The poem Buyer Beware was inspired in part by the day my family and I adopted our little pup Happy. That morning we had left our home with a long list of things to do and supplies that we needed to get for various projects. Because it was a Sunday morning and the most stores opened late we decided to make our first stop Home Depot since it was already open. Then from there we would head over to Joannes to look at the patterns that were about to go on sale, before going grocery shopping. Only our plans were turned upside down when my Father, forgetting for a moment our plans and that it was Sunday, pulled into the Joanne strip mall first.
And that one decision changed not only our whole day, but our lives. Because next to the Joannes was Petco, and that morning they were having one of their national pet adoption days. Much to my Mother’s dismay, my sister immediately jumped out of the vehicle and rushed to look. Her warning that we were not going to get a dog falling on deft ears. Knowing that my Father and I were certain to join my sister, my Mother went her own way hoping to shut the door to any temptation we might fall victim to.
When I arrived my sister was looking at a lovely beige beagle who was contentedly chewing a bone. But my eye was caught by this small bundle of fur hiding in the back of his cage and wearing the perfect face for the before portion of an antidepressant commercial. My heart was moved as I looked at the lonely form cowering in the back, to sad to even lift up its little head.
Drawn to this pathetic form, I put my hand near the cage and after a moment the sad form inside slowly rose and tentatively sniffed my fingers, before drawing closer to the cage in hopes that I might stroke his hair. As I tried my best to stroke his fur, my eyes met his, and that was it. I knew I had to have this little pup they called Harry. I immediately brought my Father and sister’s attention to Harry’s cage and it was not long before my Father had been won by those emotional eyes. Even though he knew what my Mother had said about not getting a dog, he could not help but ask them to get Harry out so he could hold him.
Once in my Father’s arms Harry’s expression changed. The sad look began to fade as hope filled his heart. He knew that my Father and I were like butter in his hands, and my sister, still preferring the golden beagle, was not far behind. But there was one major obstacle, my Mother. She had been animate that we were not going to get a dog, but our hearts were melted and we had to try. So we called my Mother on the phone and asked her to come and take a look.
“I’m coming, but I am not going to get a dog.” she insisted. By the time she arrived Harry was wearing a smile of hope. She tried not to look at him, but I do not think that she was very successful. And in a rush to escape, and while I no longer remember the exact words she said, my Father and I knew that even though it sounded like a no, it was her way of saying you can if you want.
Our hearts were elated as we told the animal shelter that we wanted the now broadly smiling Harry. As we drove home, my Mother tried to retain her tough mannerism that she did not want a dog and she was not going to do this or that. But we knew, with one little look her heart had been melted by the little pup we now called Happy. Her outward show of firmness lasted for a few days, but bit by bit her armor was chipped away.
As I looked back upon that fateful day when we planned to get everything but a dog, and instead got nothing but a dog, I was inspired by the power of those precious eyes to melt even the most stubborn of hearts. My Mother was confident as she walked over to begrudgingly take a look that she would not give in. She was so certain that her heart would not melt, and with one look her resolve melted. Despite her best effort to resist the adorable smile and lively tail wag won the day.
It is from that story that I drew my inspiration for Buyer Beware. With its admonition not to look into my eyes or gaze upon waggling tail, because if you do, your resolve will break, and my captive you shall forever be.