Lyndal and I were yet to be married. Alex was barely six. Camden was still a thought in our minds.

That’s when on Saturday, Nov. 1 my family and I made the then short trek to Williamston for a birthday breakfast in my honor. We ate at Shamrock (good food then, good food now) and made our way over to Walmart.

At the time there was a now (I believe) defunct animal rescue that used to offer pets for adoption in the parking lot on Saturdays. For giggles, we decided to stop and take a look.

Lyndal and Alex picked out a dog they wanted – I didn’t have much interest in one at the time – and began trying to convince me she needed a home and we needed her.

In between breakfast and the stop to look at the animals, my brother handed me some cash as a birthday gift. I didn’t even look at it, and stuck it in my pocket.

As they continued to “work me over,” I finally gave in with the caveat that I only had the money in my pocket and I wouldn’t go get more. They asked the adoption fee and I pulled the cash out of my pocket to see what I had. The sums matched.

I also said we’d take her home only if the animal rescue folks agreed to watch over her while we went into Walmart. Of course, they did.

Once in the store, I spent all the money my mother intended to give me for my birthday on dog bowls, dog collar, leash, food, etc. Seemed pretty evident to me that Lily was the one getting the “special day.”

When we took her home, the rascal wouldn’t eat for two days. She was timid, terrified. When she finally ate, she made a mess on my floor.

To say that a week after bringing Lily home I felt like I got ripped off for my birthday is an understatement.

Then something happened. She began to settle in and understand she was home. She stopped hiding on the other side of whatever room we were in and started warming up to us.

Some 12-plus years and four moves later, she’s still at home. She rules the roost at our house, which now contains another dog – Casey – and a cat – Ruthie. (I’ll tell you their stories another day.)

Over the course of the past dozen years, Lily has gone from a spry, nosey dog that you couldn’t let outside without close supervision to one that you could open the door and let wander any time and know for a fact she’s coming back to the porch in short order. She’s old now and spends more time sleeping in her bed than chasing a ball, but she’s still at home and she’s still everyone’s favorite pet.

I share this with you not just to tell you about our adventure, but to remind you yours awaits too. Visit the animal shelter in your county today and find your “Lily.”

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and The Enterprise. He can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.