Once we submitted our application to MomsVA, I hesitantly told people we were thinking about a puppy. However, I managed expectations (mine and theirs) by mentioning that there were lots of other people interested and probably not enough puppies to go around.

To my great surprise, just a few days after completing the application, I received a call from the rescue organization. They wanted to do a home visit. And they asked if they could come by in 30 minutes! (I guess they don’t want to give you too much time to change your mind.)

Even after receiving the call, I thought it was still a bit of a crap shoot. We live in a townhouse. That could be a strike against us. We’re weren’t what you’d call “spring chickens” anymore; they might wonder if we could handle an energetic pup.

But despite all of my ruminating, the MomsVA lady told us after the home visit that she didn’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be approved. In fact, we had our Congratulations email by dinnertime and were scheduled to pick up our pup in just two days. I was going to be a dog Mommy again before Christmas! I could hardly contain myself!

They asked us to pick a first and second choice of puppies. We chose the fluffy one we had held as number one (Larissa) and the short-haired one (Rhea) as number two. Then we went to work getting ready to bring our baby home, reading up on housetraining and collecting advice from everyone we knew who had raised puppies. We were heading into unfamiliar territory here!

Before the big day, we were told that we would get our first choice, Larissa, AKA “the fluffy one.” We weren’t so keen on the name “Larissa” and had already renamed her “Daisy.” The name was Don’s idea, but I instantly loved it. However, I strongly opposed “Duke” as her middle name, preferring “Mae,” which you’ll see later in the story was more fitting anyway.

The puppy handoff was scheduled for 4 pm on Thursday at Petsmart. That day, my husband who is ALWAYS on time—and often early—was running a few minutes behind. Plus, there was the usual Christmas shopping traffic at the mall to contend with. We took every shortcut we knew but still arrived slightly late. Realistically, I knew a few minutes after 4 pm wasn’t a big deal, but my heart was still in my throat as I squealed tires into the parking space at the store. When we got out of the car, I was so keyed up that I was about to jump out of my skin. It was a child’s kind of excitement—like the exhilaration you feel on the last day of school or Christmas morning.

The rescue organization people and foster families, along with all the sweet puppies, were waiting for the adoptive parents out front. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t recognize my new child at first, considering at least four other puppies looked almost exactly the same. They handed Daisy to me and my heart melted. She was a warm, fluffy rag doll of a puppy with wispy blonde hair that I imagined never looked brushed, despite your best efforts. The absolute epitome of “Shaggy Dog.” Wrapping her in my arms, I covered her furry face with kisses.

While we were getting the paperwork done, one of the rescue people said a male, short-haired dog, who seemed particularly interested in Don, was still available. They’d contacted the people who had put in an application for him about a home visit but had not received a response. His name was “Archee.” Much to my shock, Don said, “Maybe we should get them both!”

OK, so you’ll need a little back story to understand this latest turn of events. When our dog, Ava, passed away in October, we started thinking about taking in Don’s late sister’s dog. Even if we got a puppy, we were still planning to bring Sassy into the fold because my goal had always been to have two dogs eventually anyway. We’d been waiting for a while to hear whether we would get Sassy, and that day, Don had found out that it sadly wasn’t going to happen.

Don let me in on this news after I asked him, “Are you serious?” at least 10 times.

Strike while the iron is hot has always been my philosophy. I rushed inside the store, where the head of MomsVA was helping people pick out puppy products, to tell her, with my heart thudding in my chest, that we wanted to take two pups, instead of one, home that day! Keep an eye on this page for the next installment of ISO Shaggy Dog.