She was all brown except for white on her nose and the tip of her tail, and though the shelter said Boxer and Lab she could have been anything. While the other dogs at my friend’s house were barking and demanding attention, she calmly went about her own business. She was a smart dog, too.
When my friend put Zoe in her crate, it took her minutes to find her way out. When I finally gave in to the urge to pick Zoe up, she put one paw on each side of my neck and rested her chin on my shoulder. She positioned herself like a baby needing burping; I was more than happy to indulge her craving for cuddling.
This was no ordinary puppy - she gave dog hugs! It’s no wonder that later in the evening I told Zoe’s owner to call me if she ever changed her mind about the dog. I never thought she would actually call. After all, who would be crazy enough to give up such a special pup? Still, that little brown ball of love stayed on my mind, and I hoped that whenever I got a new dog I could find one like Zoe.
Two weeks later, my friend called, “Remember that puppy that was here a couple weeks ago? Do you still want her?” I was shocked. Turns out Zoe’s owner couldn’t keep her. Excitement set in. After 15 minutes of planning I was on my way to pick her up – that dog was meant to be mine and I wasn’t about to miss my chance.
That night my boyfriend, my brother, and I played with the inquisitive little girl, who kept trotting off to check out something in the house then running back to me, trotting off then running back. She was all ears and paws, and adorable in her puppy clumsiness. She looked like she might trip over her ears at any moment.
My boyfriend shook his head in disbelief. “That’s supposed to be your dog,” he said as she checked in with me yet again. “She already knows you as mom.” I was thrilled to hear that someone else saw what I felt: that this puppy and I were meant to be together. The three of us brainstormed new names for her. Zoe didn’t really fit her, and she didn’t respond to it anyway. When we came up with Nala, she came running to it immediately.
It’s been over two years, and I still can’t believe my luck. I got the dog that was everything I dreamed. She spawned the business idea I’d been looking for, PawPosse.com, where I get to share my love of big dogs with others. She sleeps at my feet as I work and nudges me for playtime when I need a break. And even at 70 pounds, Nala still curls up in my lap and rests her chin on my shoulder. That’s my baby.