“I have a dog. And it’s coming home with me.”

It was our seventh wedding anniversary and these were not exactly the words I was longing to hear from my husband. I naively thought he was calling on his drive home from a late-night class to remind me how wonderful he thought I was, or to declare that, after seven years, he was still itch-less in our relationship. Besides that, we already had two dogs. They were best buds: a perfect pair. I didn’t want a third-wheel dog.

I paused a minute to take it all in, then launched into a barrage of questions. “What breed? Boy or girl? Did it come to you? How big? How old? Was it wearing a collar?”

My husband casually responded, “Girl. Maybe some Shar Pei. No collar. I bribed her to get in the car with a granola bar. She looked really lost.”

All I could think was, “Shar Pei? They don’t even have a snuggly coat.” I pictured a hideous dog with prickly fur. So much for anniversary celebrations. It was late anyway, so I went bed, rudely ignoring our overnight guest before she even arrived.

The next morning, I stumbled out to the kitchen where my ever-chipper-morning-person husband was already enjoying breakfast. He gave me a sheepish smile and glanced toward the back door. I peeked out to see the pup sitting on the deck, peering over our yard as if she were a queen.

“Oh, she’s adorable! Nothing like you said!” I flung the back door wide open. She came trotting in, sat down, and leaned all her body weight against my leg, staring up at me from underneath the most wrinkly forehead I’ve ever seen. As I leaned down to stroke her, I couldn’t help but notice the many small bug bites on her stomach, the frailty with which she carried herself, or the strong stench radiating from her coat. This little pup had been on the streets for a while.

My heart melted, but only for an instant. I thought about the two dogs we already had. They were both seniors and I wanted them to spend their golden years in peace. This little girl was clearly a pup and she had energy to boot.

“I don’t think we can keep her. It’s just not a good fit.” My husband agreed; our loyalty lay with our furry old boys.

We posted flyers in the area, hoping someone would claim her. After a day or two with no response, we knew we had to step up our search for a home. I had spent some time volunteering at an animal shelter, so I knew just who to call.

I was a touch disappointed when I found out the shelter was completely full. They asked us if we could act as a foster family while she awaited adoption. We agreed. We spent the next week grooming her, taking her to be spayed and vaccinated, and hand-feeding her, as she struggled to regulate her own chewing.

It wasn’t long before we realized we needed to call her something besides “little pup.” One morning while she was climbing all over our older dogs, we laughed and told her what a crazy little monkey she was. She paused her play and cocked her head in delight. Monkey. Monkey. Monkey. The more we said it, the more she wagged her tail. And the more we said it, the more it just seemed right.

When the following weekend rolled around, it was time to meet with the animal shelter and take Monkey to her first mobile adoption. I grabbed her leash with some hesitation. My mind kept wondering if this would be the last time I saw her. I turned to my husband, “Soooo… are you sure about this?” We stood in silence.

As it turns out, Monkey found her forever home the first day of mobile adoptions. It was with her foster family.