We (my girlfriend and I) have had our puppy, Mr. Eko, for a little over a year. We found him at the Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue when he was about 10 weeks old. Once in a while, we’d go to that location to see the dogs up for adoption just to play with the idea of having another one. Usually the kennels are full of old, abandoned dogs in their last moments of life or unfit for family settings. Sometimes the dogs were too small, too ugly, or too dangerous. Each dog has a card of information next to its kennel that tells its age and breed and where it came from. It also informs how the dog performed on behavior tests and whether it would be good for kids, or if it behaves well with other dogs.
On that day, Tiffany and I were on our way to the gym, and the Humane Society just so happens to be on the way. To successfully keep from having to do any physical activity and do something way more productive, like look at “cute puppies,” Tiffany asked if we could stop at the kennels. Then, she gave me the pouty face where she sticks out her bottom lip, and that pretty much gets me to do just about anything. I thought we wouldn’t adopt any of the dogs anyway based on our previous experience of seeing scruffy, depressed dogs from a Sarah McLachlan commercial. I really just wanted to stop in, look at the old alley dogs, leave and get to the gym so I could pump iron and eventually Van Damme people in their faces.
We walked down the line, kennels to our left, kennels to our right, all the dogs barking at us. That one was too old. That one was too small. That one was too ugly. That one was too dangerous. That one would give us fleas. Then we saw “Buddy,” a little two month old, black Labrador Retriever mix. It was rare to see a puppy. They’re always the first ones to get adopted because everyone wants a puppy. If I was ever going to get a dog, I was going to get a Labrador. And even though “Buddy” was a tad bit older than I wanted for a puppy, he was still a puppy. His info card said he was brought in from another shelter that was too crowded. It said he was already neutered, had his shots and was chipped. Ready to go. We didn’t have to worry about whether he was going to be good with kids or other dogs because we could train him on those things.
I was still a little hesitant about getting him. I just wasn’t mentally prepared to get a dog that day. I had the gym I was thinking about. Pumping Iron. Getting Ripped. Schwarzeneggering people in their stomachs. But, as we watched him curled up and sleeping on his little mat in the corner of his kennel, he woke, yawned, stood up on shaky little legs and stretched. Then he peed on his blanket, walked through his water dish and proceeded to bark at us. That’s when we knew, he was the dog for us.
We got to meet “Buddy” outside in a gated off area to get a better look at him. Other than being too mouthy (biting) and hyper, he was already sitting when we told him. A good sign. Then we had to get permission from the homeowner, Tiffany’s mom. She came over from work to meet him and couldn’t say no. Then, we had to bring our other dogs to meet him. They have dog owners do this so that they won’t end up bringing the adoptee back a week later because the other dogs hate the new one. This method of a “meet and greet” with the dogs isn’t exactly that great. Our other dogs, a Flat Coat Retriever/Spaniel mix and a Corgi/Shepherd mix, meet other dogs for a few moments at the dog parks all the time. It’s completely different if that dog comes home with them. So they were interested in “Buddy” for a moment and then were kind of indifferent. After we brought him home, they didn’t like him too much. They’re fine with him now, but that’s just because he’s bigger than them.
While we were busy getting permission, getting the other dogs’ approval and filling out paperwork, there was a Mexican family with three little fat kids who wanted “Buddy” too. Since we got to him first, we had dibs on him, but if our household permission didn’t go through, then they’d get him. Fortunately, Tiffany’s mom approved, and those little fat kids looked so sad. I felt really bad about it, actually. I was apprehensive about getting a dog, and these little kids wanted him so badly. It turned out better in the long run I think. Tiffany and I have provided the discipline of training a dog needs.
Enough with this “Buddy” name. We hated calling him that and had to change his name as soon as we came up with something better.
Possible Pet Names:
- Dark Knight
Then, it occurred to us, to name him after someone from “Lost”, which was/is our favorite show.
- Smoke Monster
We finally settled on our favorite short-lived character: Mr. Eko! I still call him Monster as a nickname. He lives up to it, too, mainly because of his size and his ability to indiscriminately eat anything.
So, there you have it. Mr. Eko is a great dog and I’m glad Tiffany got me to make the detour to the Humane Society that day. It has been a great year of watching him grow, training him and taking care of him. He puts a smile on my face every day.