About a month after Tori and I got married she decided she wanted a puppy. So I bought her a book that seemingly described the situation. It was called “Pigeon Wants a Puppy.” In this book, the pigeon really, really wants a puppy. It turns out the puppy was more than the pigeon had bargained for and she quickly moves on to wanting something new. Our story is quite similar, but with a twist, of course.

Tori only wanted a cute little puppy that could fit in her purse and peek out occasionally to sweetly prance around before slipping back into her bag to nap while Tori continued with her day. So she asked if we could get a little puppy like that and I said absolutely not. Days later we were searching the Internet and newspapers for what dog would be perfect for our new family. After a few hours we came across a breed that was described as small, non-shedding, hypoallergenic and a great indoor dog. We thought, this must be it; we should get a miniature Schnauzer. We looked at information online and decided we wanted a solid black male without clipped ears. We talked to a genuinely kind couple in Murfreesboro and were on our way to their house a few hours later. Of course, before we got out of town we stopped at Target and deliberated over which baby blanket he would need to be wrapped in as we drove him to his new home.

We pulled into their driveway and as we walked into their backyard, one of their two little boy puppies ran directly to Tori. We looked at both, but we were hooked by the little runt that chose Tori. We talked with the breeders for a few minutes and then headed home with our tiny, little, black fur-ball. He was adorable and we decided to name him Zeke. Zeke loved the soft green blanket with a tough dog sewn onto it that we had picked out for him.

We went directly to introduce him to his new grandparents. The first house we came to was Tori’s mom and dad. Patti was honest, saying that she’d rather have another human grandchild, but Rick was smitten. We spent some time with them and Zeke peed on the carpet, which is something that has become sort of a tradition for him. Then we took him on to my parents’ house. This is a house that is traditionally a pet-free zone.

On the way we stopped at a pet store to get a bed, some food, a black Harley Davidson collar with silver spikes, a leash, an id tag, a bag of treats and some clothes, you know, the necessities. The people were very helpful, almost too helpful, but we got almost everything we thought we would need and we headed out. Then PANIC. Tori felt a small tick on our precious new Zeke. I tried to use the tweezers on my pocketknife, but we were hurting him and couldn’t get it out. I ran back inside and quickly found special tweezers and we got him taken care of quickly. Whew, crisis #1 was over and we were ready to go. We should have seen the sign of what was to come with this cute little black runt. Anyway we arrived at my parents and they fell in love with him. Dad even wanted to hold him, which was totally out of character.

We took him home to our house, played a little bit and put him in his new cage. He cried a little but went to sleep very fast. The next morning I took him to church and introduced him to a few hundred of my closest kid friends. We could not believe how calm and good he was. Everyone was falling in love with him. Soon after we had VBS and I decided to bring him to meet all the kids and get him socialized. I took him on stage and let 800 kids pet him. Many thought he was a stuffed animal because he barely moved. This was so fun and exciting for us for a few days. During the day we left him in the volunteer room with our friend Shelley and one day she came to get me saying that Zeke had an accident in the bag Tori had been carrying him in. The smell was really bad to say the least. I was about to go on stage, so I had to get Tori to take care of him.

When I finished my responsibilities I called Tori and she was in tears. She was at the vet and the diagnosis was possibly Parvo, which my grandparents dog had just died from and it is rare that any survive. The tests came back negative, but we monitored him throughout the evening. He was barely breathing and Tori’s calls to the vet went from hourly to every 5 minutes, so she had us bring him in around midnight. I held him while she put in an I.V. and we left him to be treated for Parvo. He survived! But, this was the first of many trips to the vet. The staff talked to Zeke and us like we were old friends. I believe we were the reason for some of the upgrades we began to see around the office.

After a few months we got used to cleaning up diarrhea and feeding Zeke pills wrapped in cheese. Amy and Cissy weren’t used to it when it happened in our cabin at children’s camp, but we all moved on. Zeke really became part of our family and Tori bonded with him really strongly while he was sick. As the days have gone by he has really grown. He actually got much larger than any cute purse can hold. He also became WILD. Very little of what we read about him before we got him was true to who he is. In fact, some days we almost wish for the Parvo days. Zeke is a crazy, wild dog. He eats only wheat and gluten free food. He is highly intelligent, which makes for much trouble. He wakes up early and goes out often. A puppy is a lot of work. Tori takes care of him in the morning and I play with him at night. My family took him in as a grandchild/nephew and they keep him when we go out of town…and pamper him. Mom sews up his over-chewed toys, dad plays chase games with him and Janice bathes him everyday. He is kind of the Jones family dog as everyone takes care of him. Sophie loves to look at him and she wants to play with him, but he is still a little overwhelming for her. Will really likes the idea of him, but he is just the right size for Zeke to knock over and make a chew toy out of, so they don’t play very much. Hope takes him for walks on bedazzled leashes and talks about how wonderful he is. He is part of the family for better or for worse.

Pigeon wanted a puppy and she got it. It was simple for the storybook character as she got overwhelmed and could easily look to something new. We found out that in real life you cannot simply turn the page and move on to something the next bigger and better thing. The puppy, who is far beyond what we had anticipated, was more than just a picture on a page. We fell in love with the little guy. Zeke is pure trouble, but he is our trouble and we couldn’t imagine our story without him.