Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Jafar. Our first adopted son. Lovingly referred to as "Jaffy, Boo-Didley, Boo-dine, Boo-diferous, Loo Bean" and the list goes on.

As soon as the question was popped and the ring on my finger, I didn't start planning a lavish wedding, guest list or registry. Nope, I asked for a dog.

All bright-eyed and ignorant to what we were getting ourselves into, we drove to the Tucson Humane Society. I said to the lady "I want a puppy". She took us back where we found seven 8-week-old pups just placed for adoption. All were sleeping in a pile on top of each other. Some were light colored, some darker. I picked the lightest colored pup of the pack up and cradled him in my arms. He was wet and smelled like he just romped in the sewer. The gal said to me "He was just flea dipped, his names Dopey". Rather fitting name as this pup barely opened his eyes to see who had taken hold of him. I had decided in like less than a nano second that this was my/our dog. As we proceeded to the waiting area to fill out paperwork (me still cradling our new bundle of joy) a mean stranger lady came up to me and said "This one's got worms, I wouldn't get him if I were you." I said "oh yeah? And how can you tell such a thing (defensively)?. "Well his belly is bloated and that's a sure sign he's not a good one!". Tariq gave me "the look" (this is the look I have come to know well in our years of marriage and the look I now ignore, but on this day I challenged it). "Who cares if he's got worms" I yelled! "All the more reason for us to take him and get him well!". Tariq caved (after a while) and the paper worked signed. We were told to come back in one week to pick him up as he still needed neutered.

Over the next week I shopped for all things needed to care for a pup, food, bed, chew toys, crate, bones, treats, collar and leash. I was in nesting mode preparing the house for our new What wedding?

The day came to pick him up. They brought out this dog that I swear weighed 30lbs more than the one I cradled a week ago. We put on the leash and walked him to the car. Tariq starts to drive off and the puppy starts drooling, jumping, whining, panting and going nuts....a far cry from the "dopey" we agreed to adopt. I looked at Tariq and he looked at me, I could tell we were thinking the same thing: "Is this the dog we had picked out? Was he switched on us?" Too late now, no turing back.

I named him Jafar and yes I got that name from Aladdin and yes he's the mean one and yes I knew that and still named him that.

Over the next few weeks Jafar proceeded to chew everything in site. Linoleum, check! Carpet, check! Find toilet paper end and roll it out into kitchen, check! Dig holes in dirt and get filthy so owners will have to give me a bath once a day so I can play in the bath tub and run around like a freak of nature while I'm drying, check! I came home from lunch one day to find all the linoleum chewed up in the kitchen, now we lived in an apartment and we would be leaving soon and couldn't afford to pay for this to be fixed. BIG PROBLEM. We called daddy to explain but it didn't go so well. "We have to take him back!"........"What?"......."NO WAY" I said. "We have to, we can't afford to fix the things he keeps chewing!" "Please give him one more chance" I begged......."PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!"

I cradled Jafar in my arms and sobbed my eyes out. I begged him not to chew anything else or daddy would be taking him back. From that day on Jafar has not destroyed one thing, not even his stuffed animals. That's when I realized, this dog wasn't just a dog, he was human. He understands what he's being told and listens. He's one special boy. He's my boy. I picked him even when I thought he had worms.

One year later Jafar fell in the pool and I realized he was having trouble seeing. He required cataract surgery to both eyes.

Five years later he began limping and after tests ruled out valley fever we were told he likely had bone cancer based on his x-rays. He was given six weeks at best to live. They said if we didn't do something sooner rather than later his leg would eventually become so brittle it would break and we would have to put him down. We were faced with a few options, put him to sleep, amputate the leg or have a bone biopsy to confirm this diagnosis. At a cost of $1200, the bone biopsy was a very difficult decision for us. Tariq had just started his own practice and all of our savings was wrapped up in this new adventure. To make matters worse, we were without income for one year while waiting for his billings to come in. I just couldn't put him to sleep without truly knowing. That $1200 was worth every bit for my piece of mind. This wasn't just any dog were talking about. We did the biopsy and it came back NOT CANCEROUS. Bone infection, treatment? Antibiotics. The power of prayer is amazing sometimes isn't it?

So two furry brothers, one human brother and a human sister later, Jafar is now seven and plays the role of father to the other two dogs. He has advanced arthritis and is getting up there in age for the "super breeds". I know the inevitable will come and it aches my very soul to think about it. God blessed us with a one-of-a-kind dog that some folks never get to experience in their entire life, and for that I'm grateful.

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