My Dog Flo

By: Brady Evans

Her name is Flo. Not Florence. Sometimes we do call her Florence of Arabia or Florence Nightingale, though.

Flo

Don’t look at her too long. She closes her eyes. Eye contact is a threat. She doesn’t want a fight.

Eyes closed

She’s around 10. She could be 12. I don’t know. She won’t tell me. We’ve had her for over 8 years, though.

Flo is my first dog, and she has spoiled me. She naturally heels, naturally asks permission before doing anything, naturally has manners. She can go off leash anywhere. She will always listen.

Flo Party

I remember the day we got Flo. The Omnivore and I were headed out of town, his SUV packed to the roof with lingering boxes that were deemed too unimportant to make it into the U-haul the week before {those boxes likely remain packed in the attic to this day}, and we stopped by the animal shelter just to look. The Omnivore brought to our relationship a gem of a dog, Blue, and she was not with us at the time of Flo’s adoption. Our adoption was not how it is supposed to go: we didn’t have our resident dog with us to match compatibility; we didn’t really discuss the 2nd dog prior to when we skidded into the ASPCA parking lot. We just sort of jumped in. We didn’t know what we were looking for in a dog.  We didn’t know if we were looking for a puppy or an adult, a big or a small, a male or a female. Did I need an active dog? A lazy dog?

Flo

Looking back, Flo was one of those dogs that didn’t show well in the shelter.  She was full grown and black. The commotion of the shelter didn’t suit her well. You see, Flo doesn’t love other dogs.  It isn’t that she’s aggressive or mean about it, they just stress her. In the shelter, she spent her days pancaked flat to the cement floor, probably trying to tune out the other dogs’ barking. She recoiled into her own mind. She was depressed. Dogs do get depressed, you know.

When I happened upon her cell, every part of her body was touching the cement floor.  Her paws were sticking out under the chain link gate.  I remember those paws the most.  The hair growing through her paw pads was inches long – she was never walked to wear it off. Flo lifted her eyebrows when I spoke to her. That’s all she could muster. She had no zest. I called the Omnivore over, telling him I thought she was paralyzed (ridiculous, I know).

So we looped one of those those little nylon non-leashes around her neck and led her to the play yard they had out behind the shelter. And Flo was like, “game on!” She must have been through this before and failed. That family must have left, seeing she had no personality and would never be a good fit for their family. Not a good dog for the kids, they surely said, she has no energy.

My husband and I sat 15 feet apart from each other on the itchy green grass that February (13th) morning. This threw Flo for a loop. Which person, she panicked, should she sit next to? Her solution? Flo spent the next 10 minutes darting full steam between my lap and my husband’s, so fast that her little back legs are scooted under her body and she appeared like those lizards that walk on water. And we died with laughter. We decided that yes, this would be our dog – my first dog. We took her out to the lobby, paid $60, and headed to the car.

Lap dog

Remember what I said about our car?  How it was full?  And now we’ve added a full grown labrador-something to the trip?  Well, she had to sit on my lap for the 2.5 hr drive.  There was no way around it.  So I put this strange dog that I knew nothing about in my lap and shortly we realized that this dog was made for people’s laps.

And then my husband smiled and looked at our nameless dog and said, “Well, she really goes with the flow.”  And she was named.

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