She was a stupid girl. It was 1989 and she was starting her Junior year of college. She was done with three semesters in a dorm and one really bad semester in the sorority house, and now, finally, she was moving into an apartment of her own. Freedom and independence at last! Her own apartment! Of course, she had a roommate, but they got along great, this was going to be FUN.
Stupid Girl was feeling the independence. She had already tackled a lot of responsibility in her life, and she was ready for this. People called her “mature for her age.” She was taking care of herself now (well, with funding from her parents), and she thought, “wouldn’t it be great to get a puppy?” She had grown up with pets. What could go wrong?
The first Sunday after moving in with her new roommate in their new apartment, Stupid Girl went to the convenience store around the corner and picked up a Sunday newspaper. “FREE PETS.” There were at least a dozen ads. She skimmed them, and her eye was drawn to one, “FREE PUPPIES. Six weeks old. Half Lab/Half Shepherd. Must go today.” She hopped in her car and headed right over to the listed location. She didn’t think about what that meant. She didn’t ask what “must go today” meant. She didn’t question anything. . . she wanted a puppy, and these were FREE. . . right at her price point.
And boy, were they cute! When she arrived a whole batch of fluffy littles ran from the backyard and down the driveway to meet her. They were muddy, but oh! the puppy breath. She scooped up the runt and cuddled him. She decided that she now believed in love at first sight, because this was definitely true love! Once she picked up that furry little bundle, she didn’t want to put him down, so she didn’t. The transaction was quick and painless. She didn’t ask any questions, and the people giving the puppy away didn’t offer any information. Stupid Girl just decided she wanted him, so she took him.
He was cute. There’s no denying that. Stupid Girl’s roommate was instantly enamored as well. Suddenly, Stupid Girl’s puppy became “our puppy,” and the two stupid girls cuddled and played with him all day and into the night. That night, he cuddled into bed with Stupid Girl, and she fell asleep to the wonderful scent of puppy breath in her face.
The next morning, she woke up, and the puppy had jumped down, or fell off of, the bed. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and looked around for him. She found him curled up inside one of her shoes. . . wedged into it. . . he was a perfect fit, and so she named him Little Shoe. Little Shoe was small and fuzzy and adorable. So adorable that the puddle and pile on the floor didn’t really bother Stupid Girl. She would train him later. Right now he was too cute to discipline. How could anyone be angry at such a little cutie-pie?
Little Shoe grew. Stupid Girl hadn’t asked to see the puppy’s parents, so she wasn’t really sure how big he might get. And although she had grown up with pets, she had never really cared for one by herself. Stupid Girl didn’t know that puppies needed to be trained and socialized. She didn’t know that they needed vaccinations and veterinary visits even if they don’t seem sick. She didn’t know that they need a LOT of exercise. And discipline.
Little Shoe had a lot in common with Stupid Girl’s roommate. They both loved leather. Unfortunately RoomMate loved to wear it and Little Shoe loved to eat it. RoomMate began to hate Little Shoe. She demanded that Stupid Girl get rid of That Stupid Mutt. Stupid Girl loved Little Shoe though. She really did. She was just a Stupid Girl and didn’t know what to do. So she locked Little Shoe in her room when she wasn’t at home so that he couldn’t eat RoomMate’s shoes.
Poor Shoe. (They had dropped the “Little” as it no longer applied.) Shoe was growing up. He weighed in around 45-50 pounds and didn’t seem to be quite done growing. He spent his days in Stupid Girl’s room, but he was getting bored and lonely hanging out all by himself all day every day. He wanted desperately to be outside, but Stupid Girl lived in an apartment with no yard . . . but it did have a tree. Shoe needed fresh air and sunshine. Besides, he was starting to chew a hole through her bedroom door. And when he wasn’t confined to the bedroom, he would dart out the front door each time he had the opportunity. And when he darted, he REALLY darted. Stupid Girl at least knew to put an id tag on him. When he got away from her, sometimes Stupid Girl would get a call from someone who had found him miles and miles away. She would drive across town to retrieve him. She really did love this dog.
