The sun hung low behind the dark grey clouds that stretched across the sky like a blanket. I quickly shuffled into the back of my mother’s minivan next to my brother. “Could you move over a bit, Jenna,” he said condescendingly, “I feel like you’re practically on top of me. I need my space.” I rolled my eyes and smacked him in the arm. “Liam, shut up. We’re in two separate seats and I’m buckled in, how do you expect me to move over?” I spat back at him. There's nothing that annoys me more than fourteen year old boys. Especially if that fourteen year old boy is my obnoxious younger brother. Just as he was about to open his mouth to interject, my youngest sister, Allie, jolted around from the seat in front of us. “Can you guys stop fighting for once in your lives?” She spoke with the attitude of a fifteen year old, even though she was only nine. My other sister Peyton, she was eleven, sighed heavily and dramatically turned the page of the book she was reading. I rolled my eyes and angrily kicked the back of Allie’s seat and stared frustratingly out the window.
As a Christmas present to all of us kids, my mom promised that we could adopt a puppy. Allie mentioned getting a dog once, but none of us had specifically asked for one. Tensions had been thick and moods had been sour since my parent’s divorce last year. So my mother, in attempts to bring a little joy and lightheartedness into the atmosphere, decided it was about time we got a dog.
After about a half an hour of being cooped up in that metal prison of a car with my siblings, my mom made a sharp left turn off the main road onto a dirt path.“Where are we?” Peyton asked, looking up from her book. My mom turned the volume of the radio down. “We’ll be pulling into the shelter in about two minutes,” she responded. I shifted my position in my seat so I could see over Allie’s head and out the windshield at the approaching “animal shelter”. It looked more like a log cabin that you’d see in a horror movie to me. My mom parked the van alongside the curb as my siblings and I piled out. “Are you sure we’re at the right place?” Liam asked. My mom waved her hand dismissively. “Of course we are! This is the address I was told to go to in the email! Jenna, hand me my purse please.”
The moment I opened the door I felt like I had gotten hit in the face with the worst smell I had ever experienced in my entire sixteen years on planet earth. It was like some awful mixture of wet dog, pee, old wood, and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I looked at Peyton and saw that she had her jacket zipped up to her eyes, masking her nose from that rancid stink. My mom walked over to the front desk with Liam as my sisters and I walked around the small lobby-ish area, checking the place out. That building was filthy to say the least. Dirty dog kennels, cat carriers, empty shampoo bottles, and more were scattered everywhere. I felt if I tried inhaling that dust would coat the inside of my windpipe, cutting off my oxygen. I could hear distant barking coming from what seemed to be the upper level of the building.“Great! Thank you very much!” I heard my mom say to the man at the desk. Liam walked back over to me and my sisters. “They’re going to bring the dog in now,” he told us with a small smile on his face. After what felt like decades, we finally heard footsteps coming back down the stairs. “Eeeeepp!” Allie squealed. “I can’t wait to meet her!” I looked around anxiously. The man from the front desk turned the corner with probably the cutest black lab puppy I had ever seen. My mom and sisters all screamed and ran towards the excited pup to pet her. Liam made his way over as well. I, on the other hand, stayed right where I was. What if it doesn’t like me? What if it bites me? What if it bites, like, a neighbor or something and we have to give it away? What if it whines at night and I won’t be able to sleep?
“Jenna! You have to come over here and pet her!” My mother exclaimed as the small lab puppy licked her face affectionately. I glanced around the shelter nervously and approached the dog. “Hi there, little fella,” I cooed. I got down on my knees and the puppy stumbled over to me. I smiled and scratched her ears. “You’re just the cutest thing!” I said as I pat her, “I can’t wait to take you home with us!” The puppy was panting, wagging her tail, and obviously getting a little over excited. I felt more comfortable and sat down on the floor, despite the filth, and continued petting her. All of a sudden, I felt this warm sensation on my lap. “Oh my…” I heard Liam’s voice trail off. My mother gasped and Allie let out a shriek. “What the heck, Jenna?!” Peyton was now shrieking too. I looked down at my lap and saw the one thing I had not expected to see. Dog pee. I let out a blood curdling scream and jumped up on my feet. “WHY?!” I yelled down at the dog, who, much to my annoyance and dissatisfaction, seemed remarkably pleased with herself. The dog scurried around behind me as I continued to stare at my pants in disbelief.
By this time my entire family, along with the man from the front desk, was laughing hysterically at me. My mom was laughing so hard she made this horrific snorting noise.“You all think this is funny?!” I projected. “Getting this stupid dog wasn't even my idea! It was just mom’s pathetic way of bringing this obnoxious family closer. Well, congrats mom, you've actually done the opposite. I hate you all twice as more now!” I was yelling so loud I felt as though a blood vessel would burst. However, my family (and the man from the front desk) did not feel even a shred of sympathy as they continued to wheeze with laughter.I rolled my eyes and screamed one last time before making my dramatic exit, “You know what...Whatever! I don’t even care anymore! I’ll be waiting in the car.”I spun around angrily, ready to stomp out of that dilapidated animal shelter and never look back. But, instead of leaving after proving my point, my foot landed into warm, freshly produced pile of black lab puppy excrement. My eyes widened as I felt my face redden, unable to process what exactly just happened. Outrageous fits of laughter erupted from behind me as I looked down at that obnoxious disgrace of a dog, who seemed to be happier than ever.