It’s an August evening in 2014 when my parents ask my brother and me if we want to go for ice cream. I’m 12 years old at the time and always ready for ice cream. My younger brother, who is 9 years old, shares the same sentiment.
We roll the windows down on the drive over and let the humid air course through the backseat. This night, more than any other, reminds me of summer.
We pull into the strip mall that houses our favorite ice cream parlor. Normally, my parents park close by, so we can sit in the open trunk if there are no seats available. This time, they don’t. I don’t ask why.
I don’t even ask when they don’t walk toward the ice cream parlor, instead opting for the shop three doors down. It’s not until my brain registers the sign that says “Puppies” out front that I finally break my silence. All my questions come out at once.
“Aren’t we getting ice cream? What are we doing here? Are those puppies?...What do you mean we’re getting a dog?”
Getting a dog has always been my brother's and I’s dream.
My dad had two dogs when he met my mom, and they were constant fixtures in my life until I was about 5 years old. They both passed away in quick succession. I can still remember laying down next to the two 15-pound Lhasa Apsos, who seemed as large as full-grown German Shepherds when I was a toddler.
Since they died, my family had put off getting another dog. They never said no, but something always came up. It was never the right time. Eventually, my brother and I just stopped asking.
Now, it was finally happening. I practically floated into the pet shop, where dozens of young puppies were playing in pens.
The salesperson greeted us and gave us some friendly advice before leaving us to browse. My dad pointed out all the big dogs, while my mom advocated for a small Yorkshire Terrier. My family also had to consider my brother’s allergy to dog hair, which is why we opted for a pet shop with hypoallergenic options instead of a shelter.
Eventually, we settled on a medium-sized dog, big enough to play with my dad while still being small enough for my mom.
We soon spotted a soft, beige Wheaten Terrier. The salesperson noted she was the runt of the litter, tiny compared to her siblings. She jumped on the edge of the fence and stared up at us with big brown eyes. We all instantly fell in love.
We got into a pen with her, and she was so energetic and happy. She loved kids and loved to play. We knew she was the perfect pet for us.
In a surprisingly quick amount of time, we had completed the paperwork and were taking the newest member of the family, Trinity, out to the car. From there, we went right to the pet store and picked out a leash, collar, tag, bed, food and a collection of new toys. I can still recall Trinity curled up in her new bed in a shopping cart, sleeping as my parents discussed whether we should get her a pink collar.
Eight years of chewed shoes and linoleum floor tiles later, Trinity is an invaluable part of the family.
She is the family comedian, keeping us entertained by making weird sounds in her sleep, giving us dirty looks when we say something rude and sneaking up on the furniture when she’s not supposed to.
She’s the family protector, barking at the mailman, the plumber, the electrician and anyone else who may pose a threat, although she’s much more interested in playing with them than being a guard dog.
She’s also the family therapist, offering cuddles and kisses after a hard day at work or school.
More than anything else, she’s the family dog, and we are so lucky to have her in our lives. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we had just gone to get ice cream on that fateful night in August.