My hands tremble as I fumble around for my mobile phone. Uncle Devon answers on the second ring. If he were here, I would strangle him with his white minister’s collar.
“Pinky! You’ve collected Peter?”
“Are you mad?”
“Whatever is the matter?”
He can't possibly worm his way out of this one. While I rant into the phone, the attendants in the baggage depot of Heathrow are trying not to laugh out loud.
Their snickering is the cherry atop the humiliation sundae which has been my day. First, I arrive at the airport and security threatens to call my mum because they think my I.D. is a forgery. I stretch my tiny frame in an effort to look as imposing as possible when I explain that I am, in fact, an adult. This kind of thing happens to me constantly. Do you realize how difficult it is to get anyone to take you seriously when you are roughly the size of a 12-year old? And your name is Pinky?
Then, I arrive at the baggage depot to pick up the chap who, according to Uncle Devon, is my perfect mate. When I get one glimpse of Peter, I am horrified.
“He’s a dog.” I mean this in the most literal sense. He’s an actual dog.
“A Great Dane.”
“You tricked me. You said he was handsome and his name was Peter.”
“It is. He’s named for Peter the Great. Peter the Great Dane. Clever, isn’t it?”
“He’s an enormous, slobbery oaf!”
“Pinky, I thought you would be the last person to judge someone by his size. Remember, man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”
He’s quoting scripture. I’m doomed.
“This dog will change your life.” Is this some kind of prophetic word?
Reluctantly, I hang up and claim the beast. Once we get home (no easy feat), Peter immediately shoves his head under my bed. He looks as though he’s trying to disappear.
“Peter, come out. I’m sorry I called you an oaf.”
His tail begins to wag ever so slightly. Still, it takes over an hour of groveling to get his massive head to emerge.
Thus begins my initiation into the sensitive world of Peter the Great Dane. As those first days pass, I discover how delicate he is, despite his impressive size. Just a cross look is enough to send him under the bed in self-imposed exile. His gentle spirit completely wins me over. It breaks my heart to leave him in the mornings, so I enroll him in doggy daycare (yes, such a thing truly exists).
“Don’t worry Peter. You’ll make lots of proper doggy friends.”
But when Peter ambles into the playroom at Royal Pups Daycare, the other dogs part like the Red Sea.
I’m crestfallen, as is my gentle giant.
Trudy, the supervisor, tells me not to fret. “Just give it time,” she urges. “Soon, he’ll fit right in.”
But she’s wrong. Day after day, Peter and I trudge into Royal Pups. And day after day, he’s rejected by his peers. I worry about his emotional state. When I pick him up in the evenings, he sits alone, his great head hanging, in the corner of the room.
Until one miraculous day.
I arrive to collect Peter after work and Trudy is beaming at me. Absolutely beaming.
“Peter has finally met his match!”
My face flushes with excitement. “Has someone brought in another Dane?”
Trudy mumbles something as I hurry to the window overlooking the playroom. I’m stunned. This dog will be the death of me yet.
Peter is sprawled on the floor with his new lady love curled affectionately between his front two legs. They are licking one another tenderly. My Great Dane and his beloved Chihuahua. Yeah, you heard me.
I’m gawking at them through the glass when a soft voice whispers in my ear.
“They look adorable, don’t they?” The voice belongs to a charming man who must be two meters tall.
“Yes, is she yours?”
“She’s my Isabelle.” His hands are twice the size of his little dog.
“Tiny, but full of personality. Most people don’t expect to find such a rare jewel in such a small package.” Mr. Chihuahua’s ice blue eyes twinkle as he looks at me.
“Um, well, my Peter is rather large. But he’s a sweetheart with a gentle soul.”
“Peter the Great Dane. How very clever!”
Maybe Uncle Devon knew what he was doing after all.
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