I Bought Our First House so Shelley Could Get a Dog

Marriage sets the stage for great stories that bring about great laughter. I love when Shelley and I laugh together about the silly day-to-day things. But even more fun are the stories that make it “ok” for us to laugh at each other. If you can’t take being laughed at from time to time, you probably shouldn’t get married.

I have given Shelley plenty of ammo for laughter and it started early in our marriage.

From the very beginning of our relationship Shelley wanted a dog. A big dog. One she could hug and snuggle. She wanted one so much that when we were out on dates we would go the bookstore and just look at dog books. She would smile and laugh and “pet” the dogs in the books. We, and I will include myself here, were set on getting two labs. One yellow and one black whom we would name Pete and Otis. Otis has never happened.

During the first 2 years of our marriage we lived in apartments so we didn’t have a dog. Then, in the fall of 2001 we decided it was time to get serious about acquiring man’s best friend so we bought a house. We bought a house so Shelley could get her dog.

Enter, Sleepy Pete Hunt, the Yellow Lab. We brought him home at 8 weeks old. Shelley had her dog.

Pete’s first day home. 8 weeks old and 8lbs.

During his first year he gained 90 lbs. Now Shelley had her big dog.

Pete at 1 yr old getting his hugs.

What we didn’t see coming was a move from Little Rock to Boston. We would be living in an apartment in the city. I was certain we would never find a place that would take us and our 98lb. dog, Pete. I mean, Shelley’s dog.

So, I convinced Shelley that we needed to find a new home for Pete and I had the perfect place in mind. I called my brother in Atlanta, explained the situation, and he didn’t hesitate to say yes. My plan was coming together nicely. Pete would have a new home with another dog, two kids, my sister in-law to love on him (she is an extreme dog lover) and we would still get to see Pete a couple of times a year. In the words of Hannibal Smith from The A team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

One thing that I greatly underestimated was how attached I had become to “Shelley’s dog.” As we said goodbye to Pete to drive home, I cried. Not just a few tears but the real thing. Then off and on for 10 hours on the drive home, I cried.

Surely I will be fine in a day or so…..not so much.

I hated not having “Shelley’s dog” around. I missed Pete.

So what does it look like for a 33 year old man to miss his dog? I mean his wife’s dog….

Well, when I would get home from work I would walk in the back yard and stare at the spot where Pete used to lay. I wouldn’t touch it because I wanted his imprint in the ground to be preserved. I carried around a picture of Pete and would set it up on my computer at work. Then at night I would cry while talking about how I missed the sound of his feet shuffling on the hardwood floors. Then I would cry myself to sleep. I know what you are thinking, “are you a girl?” “It’s just a dog”. I know. I was saying the same things to myself.

At first Shelley was sympathetic. She cried too and don’t ever let her tell you otherwise! But by the third night of all of this she was done. As I was crying that night, she says, “I am sorry you’re having a hard time, but I’m going to sleep.” She was not laughing.

I was now officially all alone in my misery. Just me and my picture of Pete.

On Wednesday, my full proof plan to give “Shelley’s dog” away took a new turn. I decided to go back and get him. So, I called my brother and sheepishly asked, “Are your kids so attached to Pete that it is too late for me to come and get him back?” That’s right. Not only did I give my wife’s dog away, I was now about to take him out of the life of a 2 year old and 5 year old child.

Now, one week after we had driven 10 hours to Atlanta to give Pete away I was now driving my sick, pregnant wife back to Atlanta to bring “her dog” home. When we arrived at my brother’s house I was so glad to see “Shelley’s dog.” And he was glad to see us. I have never before nor since seen a 100lb lab jump so high do a complete 360! My sister-in-law, well, we didn’t talk much that weekend.

I took Pete home and we ended up having no trouble finding an apartment in Boston.

It didn’t take much time after all of this that Shelley began laughing. She had every right. What could I do?

Fast forward to today and Pete is still hanging around. He doesn’t jump so high any more. He smells bad. He barks a lot (He is actually barking right now). He basically adds no value to the world….I am glad he is Shelley’s dog.

Sleepy Pete today.

Not much time goes by without this story making its way into conversation. Shelley laughs at me, other people laugh at me, and I try to take it like a man who acted like a girl with his wife’s dog. I completely accept the fact that I earned the right to be laughed at by my wife.

Enjoy the laughter that your marriage creates.

Oh, today is Pete’s birthday. Happy 13th Pete. Thanks for the laugh.

Happy Birthday Pete.


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