didn’t have my own.  It just wasn’t feasible.

The days dragged on and my mind kept going back to those ads I saw.  Finally, I decided I couldn’t ignore them any more.  My lease was coming up and I knew I’d be moving (my housemate had to move out due to changing jobs and I couldn’t afford to live there alone), so I decided if I saw an ad go up, I’d bite the bullet and go for it.  I hadn’t completely made up my mind between a Goldie or a Lab, so I also left that up to fate.

Now that I’d set my mind to getting a puppy, I couldn’t think of anything else.  I was constantly on websites that listed ads, even when I was working.  I was on the shop floor when I stumbled upon an ad that had only gone up a few hours earlier, advertising golden retriever puppies.  This was happening faster than I’d anticipated (it had taken months for mum to find our first dog all those years ago, though looking back, it’s because she’s the opposite of me, and meticulously plans everything) but I also knew that retriever puppies were snapped up extremely quickly.  I called the number on the ad straight away, and was surprised to find out that they were the next suburb over from work.  They were keen to sell the puppies ASAP (I could tell that over the phone) so I agreed to go to the address after work and check out the furbabies.

I told myself that there was no pressure to buy, even if they were keen to sell.  I don’t know why I bothered though.  The second I saw the chubby, fluffy babies, I knew I had to have one.  I specified I wanted a girl (I’d grown up with female dogs so I thought it was safest to stay with what I knew) and they showed me two sisters.  The old man who was there was nice enough, but didn’t seem hugely interested.  I guess his mentality was that if I wasn’t going to buy one, someone else gladly would.  I asked what the differences in personality were between the sisters, and he shrugged and said nothing.  Obviously, I didn’t believe that but maybe he just couldn’t tell them apart.  They looked like the spitting image of each other.  He gave me one to hold while the other toddled around my feet.  The second he put the little girl in my arms, I knew I had to have her.  There was no way I could say goodbye to her.

He wanted me to take her on the spot, but everything had happened so quickly that I told him that wasn’t possible.  I was happy to put a deposit down but I would have to come back on the weekend after I’d bought a bed and collar and lead and food bowl and food for her.  I had none of that.  Once he knew I was serious, he didn’t mind holding onto her for the next five days.  I was grateful for that.  I didn’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t willing to.

The next five days dragged on for so long.  I stocked up on all the dog things I could get my hands on.  I still wasn’t sure of my short-term plan for her.  I lived in an apartment, I worked full time.  Still, I’d make it work.  I had to.  My original temporary plan was to buy a big puppy pen, leave her in it during the day, come home on my lunch break to let her out, put her back in, go back to work for the last few hours, then let her out when I got home.  Not ideal, I knew that even at the time, but I only lived five minutes away from where I worked so as a short-term solution I thought it would work.  I bought the biggest puppy pen I could find so she’d have room to move around in, in preparation for this plan.

The day finally came when I could go and pick her up.  I was so excited.  I bought my friend with me so I had someone to hold her on the car ride home.  When I arrived, the old man greeted me again, letting me inside and leading me to my new furbaby.  He gave me a bag of dog biscuits and a book on puppy rearing.  I handed over almost $1000, then we headed off.  We took her back to my apartment where I’d already covered the floor with blankets in case of accidents.  The puppy toddled around, sniffing.  I wanted to cuddle her and play with her; she wanted to nap.  She’d already had a big adventure, and decided finding a little nook to squeeze into was safest so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick her up again.  Smart dog.

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After I let her rest for awhile, I wanted to show her off.  I took her to my work first.  The car ride must have given her a tummy ache, because the second I bought her into the backroom, she starting making the “I’m gonna be sick” noises, and I got her to the sink just in time.  Poor puppy, it had been a big morning.  Everyone at work fussed her over.  After that, I took her to my parents’ place.  I’d been careful to keep all the pictures off social media as I hadn’t told them yet.  I knew they’d be mad either way, but I thought surprising them might help.

I rocked up on their doorstep, the puppy tucked away safely in my arms.  Mum went to tell me off, but just couldn’t do it.  She was just as enamored with her as I was.  The puppy set off to explore the next new place.  Mum’s dogs didn’t know how to take her.  One of them has always hated dogs so promptly got put outside, while the other watched on from a careful distance.  It had been a long time since she’d been around a puppy, but she’d always been gentle so we knew she’d come around to the visitor.

