"Please?" Matt McGuire pleaded to his mother Jo.
"No," she said plainly, walking into the front door of their home while sorting through the mail in her hands.
"But mom," He followed her. "Think of all the cool stuff we can do with it." His face lighted up as he looked at her.
"Like what? Clean up after it?" She said, giving him a slight glare. "No you won't. That'd be left for me, and I'm not having it." She wasn't mad but she was serious. Matt didn't exactly clean up anything he would do; he was a typical ten-year-old boy. "You hardly clean up your own room when you're asked to."
He gave her the sad-eyes.
She sighed, "No, Matt. It didn't work all the times you'd asked in the past, and it won't work now."
With that, he just walked away, giving up.
He came back within a few seconds with a small grin on his face. "Remember the Lizard I had, mom?"
"Yes I do." She said, now washing the vegetables in the sink that was for dinner.
"Remember how I fed and kept the cage clean? How I checked on her practically every minute?" His grin grew larger, and she watched him as he came closer to her.
"Matt, sweetie, I don't think you're ready to have a dog. I mean, they're so much more the handle than a small animal like a Lizard."
"No!" he cried. "PLEASE, MOM!" He pleaded even louder, resting his head in his now folded arms on the counter.
Sam stepped into the kitchen and looked at both of them. He was silent as he approached his son and wife.
"He wants a dog." Jo explained.
Sam shrugged and whispered in her ear, "Maybe it's not a bad idea."
Matt quickly sprung his head out of his arms. Sam and Jo had walked inches away to continue their conversation. After a few minutes, they turned their attention back to him.
"You can get a dog." Sam said, smiling. Jo adds, "But if you neglect cleaning up after it, it will go to someone who will. Understand, sweetie?"
Matt went and hugged her tight. "Understood, and you won't regret it." He let go and looked at both of them, "I promise." Then trailed off saying, "Yes, yes, yes!"
The next morning, Matt, still in his pajamas, zoomed down the stairs and into the kitchen, where the parents sat at the table enjoying their usual cups of coffee while glancing at their son.
"Can we go now?" He asked excitedly.
Sam and Jo looked at each other and just chuckled.
"Wow, Matt, it's a Saturday and you're already up at seven." Jo said, smiling.
"Don't you want breakfast first?" Sam asked. "I made chocolate chip pancakes." He pointed over to the counter.
Matt already knew that he made them because the smell what had woke him up. He looked down at the stack of pancakes sitting on it, then one of his eyes started twitching and he didn't say anything for a moment.
"Are you alright?" Jo asked.
Sam gave a smile. "Son, you can't resist them, can you?"
Matt snapped out of it and turned his head to his dad. "Yes I can." Then he looked back down at the delicious stack. He hesitated then finally gave in, "Um, okay, maybe just one… or two."
He sat down at the table with a plate already in his place. His dad put two pancakes on it, and handed him the syrup. "Thanks," Matt replied then started to dig in.
Lizzie soon joined the family, and after finishing their breakfast they get in the car and drive to the animal shelter.
"Yeah!" Matt said eagerly when he gotten out of the backseat. "Finally!" He quickly started running to the destination. Sam and Jo just let out a small chuckle as they and Lizzie got out and began walking the far distance from where their car was parked in the lot. It was so not the best spot in the lot.
Matt was already on the sidewalk to Pete's Animal Shelter. He turned around and saw his parents embraced side by side with Lizzie following behind. "Aw, come on, slow pokes!" he yelled out with his hands cupped in a circle around his mouth. He decided to walk in without them.
His eyes lit up with amazement and excitement when he saw all sorts of animals in cages around him. It was wonderful. There were squeals made by cats and dogs everywhere. He still had a huge smile on his face when one of the employees walked toward him holding a puppy. "He's so cute!" he said to them.
Smiling, the employee looked at him and asked, "Do want hold him?"
"Can I?" His eyes lit up once again. "Sure!"
They passed the puppy to him. Lizzie had saw and instantly ran to her brother. "Awww," she squealed.
"Look, mom, dad!" He held out the puppy.
"He's so precious." Jo said smiling. "And so tiny," Sam added smiling also.
"I want this one!" Matt started to say more, but the employee kindly stopped him, "I'm sorry but he's only four weeks old and not allowed to leave yet. He's not weaned."
"Weaned?" Matt questioned burrowing his brow.
"He's not ready to leave his mother." They explained, and Matt gave the puppy back to them.
"Where's the mother?"
"In the back. She's not doing to well." They explained with a sad look on their face. "Sometimes we have to feed the puppies by hand with a bottle."
"What's wrong with her?" Lizzie spoke up looking concerned. Sam and Jo gave that look too.
"We don't know. She just started showing symptoms of being sick a day ago."
"Poor girl," Lizzie said. "Hope she'll be okay," Jo added.
The employee nodded in agreement, then turned to Matt and smiled. "So you want a dog, huh?"
"Yes! I had to beg my mom to let me have one!"
"There's all sorts of dogs, small and large. What kind do you want or are you sure yet?" They asked kindly again.
Matt thought about it for a second.
"I'd say a small one for now. Because I seen the movie Beethoven and that large dog is such a menace!" Sam said seriously.
"Hey, dad, that dog was awesome!" Matt said defensively but still had a smile on his face. "Never get tired of the movie!" he added.
A chuckle came from the employee. "I'll let you look around. Whatever you choose is a great choice. Let me know if you need any assistance. I got to feed this poor pup." They gave a smile and left the family alone.
Matt walked over to the tall cages that were stacked side by side. He placed his hand on his chin for he was thinking.
"You should get this one." Lizzie said to Matt as she went to a cage and looked at the dog.
Matt made a face at that. "Uh, no. That's one of those ankle bitters."
"That's a Chihuahua." Lizzie said.
"Chi-what?" Sam seemed clueless. Jo looked at him puzzled.
"Chi-awhh-ha." Matt tried to sound it out for fun. "Awhh-ha-waah-wahh." He started to laugh as he repeated it once more. "It kinda reminds me of that one song by Disturbed."
"That band is disturbed alright." Jo shuddered remembering the time Matt let her hear a song. "Matt, you haven't been listening to them again, have you?" she asked concerned. She didn't think the music was appropriate for his age.
"No, mom." He sighed. "You took my CD, remember?"
"Just checking… Does your friends listen to that music?"
Matt huffed. "Mom, I thought this was about getting a dog, not music choices."
Jo shrugged and let it go.
It was a few hours later, and they were back in the car to head home with Matt's new dog in the center backseat between Lizzie and him.
"So, what's his name, Matt?" Lizzie asked while petting it.
"I'm not sure yet…"
"How about Floppy?" Sam suggested. "Because of his ears."
"No… too plain."
"What about Spot?" Jo suggested.
"He doesn't have any spots."
"Um, well, how about…" Jo was thinking. Everybody was also because it suddenly got real quiet.
"I know the perfect name!" Matt shouted excitedly. "He's my Buddy." He rested his head on the dogs back and smiled to himself.