I’m a sucker for the underdog. I’m always cheering on the person you’d least expect to come out on top and find myself connecting to the quiet and meek ones, those who might not always have the loudest voice.
So it would only make sense that when I went to pick up my new puppy (a ten hour car trip that my husband and I made in one day, only stopping for about thirty minutes to pick up the newest addition to our family), I fell in love with the tiniest female of the litter.
It would also make sense that I named her after one of my favorite characters in literature, Boo Radley, an underdog himself in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Radley was a long time coming. I was surrounded by puppies my entire life, but they were never my own. My parents adopted a terrier when I was young, I helped my roommates in grad school train their new dog, and even the family I babysat for every summer introduced a four legged friend into their household. The problem was, none of these dogs were my own. I wanted a dog I picked out, one I named and trained.
I bugged my husband about this constantly, but the timing was never right. My apartment hadn’t allow dogs, our condo had been too small for one, but you better believe that the day we signed the papers for our house, I was searching for my perfect dog.
Radley came from Syracuse, New York where she was born into a litter of six. She was surrounded by puppy siblings and born into a house with kids who had a hard time saying goodbye to her when we picked her up. In other words, she was loved from the start and every single day since, I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this furball living with me.
I’m a young adult writer, so a lot of my time is spent sitting in my office working on my books. Radley learned quickly that the best spot in the house is at my feet under my desk, and is happy to go for a walk when I have writer’s block and need to clear my head. She snuggles near me at night when I pull all-nighters writing and is happy to go cruising with me in my car when I have to drop work off at the post office.
There is something to be sad about the sweet, unconditional love of a dog, and I’m so happy to have fallen in love with this little lady. There’s a line in To Kill a Mockingbird where Jem says, “Atticus says you can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” I disagree with this quote. Radley may have been chosen as a friend, but there’s no doubt that she’s become family.
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