My face was splotchy and flushed. I can’t believe I’m so nervous. This is ridiculous.
Ryan and I had been dating for almost a month, and I really, really liked him. We were getting close pretty fast, and I didn’t want to blow it now. He was my dream husband.
“Roxy’s my closest friend. We’ve been through thick and thin together,” he had told me on our last date. “I think it’s time for you to meet her.” So here I was, standing in the parking lot of my apartment building, nervous—about meeting a dog.
I had seen pictures of her, and I could not believe how beautiful she looked—big, but beautiful. She was a Doberman/Husky mix with thick black fur. The tan patches with dots of white outlining her eyes and paws made my heart melt already, but would she like me in return? I need to make a good first impression.
Wringing my sticky hands, I wished they’d hurry so that my already frizzed hair could have a break from the humidity. I expected to see Ryan’s gorgeous 1978 Camaro coming toward me any moment, eighties music booming—probably with Roxy’s head sticking through the T-top opening.
Gravity grabbed my heart out of my chest as Ryan drove up on his Ninja motorcycle instead, Roxy riding confidently in front of him as a passenger. After the shock subsided, I couldn’t help feeling a little jealous of the matching leather motorcycle jackets they were sporting. And Roxy looked like a movie star in her jeweled motorcycle goggles—Foxy Roxy.
How’s a girl gonna compete with this? I couldn’t let my insecurities show. I had to prove to Ryan that I could win the affections of his dog—and I had to prove it fast. Otherwise, “Bye, bye, dream husband.”
What a difference six months would make. The relationship between Roxy and I shifted from me making an impression on her, to her keeping her rightful place in Ryan’s eyes. I took her spot in the front seat of the Camaro, as well as on the back seat of the motorcycle. Poor Roxy.
I reminded her of her significance to Ryan time and again as she would push her pretty, pointy nose between the two of us while walking arm-in-arm through the park. “Now remember, Roxy, that I do not have a matching motorcycle jacket, okay? You’re still Ryan’s favorite riding partner.”
Well, it was move-in time after the wedding, and Roxy had one more major sacrifice to make: her regular sleeping site, which would be right where my pillow would go. I couldn’t bring myself to make her move to the floor, so the foot of the bed would have to do. “After all,” I tried to convince Ryan, “I wouldn’t even let our own child sleep between us.”
And that’s what she was like—our child. Bicycle rides, errands, picnics, and even family vacations—she was a part of everything we did. Everywhere we went, friends and strangers alike would comment on how human she seemed to be.
“Roxy, you want some food?” She’d answer with a happy howl. After eating, she’d come up to us, lick her lips and then rub against our legs, just to say thank you for feeding her.
“Whatcha think, Roxy?” Ryan would ask. “Should we go to the park?” Her tail would thump the floor while she let out a friendly “Woof”!
She’d watch movies with us in bed, and even wormed her way in between us while watching them. Like I said—almost human.
It’s amazing how far Roxy and I had come in just five years. Yup—now she’s our dog—not just Ryan’s. We even have our own special girl bond, and we use it to our advantage quite regularly.
That’s probably why I’m as nervous right now as I was the first time I met her. I’m pacing back and forth as I anxiously await Ryan and Roxy’s arrival from a motorcycle ride. When that foxy dog, dressed in leather and shades, comes through that door, she’ll be happy to see me. She’ll jump up on me and give my face a thirsty slurp as I kneel down to hug her fondly.
I just don’t know how to tell her—or Ryan for that matter—that in about eight months, another family member will be competing for attention in our home. The question is, will Roxy have to learn to share us, or will we have to learn to share Roxy?
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