After the initial shock wore off, mum asked what I planned to do with the puppy while I was still in the apartment.  When I explained my temporarily (less than ideal) solution, she promptly said that wasn’t going to happen, and she’d have to stay here while I was at work.  I was pretty happy with that, even though it was 30 mins away.  At least the puppy would have company all day, and she’d get toilet trained early.  I wasn’t sure how the grumpy dog would like the new housemate, but bad luck to her.

That night, I took her over to my nan’s.  I loved showing her off while she was still little enough to carry.  I knew this phase wouldn’t last long.  The puppy was completely worn out, and promptly fell asleep again.  It was then I managed to get this awesome photo of just how tiny she was.  Her paw was the same size as her stuffed elephants.  Within a couple of months, the same toy was dwarfed by her.

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The first few days were spent going back and forth between my apartment and mum’s place.  The puppy wasn’t eating much, which we were concerned about, but eventually she came around once she began to feel settled at mum’s.  She was so playful, constantly carrying toys around in her mouth (or at least, trying her best to) and she loved treats.

While I worked, mum taught her how to sit (she’d learnt how to by the time she was twelve weeks old!) and was on the way to being toilet trained.  She did have a cheeky habit of peeing on the porch though – to her, outside was outside, and it was hard to fault the logic.

While all this was going on, I was looking for a new place to live.  We finally found a few we liked, and set out to apply for them.  We thought it might be tough to land one with a puppy, but the first one we applied for we got, which was great!  Within a couple of weeks, I’d packed up and moved into the new place, eager to have my puppy with me.

Since then, I haven’t looked back.  While I may have rushed into it, I’m glad I did.  I love the company she offers (especially now I live alone), I love how smart she is, I love that she’s often the reason I get off the couch and exercise.  She rescues me from moths that get into the house and from birds in the backyard (she loves chasing them).  Her favourite place is the local dog park where she gets to meet new friends.  She also loves going back to her first home (my parents’ place).  At some point, I’m going to get her a friend, but not until my house is built.  I’d like to say I won’t rush into the next one, but I can’t make the promise.  At least I’ve thought about it for awhile.  I’m in two minds between getting another retriever, or getting something smaller.  I love Goldies but sometimes it’s tough walking her (she’s really strong and stubborn when she wants to be), but I’m worried if I get something smaller, that Daisy might get carried away playing and hurt her.  Decisions.  I have awhile to think about it, so I have plenty of time to think it through.

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Draco’s Perspective

Today’s prompt, and many more, can be found here. Rewrite a book scene from a different character’s perspective.

I chose to rewrite the scene in the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) when Harry and Draco first met in Madam Malkin’s shop in Diagon Alley before they started at Hogwarts.  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Draco as although he is definitely a little shit, the book puts him in a horrible light all the time.  The original scene is below:

One wild cart ride later they stood blinking in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Harry didn’t know where to run first now that he had a bag full of money. He didn’t have to know how many Galleons there were to a pound to know that he was holding more money than he’d had in his whole life — more money than even Dudley had ever had.
“Might as well get yer uniform,” said Hagrid, nodding toward Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. “Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts.” He did still look a bit sick, so Harry entered Madam Malkin’s shop alone, feeling nervous.
Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when Harry started to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes. Madam Malkin stood Harry on a stool next to him, slipped a long robe over his head, and began to pin it to the right length.
“Hello,” said the boy, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said Harry.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.
“Have you got your own broom?” the boy went on.
“No,” said Harry.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No,” said Harry, feeling more stupid by the minute.
“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” said Harry, wishing he could say something a bit more interesting.
“I say, look at that man!” said the boy suddenly, nodding toward the front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn’t come in.
“That’s Hagrid,” said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn’t. “He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said the boy, “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” said Harry coldly.
“Do you?” said the boy, with a slight sneer. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” said Harry shortly. He didn’t feel much like going into the matter with this boy.
“Oh, sorry,” said the other, not sounding sorry at all. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
“I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What’s your surname, anyway?”
But before Harry could answer, Madam Malkin said, “That’s you done, my dear,” and Harry, not sorry for an excuse to stop talking to the boy, hopped down from the footstool.
“Well, I’ll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose,” said the drawling boy.

