And They Called It “Puppy Love”…

Where are my manners?

If you keep up with me on Twitter you may have noticed some references to some new dude in my life, named “Payton”, starting back in December.

Everybody, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my household — Payton!

Let's all take a moment and say "Awwww!"

Our story actually goes back to last summer when my aunt kept going on and on about this dog, “Will”, at Animal House Shelter that she was desperately trying to get adopted. And of all the dogs she had mentioned to me, there was just something different about this one. One look at his pictures online and I was hooked.

I went back to Illinois to visit my family for a couple of weeks around my birthday and decided I wanted to go put in some volunteer time at the shelter — and finally get to meet this mutt that had already won me over.

We met. And I was hooked.


The only problem was that I live 1100 miles away and, thanks to some construction on my apartment, I was temporarily homeless and would be crashing with some friends for a while. Oh, and I wasn’t even sure if my landlord would give me the “okay” to ever have a dog. Minor detail.

So as much as I was already smitten, I had also accepted the reality that, by the time I got my stuff together, he would be long adopted. I was sure of it.

Three months passed, and suprisingly, “Will” had not yet found his “forever home”. My aunt had kept me posted, with regular updates and stories of him from each of her visits (she spent time with him every time she was there as a volunteer), and she was getting increasingly concerned that he hadn’t yet found his home. So, as I was getting ready to make another trip back to Illinois for the holidays, I started to give some more thought to the idea of bringing him home with me. The construction was at least finished in my apartment (the rest of the house was another story) and my landlord was usually pretty accommodating to my very rare requests, so I went ahead and asked. And he was all for it!

My flight to Chicago landed at 8:30 am and I was at the shelter with “Will” by 2 pm the same day. It quickly became clear what my priorities would be this trip. By the end of that first visit — 4 hours later — he was happily curled up on my feet and as calm as could be — so calm, in fact, that one of the staff members was slightly worried that he may be sick.

I didn’t take him home immediately. I had another 13 days in my trip and I was trying to organize the logistics of this decision in my head:

  • How am I getting him home to Boston?
  • Where will I be able to stay with him in tow the rest of my trip?
  • What can I adjust in my budget to cover his expenses?
  • Will he be able to adjust to Boston?
  • And lastly — What if they don’t approve my application? (That was possibly the dumbest fear I had — not only did I have my aunt as a reference and my landlord’s okay, I actually graduated from high school with one of the adoption counselors and I had his stamp of approval.)

So I quickly went to work — finding a rental car, canceling my return flight, mapping out the best route back east and tracking down a pet-friendly hotel along the way, shopping for all of the pet necessities (I couldn’t possibly bring him to Boston without a new Bruins rope toy…), and thinking about a new name.

That last one was actually the easiest. He’s a total sweetheart, ridiculously smart, and a great runner — very strong and kind of stealth. It seemed so obvious. Payton.

"I'll just lay here and cuddle for a while..."

Now please note — that’s PAyton. Not PEyton.

Just to prevent any confusion during football season...

"Seriously. How hard is that to remember?"

He’s named after one of the finest running backs Chicago — and football, in general — has ever known. Walter “Sweetness” Payton.

"That's right. This is MY house."

So on December 23, 2011 — the adoption became official. I went back to the shelter on Christmas day to pick him up — figuring it was best that I not expose him to the gaggle of nieces and nephews when he’s fresh out of the shelter.

"Go ahead cats, make my day..."

So we spent some time at my dad’s, made a quick visit to see my aunt, went to the vet and the groomer — and before I knew it, it was time to pack up the rental car and head back to the east coast!

Blue Steel, baby.

So stay tuned — you never know when Payton will make an appearance here!

"Puh-, puh-, puh-please put more pictures up, Mama..."

Leave a comment


  1. First visit to your blog since finding you on Twitter. 🙂
    Great topic too as it seems DOGS have been coming up in every conversation lately…Dogs are wonderful–and you have yourself a CUTIE! So great!
    I love the organic produce from your last post–I would sure love something like that around here…Gonna try to grow my own soon! 😉 ALoha!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Monica! He’s won me (and the rest of my neighborhood, friends, and family) over completely. I already can’t imagine what it would be like without him.

      The organic produce delivery is great — but I’d give it up in a heartbeat to live in paradise! Keep me posted on how your gardening goes 🙂


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