Love at first sight can work for dogs as well as humans.
When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and timid Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her -- irrevocably.
When Christian, who is manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that fateful autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him -- irrevocably.
I Heart Boston Terriers is all about embracing love, whether it's for someone who walks on four legs or someone who walks on two. The Boston terrier Mavis's journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home runs parallel to the story of two men finding each other at that perfect moment -- a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense.
But then when do the dictates of love follow a rational course?
Come along for a journey about a man and his dog and see how that journey teaches him the truth about love and making a caring connection that just might last a lifetime.
"Oh, just look at this one, Aaron! Isn't she precious?" Becca bent down closer to the crate. "But she looks so scared. The poor little thing."
Aaron squatted beside her to see what had caught her attention. The underweight Boston terrier inside the crate appeared to be cowering. The dog's big eyes bulged out at them even more than was customary for the breed. When she realized they were looking at her, she pressed her thin little body hard against the metal of her cage, as if she wanted to disappear into it.
She was trembling.
There was something infinitely sad in her expression. Her eyes radiated terror. Aaron felt his heart give a tiny lurch. Something deep within him, his need to nurture, perhaps, ratcheted up several notches. He knew he needed to get away before he did something he wasn't in a position to do.
When Becca placed her hand against the bars to give the dog a chance to sniff, she simply cowered even farther back, if that was possible. She seemed to want nothing to do with the human animal.
They both stood to give the dog her privacy and turned to face one another. Aaron was new to Seattle and had agreed to come with Becca this Saturday morning to pick up litter and cat food for her Maine coon, Max.
The Seattle Humane Society's Adoption Fair was a bonus to the store visit. Becca had insisted they "take a look -- just for fun."
Such an enticement was to Aaron the same thing as coercing a recovering alcohol to stop by a favorite watering hole, "just for fun."
Things could get out of control fast.
Becca placed a stray strand of hair behind her ear and glanced down at the card attached to the cage where the Boston waited. Aaron was glad they'd stopped staring at the dog and hoped that by removing their gaze, the dog would feel a little more at ease.
"Look, Aaron. It says her name is Mavis. Isn't that a funny name?"
"Hilarious." Aaron had moved down the row and was now stroking the whiskers of a big black-and-white cat who was rubbing against the bars of his crate. Aaron rolled his eyes as he heard Becca return to the Boston.
"Hey, Mavis. What's the matter, sweetheart?" Becca cooed between the bars.
Aaron glanced back down at the dog -- and his kneeling sister -- to see that Mavis was not charmed. She turned her head away from Becca and stared resolutely at the back of her crate. Becca stood again, directing her gaze at a yapping Chihuahua mix named Hector one cage over.
Aaron moved to stand next to his sister so he could wrap his arm around her. Becca laid her head on his shoulder. Aaron thought that, to an outsider, they probably looked like a couple out for a Saturday morning running errands or searching for a new pet to add to the family. He also thought that, if someone were to look closely enough, they would know that particular human connection was highly unlikely, perhaps not even possible.
For one, he and Becca looked enough alike to give away their familial relationship. Both shared the same ginger hair, with its rough texture and coarse curls. Aaron's wasn't as noticeable because it was clipped close to his skull, making his pale skin, freckles, and green eyes stand out even more. Becca, just two years older than his twenty-four, looked like someone you'd find working in an Irish pub, with her mane of wild copper hair, pale skin, and ample form. The other reason they couldn't possibly be a couple was that Aaron knew he enjoyed firm pecs, washboard abs, and a well-endowed man just as much, if not more, than his sister. Yet they got along, which was a good thing, because Aaron had just moved to Seattle from Pittsburgh after a bad breakup and was sharing his sister's studio apartment near Green Lake, just a few miles south.
Aaron leaned down to look in once more at the tiny Boston terrier, staring out at him as though she needed rescue more than any of these other dogs and cats, set up in similar crates along tables at the back of the store. His heart tugged at him again -- she was as alone and abandoned as he was.
Their eyes met, and something passed between the dog and the man. Understanding, maybe? Recognition? It was as though, for just an instant, Mavis spoke to him. The surprising thing about what she said, in Aaron's mind, was that it was not a plea for help, but one of empathy for him. She seemed to be saying, "I know you, and I know what you're going through. I get what it feels like to be discarded."