[Excerpt From: J. K. Rowling. “Harry Potter 1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” iBooks.]

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This is my version, from Draco’s view:

Draco was standing awkwardly on a small stool, a witch fussing over his measurements and getting him to try on different robes.  He’d been there a long time; he knew the witch was nervous after the talk his father had given her earlier.  It had been out of earshot, but the boy knew exactly what had been said.  “Make sure these robes fit perfectly or else,” was basically how it would have gone.  His father was very passionate about the image he and his family displayed; it went hand-in-hand with being one of the most well-known wizarding families in the country.
Draco shifted his weight from foot to foot, getting increasingly impatient.  Madam Malkin was walking around the shop, fixing up displays, occasionally saying offhanded things to the witch next to him like “remind me to order in more Hufflepuff patches” and “don’t forget to allow room for growth when you measure!”.  She seemed to be doing it out of habit and with no real conviction behind it.  It sounded like she was just trying to fill in the silence.
Suddenly, the front door opened and a boy around Draco’s age entered.  He was pale and skinny, with cheap glasses perched on his nose.  He looked nervous.  Madam Malkin looked relieved for the distraction and hurried towards him, smiling from ear to ear.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when the boy opened his mouth to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
The boy looked around, his eyes landing on Draco.  Madam Malkin lead him to the stool to his right.  When he didn’t stand up on it, she gestured for him to do so.  He looked around nervously, then did as he was asked.  Before he had a chance to say anything, she pulled a robe over his head and grabbed her measuring tape, which began floating around him in the same way a tape was doing to Draco.
“Hello,” Draco started, glad for a way to break the monotony, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said the boy.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” Draco explained. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
He was waiting to see the boy’s reaction, to gauge whether he recognised the trademark Malfoy blonde hair.  Everyone seemed to know him if they were pureblood.  It had always been that way.  The boy was too nervous to give anything away, much to Draco’s annoyance. “Have you got your own broom?” he asked.
“No,” said the boy, once again not giving anything away.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” the boy said.  Draco thought he saw a flicker of confusion across his face, but maybe it was still just nerves.  Surely anyone headed to Hogwarts would know about Quiddich.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No.”
Draco was growing very tired of the boy, and began to assume he was one of those filthy mudbloods who got sent a letter out of nowhere.  How else could the boy’s nerves and confusion be explained?  Despite this, Draco kept talking, knowing the boy was his only source of entertainment until this was over.  “Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” the boy murmured in agreement.
Suddenly, something caught Draco’s eye from the shop window.  He whirled around.  A giant black mass was blocking out almost all the natural light.  It took his eyes a few moments to realize the mass was actually a huge, heavy-set man in an even bigger cloak.  He was holding two ice cream cones, though they looked tiny in his colossal grasp.  “I say, look at that man!” The man began waving at the boy and pointing to the treats.
“That’s Hagrid.  He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said Draco, surprised the boy knew of anything magic at all.  “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” the boy frowned at Draco.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” the boy’s face darkened.
“Do you?” Draco sneered.  Who was this kid?  Why did he think a servant who lived in a hut is brilliant?  He’d never heard anyone describe Hagrid as that, or anything nice at all really. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” the boy muttered, trying to turn away but finding it difficult with the oversized robe over his shoulders.
“Oh, sorry,” Draco said flatly, deciding it was time to ask the question that had been dancing on his lips the whole time; the only really important question his family had to anyone they met. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
Draco was surprised, but relieved.  His father wouldn’t take it well if he’d found out he’d been talking to a mudblood.  He still didn’t really like the boy, but he felt a lot more comfortable with him now.  “I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine.  I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families.”  Draco stopped.  As the boy was moving, he thought he saw something on his forehead.  But no, surely it couldn’t be.  “What’s your surname, anyway?”
“That’s you done, my dear,” Madam Malkin interrupted, and helped the boy off the stool.  Before Draco could ask anything else, the boy hurried out of the store, leaving with Hagrid.  He went to ask Madam Malkin who the boy was, but didn’t get the chance as his father glided back into the shop, his long, flowing hair following behind.  As his father began berating the witch for taking so long, the thoughts of the strange boy faded from Draco’s mind.

Let me know what you think 🙂

-JD