Meredith C. Carroll: You’re never fully dressed without a dog

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

If you’re never fully dressed without a smile, being dog-less in Aspen basically makes you naked.

My husband, Rick, has lived here for over two decades and I’m coming up on my 15th Aspen-versary, yet it was just on Saturday that we finally earned the coveted local-dog-owner badge when Harry Potter Carroll officially became the sixth member of our family.

I’m not a big believer in destiny or soul mates, but surely it’s kismet that Rick and I both grew up with white toy poodles. We don’t necessarily dislike larger breeds, although since we’re not particularly fond of big noises and bigger messes, we tend to enjoy creatures such as children and dogs more if they’re petite enough to sit on our laps quietly while not producing poops that require an excavator to ensure proper disposal.

Rick, our son, Quinton, and older daughter, Petunia, have been coveting a dog for forever, thereby giving me ample time to play the villain from an old-timey silent black-and-white film: I rub my hands together sinisterly while laughing maniacally and plotting against my family’s happiness by refusing four-legged creatures entry into our home. Essentially I played the part of the Hamburglar except instead of stealing Big Macs, I’ve absconded with my loved ones’ canine hopes and dreams. I’m definitely not a cool mom, but at least I knew the last thing I needed, wanted or could have handled for the better part of the past decade was worrying about keeping yet one more thing alive.

Our younger daughter, Peony, is allegedly frightened of dogs, although to be fair, she also was terrified during most of the recent “Peanuts” movie. I figured she’d learn to love any living creature we’d end up getting. That included Seashell, the betta fish we got three years ago that everyone lost interest in after 37 minutes. So of course Seashell ended up living long enough to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records — that is, if anyone in our house had noticed or cared enough to alert the media of its annoying longevity.

Lately, though, now that all the two-legged beings in our family are finally wiping their own butts and cleaning up after themselves (you know, theoretically), Rick and I started talking in earnest about a dog. So I emailed the Aspen Animal Shelter’s Seth Sachson last month with the subject line, “Got puppy?”

Seth, the OG dog whisperer, had already been keeping an eye out for our dream dog: some kind of small-ish doodle-mix that doesn’t shed and does well with kids (bonus if he also cleans floors). It couldn’t be too large (our house is small) or too small (since the suspiciously well-fed wildlife in our backyard might confuse it for their regularly scheduled afternoon snacks).

Recently I became infatuated with miniature Bernedoodles, except as I learned from scouring Petfinders, no one gives up dogs that retail for $4K from responsible breeders. It became clear that rescuing a designer pup would be as probable as spotting a unicorn on the Rio Grande trail or figuring out Donald Trump’s actual purpose on the planet: impossible.

But then Seth called last week.

“A dog from a California kill shelter arrived 30 minutes ago,” he said. “He’s not exactly what you’re looking for, but I think you’ll want to meet him.”

With a delicious teddy bear face I dare anyone not to devour, untamed soft brown-and-red curls and a large white tuxedo patch on his chest (because he’s a proper gentleman), Harry Potter, aged 1.5 to 3 years, in his 18 to 20 pounds of fuzz and love, was meant to be. With great uncertainty the vet declared him some kind of terridoodle, but regardless of his pedigree, he’s friendly, funny, fluffy and makes our hearts go pitter-patter. His only flaw so far is his distinct lack of interest in licking our floors clean. We’re pretty sure we love him the same anyway.

Now that he’s been ours for all of 96 hours, we’re pretty much dog experts, rescue heroes and Aspen bona fides. We act like we saved Harry Potter from the electric chair, despite Seth telling us he had a list of people who’d snatch him up if we declined to adopt him. And even though our family has a collective 69 years in Aspen, all of which is made even less impressive by the fact that we’re Tesla- and Birkin-less, with little to no experience with yoga and Botox, we finally feel like a valid part of the community. Or at least we will when we take Harry Potter on his first leash-less walk up Smuggler, where we’ll leave his poop bag on the side of the trail — which, of course, we promise to grab on the way back down.

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at


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