Morning ya’ll! I hadn’t actually planned on posting anything today, but I felt compelled. I was creating an online account a few moments ago and one of the security questions made me giggle. They asked, “Name of first pet”. I guess since I’ve decided to tell ya’ll the story of my first pet, I’ll have to pick another question.
Picture it – 1983, a 7 year old MrsTDJ, living in the suburbs on Long Island, NY. I was an only child and had been begging for a pet since I could talk. No matter what was going on, somehow I’d find a way to steer the conversation toward getting a dog.
MamaTDJ – “Finish your oatmeal”
Young MrsTDJ – “I’m full, but a dog would eat it”
DaddyTDJ – “Time for bed princess”
Young MrsTDJ – “I’m scared of the dark, but a dog would make it not scary”
You get the drift. Finally, my parents relented. YAY!! We were gonna get a dog. The day that he came home is etched deeply into my memory. My mother and I were waiting on the front steps and as soon as I saw my father’s silver Nissan Datsun turn down our street, I started jumping up and down. “We’re getting a dog, we’re getting a dog!” My dad had barely pulled the car into the driveway and I could already hear my new friend barking from the backseat. I loved him before I could even take a good look at him. He was the cutest little black and white mutt I’d ever seen.
We ran down the steps and met them at the car. My dad opened the passenger door and my new best friend jumped out and immediately ran over to start licking my hand. I fell to the ground excitedly and my puppy followed me as if we had already talked and agreed upon all the fun games we were going to play.
As my father and mother smiled happily, I was in heaven. I’d known that having a puppy would be great, but not this great. 5 minutes in and I never wanted our play time to end. The obvious next step was to give him a proper name.
DaddyTDJ – “So princess, what are you going to name him?”
Young MrsTDJ – “Um…” shrugs, rubs the puppy’s head before announcing, “I think I’ll call him Jose.”
**cue crickets and confused looks as DaddyTDJ and MamaTDJ don’t know what to make of this**
Where in the world did that come from? I was an only child, living in a predominately black town (about 90% back then), attending a predominately black public elementary school. I was only allowed to watch 2 hrs of tv per week (always Little House on the Prairie and something else equally benign and completely wholesome). We had no Hispanic relatives, neighbors or friends. Who knows? But in typical TDJ family “roll with it”, they just nodded and said, “Ok, Jose, welcome to the family.”
I loved that darn dog for a little over a year. One day after school, Jose and I were playing in my front yard. A flashy red car sped down our block and it caught Jose’s attention. He took off running into the street. I screamed, but he didn’t stop. My mom was only a few steps behind me because she’d heard me scream. Unfortunately, he was struck and killed. Even in all the excitement, I wasn’t silly enough to run into the street after him (hey, that’s a beating, man), so she comforted my cries at the curb. Then, because she was such an awesome mommy, she made it all better.
MommyTDJ – “Aww, it’s gonna be ok. He’s gone to heaven to be with God.”
YoungMrsTDJ – “But I want him here.”
MommyTDJ – “I know you do baby girl. Let’s go inside and have some ice cream.”
Easy come, easy go! I loved Jose, but obviously I loved strawberry ice cream more!