All weekend, Hansel reminds his dad about what will have to happen in order to actually get a puppy. “If one falls into our lap, that’s what you said. If it just falls right into our lap.”
Hansel’s father is a fair man. Their last dog, when they still lived next door to us, was a wild thing that got cancer at age 3 and had to be euthanized, so he is justifiably wary and put the issue — his three children’s deep and constant yearning for a puppy — into the realm of the Almighty. “If one falls into our lap,” he had indeed told Hansel all autumn, and now it is January, and the Almighty has spoken.
* * *
All week the Bearded One and I revel in the decision to move to Hawaii. We take stock and clean out, things we might have done anyway after the New Year we tell ourselves, as if we haven’t really decided.
Never mind that we’ve talked to a realtor neighbor and have considered whether to include the goats to make it an already-stocked-farmlet, or to advertise the goats on Craigslist just like the ad we responded to two years ago. Arly sniffs through the piles of files, boxes of art supplies, and bags of clothes, absorbing all the stories. He shreds the Bearded One’s flop.
“Are there Flop Trees in Hawaii?” the Bearded One asks me on Sunday night, and I laugh.
I’m on the couch and cuddling Arly’s solid little chesty 21-pound body, kissing his velvet ears. He licks the lotion from my neck.
Hawaii has a pet quarantine law of up to 120 days, which is four months, which is how long Arly has been alive on the planet. Too long for a pup, so if we are really moving, finding a new home for him sooner rather than later seems the way to go. Better for him.
Garfield is seven, but since our idea is to rough it in Hawaii for a few months and explore, we need to re-home him as well. On Friday I emailed Hansel, Gretel and Batman’s mom asking if they would like to adopt Arly. And now, on Sunday, they’ve accepted. This is our last night together, and I’m enjoying the best part of having raised this sweet puppy for two months.
* * *
Hansel, Gretel and Batman pile out of their car.
Arly races to meet them. Hansel crouches to pet the wiggling puppy. Gretel presents me with a gift, a drawing of a chicken —
— which matches the button she gave me the last time they were here, and which I’m wearing at this moment. Gretel notices and smiles, showing her emerging two front teeth. Batman clings to his mom, since Arly scratched him on the chin last time.
We all go inside to talk and get Arly’s luggage. His favorite pillow, his bag of food and treats, bowl, leash, basket with shampoo and nail clippers, and a couple of our favorite dog picture books…Good Dog, Carl and Hideaway Puppy.
There are boxes everywhere, including one with oodles of office supplies — paints and markers and construction paper and tablets — and I offer the whole pile to the kids. Seven-year-old Gretel beams. “I always wanted a clipboard!” she says. There are two clipboards, and Batman seizes the other one.
Batman, too, has had a dream come true. He smiles and says that Arly, who perches on Hansel’s lap on the couch, is better than last time. Calmer.
Hansel is in charge of Arly, and he takes him out on the road on the leash while we load all the puppy and art supplies into the car. Then we help buckle Batman into his car seat. Gretel climbs into the middle of the backseat and immediately continues work on a new chicken series on her clipboard.
Finally Hansel walks back into the driveway and offers Arly up for us to say good-bye. I’m so happy for Arly — he’s been rather bored this week since Roger left — that I can hardly be sad. I’m full to overflowing. This is a giant step into the rip current taking us to Hawaii.
All of the theoretical obstacles to a big move are falling like dominoes. The Bearded One grins, and pulls me to him.
Hansel gets into the car next to Gretel, his long legs cramped, his smile lighting up the world as he pulls Arly into his lap and says, “YESSSSS!”