Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 20° Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Julia Ditto: Buying puppy on Christmas Eve not my best idea ever

Julia Ditto,Guest columnist

It was about this time last year that I completely lost my mind. That’s really the only way to explain why I, the mother of six young children, for some reason got it into my head that it would be great fun to add a puppy to our family.

“A Christmas puppy – it’s every kid’s dream!” I effused to my skeptical husband, Logan.

“We already have a bunch of kids,” he replied. “Why would we add another one who poops and pees with the vigor of a newborn but doesn’t wear diapers?”

I was undeterred, so Logan said he would support whatever I wanted to do. And apparently what I wanted to do was haphazardly search Craigslist, newspaper classifieds and random puppy-finder websites in the weeks leading up to Christmas, almost falling prey to a half-dozen scams in the process. Puppy scams are apparently big business.

For weeks, I had no luck. On my to-do list Christmas Eve, I had about 10 things jotted down. Finish wrapping presents. Make a treat for the family Christmas Eve party. And at the very bottom, I’d written “P,” which was code for “halfheartedly see if you can buy a puppy from somewhere.”

I’m a girl who sticks to her to-do lists, so midmorning, I got to work right away on the least important, least-likely-to-happen thing on my list. I checked the newspaper classifieds and just about had a heart attack when I saw an ad for the very kind of puppy I’d been hoping for.

The ad listed a local number (so probably not a Nigerian scam this time), and I dragged Logan in from snowblowing our driveway so we could check on this puppy.

It sounds so cliche, but when I first saw the puppy, it was love at first sight. She was the quintessential adorable pup, and I lost all ability for rational reasoning. I knew we were going to buy that dog. Logan knew I knew, and pretty soon, we were wandering the aisles of a pet store on freaking Christmas Eve buying whatever the heck the pet store lady told us we’d need for a puppy. The word “clueless” doesn’t begin to describe it.

Later that night, after the kids had fallen asleep, we brought the puppy home, and while cuddling with her, I actually uttered, “I feel sorry for anyone who’s not getting a puppy for Christmas.”

Cue a peal of deranged laughter from this now-seasoned puppy owner.


You can take them outside in 19-degree weather and they’ll go to the bathroom, and then you’ll bring them inside and two minutes later, they’ll poop on your carpet. They’ll nip at your 1-year-old’s fingers and try to murder the rug by your front door. They’ll wake up and yelp every hour, on the hour, from 1:30 a.m. until 5:30 a.m., at which point you’ll seriously start questioning your life choices.

It went on like that for about six months: touch and go, love and … less love.

Fast-forward to now, one year later. My rash decision on Christmas Eve continues to delight and terrorize us from one minute to the next. Our kids are appropriately smitten, and I’ve stopped fantasizing about her running away, even after she recently chewed through the cushion of a newly purchased armchair.

It may have been a lapse in judgment that brought her to us, but there’s no denying we love her. She’s simply ours – no logic required.

Julia Ditto lives with her husband, six kids and impulse-buy puppy in a fake farmhouse in the Saltese Flats.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.