But living in the bedroom of an apartment wasn’t working out well for Shoe. Stupid Girl bought Shoe a sturdy collar and a tie out cable. She tied Shoe to the tree. She bought him a nice dog house. She put a big bucket of water and a bowl of food by the tree. She left for the day. And this went on. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. . . and Shoe lived tied to the tree anytime Stupid Girl had to leave him.
Shoe was sad. Shoe was alone. It rained sometimes and he didn’t like the dog house so he sat in the rain. Most days he knocked his water bucket over. A lot of days fire ants got into his food. The days were long, and Shoe was bored. He would walk around the tree for exercise, but his cable would wind around the tree until he was completely wound up, and his head could only move a few inches from the tree. Sometimes the fire ants got on him and bit him, but he couldn’t move away from them. Most of the day he barked. And barked. And barked. And some days he howled.
Stupid Girl didn’t realize how sad Shoe was. After all, she was a stupid girl. When she came home each evening, she brought Shoe inside. They cuddled on the couch while she relaxed or studied. She shared her dinner with him. A lot of times they would go for walks. They went to the park where Shoe met other dogs and chased the ducks. They sat outside on the patios of restaurants and hung out in the afternoons. They went for car rides and stopped at Whataburger for French fries and chocolate shakes. When Stupid Girl was with him, Shoe was happy. Life was good. They loved each other.
But not everyone loved Shoe. Stupid Girl had to hide from her neighbors now. They were tired of the pathetic and noisy dog tied to the tree. Stupid Girl had a boyfriend, and he was tired of helping her find Shoe when he got out and ran away. Shoe got out a few times and was picked up by the dog catcher. Each time Stupid Girl picked him up at the pound, the fine got higher. On the third time, she didn’t have enough money to get him out, so she and her boyfriend climbed a fence and sprung him out of doggy jail. No one but Stupid Girl really liked Shoe much at all. Remember, Stupid Girl didn’t know she needed to train him, discipline him, and socialize him while he was still a puppy. Now Shoe was a very big dog with no manners. He jumped on people to greet them. He was no longer cute and adorable. He was just very mutt-like.
The Fall semester ended, and then the Spring semester ended, and then the first Summer semester ended, and now Shoe was almost a year old. Stupid Girl planned to spend time at home during the second Summer semester, so it was time for Shoe to meet Stupid Girl’s parents.
Stupid Girl’s parents liked animals, so they liked Shoe. But they didn’t raise Stupid Girl to be so stupid, so they didn’t approve of her Stupid Girl ways. Didn’t she know she wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a dog? She was just now learning to be responsible for herself. She was not in a good place in her life to try to care for another creature. And why hasn’t he been house trained? And why hasn’t he been to a vet? And why is our daughter being so stupid, when we know that she is actually smart? Stupid Girl’s parents were baffled.
Shoe was baffled too. He wasn’t allowed in the house now because he wasn’t house trained and he jumped on people and chewed on furniture. Stupid Girl’s family had a very big back yard, but not big enough for Shoe. He learned to climb the fences. He enjoyed going across the street to bark at the neighbor’s hunting dogs in their kennels. The neighbor was nice the first few times, but then he got tired of Shoe too, and told Stupid Girl’s parents that if That Dog came into his yard again, he would shoot him. Stupid Girl’s parents reinforced the fence and added an electric wire around it. Shoe turned his boredom in other directions. He ripped the screen door off the house and chewed it to pieces. He ran tracks around the fence. He re-landscaped the yard and created mud hollows to wallow in. He chased the family cat. Then, one day, he killed the family cat.
It was time for him to go. Stupid Girl was very sad. Heartbroken, actually. She loved Shoe. And he loved her. But Stupid Girl couldn’t care for Shoe properly. The next Sunday afternoon, some nice people who lived out in the country showed up at the house. They had the newspaper in their hands with the “FREE DOG” ad circled in red. Shoe was muddy and he greeted the people enthusiastically with muddy paw prints planted firmly on their chests. But they were nice people who loved dogs. It seemed like a perfect match. They took Shoe home with them, and Stupid Girl never saw him again. She always wondered if he was ok, but she was afraid to find out. Because there was nothing she could do for him at this point because she was a stupid girl.
Stupid Girl was a stupid, stupid girl. She had no business ever getting a dog in the first place.
I know just how stupid Stupid Girl really was.
Because Stupid Girl was me.