In the novel Corgi Capers: Deceit on Dorset Drive, the Hollinger family finds their new pets after a series of seemingly-random occurrences. But as wise Grandpa Pickwick tells them, a coincidence is often more than it seems. My own life serves as inspiration for that bit of wisdom, as the day my husband and I found our two corgis, many things happened serendipitously. And in my mind, that’s just another word for Fate.
For Christmas 2008, my husband had wrapped up a little piece of paper stating that I had his blessing to get a dog. I am not one to cry, but I teared up a little at the gift. It had been a battle years in the making, with me constantly asking for a dog and never being told “yes.” Each Christmas prior to 2008, all I asked for was permission to get a dog, and each year that request had been denied. In 2008, I had given up, so the gift came as a surprise.
On Saturday, February 7, 2009, the movie Coraline had just been released. Normally, my husband and I don’t see movies in the theatres right away—we wait a few weeks to avoid the crowds. But I wanted to see the movie so badly that I just couldn’t wait. We went to an early show all the way in Tysons Corner—cheap matinee pricing, comfy seats, and a huge mall to boot. Still, there were plenty of closer theatres we could have chosen. Additionally, we went to a relatively early morning show even though there was a later one we could have attended.
The deal, as usual, was that I would drive to the theatre, and my husband would drive home. We left the mall in no particular hurry. Neither of us had eaten yet, and we planned on stopping for lunch on the way home. But contrary to normal, my husband convinced me to drive home. When he drives back from the movies, I usually put the passenger seat all the way back and stretch out until we get home. If my husband had been driving, I would have been happily stretched out in the passenger seat, and fate would have passed me by.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, I was driving.
“Wasn’t it cute how there were so many dogs in the movie?” I asked.
In the film, there is a scene where an entire theatre is filled with dogs.
My husband groaned. He is not, nor has he ever been, a dog lover.
“Don’t worry,” I reminded him. “Even though you told me I could get a dog, I promised I wouldn’t actively search for one. I know you don’t want one, so unless one slaps me in the face, I’m not going to look.”
Little did I know these were my famous last words.
I resumed my mindless driving. As usual, Route 7 was littered with a barrage of signs, each advertising something or other. Trying to keep my eyes on the road, I ignored them. But there was something up the road that was so out-of-place that it jarred me from my driving. A woman with signs under her arm was hammering something into a telephone pole. It was only the strangeness of it that made me look at the sign.
And that’s when my heart skipped a few beats. CORGI PUPPIES FOR SALE, the sign read.
“Did you see that?” I asked my husband.
The look on his face told me he had.
“You’d better turn around,” he mumbled. “
Really?” I squeaked in disbelief.
“I told you you could get a dog, didn’t I?”
I turned around and hurried up the driveway.
“That was fast,” a woman said as I jumped out of the car. “My daughter didn’t even finish putting up all the signs yet.”
I realized how perfect my timing had been. Literally, if we had left the mall ten seconds earlier, the sign would not have been up yet. If I had sped through one yellow light, or driven just slightly faster, the sign wouldn’t have been up yet. Come to think of it, if I had been much slower, the woman would have been finished hammering in her sign, and I probably would have ignored it along with all the other signs littering the road. It was literally perfect timing.
“Remember,” my husband said, “purebred corgis are expensive. We’re just looking. We’ll only buy one if the price is right and you like their personalities.”
I nodded, swallowing over a lump in my throat that told me they’d be priced beyond our range. Luckily I was wrong. The woman selling the dogs had two adult corgis at home, and her female had become pregnant unexpectedly. She was trying to sell the puppies before the new liter arrived.
There were four dogs left in the liter. I had wanted a female, but the only one in the liter was wild. She wouldn’t stay still for me and only quieted when my husband held or pet her. So instead, we asked about their personalities and selected the most mellow puppy, a male.
But on the way to the car, my husband stopped. “Do you think we should get two?” he asked.
“What?” I thought I must have misheard.
“I mean, they can keep each other company while we’re at work,” he muttered. I couldn’t believe my ears. And of course I didn’t object.
Our choice for the second puppy was a no-brainer: the only female of the liter practically jumped into the arms of her favorite person, my husband.
When we found them, the puppies were old enough that their personalities were well-established from the start. Yoda, the Fraidy Cat, cried as soon as we pulled into our garage. He yelped and ran under the car, hiding despite our coaxing. Meanwhile, his curious and rambunctious sister Leia had already circled the car twice, exploring all the smells in her new garage. And it’s been an adventure ever since.
There is much in life that is beyond our control. There are some things we just have to accept, and there are battles we fight never really knowing whether we’ll win in the end. But amidst all the struggles of life, it’s nice to know that there are events out there that coincide perfectly. Like a trip to the movies. Events that make it seem like a benevolent power is pushing us toward our destinies. After all, as Grandpa Pickwick likes to say, I’ve been around long enough to know that a coincidence is often more than it seems.