The snow fell nonchalantly against the ground, covering the withered, dead leaves that camouflaged the frozen landscape. My eyes fluttered towards the house, it’s exhaustiveness apparent as it’s exterior crumbled before me. I shuddered as the frigid air coursed throughout my body. We were now walking towards the pens full of anxious pups awaiting their encounter with their future master. I shouldn’t say master, I’d never thought of it that way. I did not want to be this dog’s master, I wanted to be his friend.
We casually made our way closer to our destination, our feet sloshing through the concoction of watery snow and soggy grass. As we trudged through the frozen mud, and freezing cold liquid rushed through my feet, I could hear the sounds of barking dogs. I wanted to sprint over there, to rush towards my dog, but I knew if I did that I would fall flat on my face into the wintry ground below me. So I stayed along with the group, Mom, Travis, and the breeder that I didn’t know the name of and slowly we got closer and closer to the new edition in our family.
The snow had stopped completely and the sky was starting to open up, a seemingly picture perfect moment had taken place. We were close now, I could feel it.
“He’s just right up here a ways,” Nameless breeder said, his breath like a billow of smoke in the frigid air.
“Look at all of the puppies, Mom!” I exclaimed, and pointed to the
pens that were overflowing with plentiful piles of puppies.
“I wonder which one is ours. I can’t wait, I haven’t had a dog since I was little,” Mom responded, gazing toward the pens.
“Don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed. This pups’ the most rambunctious one of the whole bunch of ‘em,” Nameless Breeder’s wife said, assuring us we made the right choice.
“That’s the one we ordered! How do Irish Terriers usually act?” Mom inquired.
“Their a wild group of dogs, thats for sure. Always wanting to play and run around. They get to be a bit troublesome, though. Might want to watch ‘em when you take ‘em outside,” Nameless breeder responded.
“I bet this one wants to play all the time!” I exclaimed, hoping that I was right. I had never even heard of an Irish Terrier before Mom and Travis had decided on that breed for our new dog. The Irish Terrier was a formal-looking dog, with burnt orange fur (traditionally), a big black nose, and a personality that outmatches any other. I was so excited when Mom told me that we could get another dog, and I couldn’t wait any longer for this moment to come. It was finally here.
We inched our way closer to the pen, teeth chattering from the cold. My face had turned a bright lobster red, and I kept sniffling as a cold crept over me. Winter is my favorite season, but the cold is a rather pesky side effect to the gorgeous snowy landscape. Earlier that year we had actually gotten days off from school because it was too cold to go. Temperatures in the single numbers and windchills in the negatives blew into our town like a spring tornado. We never got the blanketing snow like out west or up north, instead we got blistering cold temperatures and snow that stung when it landed upon your face, accompanied with slick roads and icy sidewalks. I couldn’t wait for spring.
“ Well, this one here would be the one you're looking for. He’s the rowdiest of the litter,” Nameless Breeder said, an icy grin on his face. I was shocked. I had completely zoned out and was unaware that I was standing just a few feet away from him. Nameless Breeder’s wife picked him up and handed him to Mom.
“Oh my, he’s so precious. Look at him Trav, he’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Do you want to hold your new dog, Riley?” She asked me, motioning me over to her.
“Yeah,” I said, beaming, my voice faltering from the cold gust of wind that I inhaled.
“Here you go. Be careful, now. Don’t drop him,” Mom said, handing him over to me. I reached my hands out and took him, stumbling as I almost fell into the fence. Mom had a worried took on her face, but that was quickly replaced by a phone snapping pictures of the moment for Facebook.
He was very small, and he fit right into my hands. I cradled him there, his nose resting on my forearm. He was amazing. He didn’t move, just looked into my eyes while I looked into his. A nose that was normally a conspicuous shade of black was now covered in snowflakes the size of a speck of dust. I petted his face, and he sneezed right into my winter coat. The whole group and I chuckled.
“We’re going to call you Winston,” I said, looking deep into his brownish-orange eyes. He looked into mine, and I knew right then and there that this is what true friendship feels like.