27 comments

Friendship Contemporary Funny

To: Mr. Bradley Tapper

From: Lydia Hannigan

Subject: Beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 9:15 AM


Dear Mr. Tapper,


I am writing in response to the beagle puppies you advertised. I know you said they would be perfect for a big family, but I live alone and have long wanted a pet in my life. My husband Howard passed away in September, and my kids, well, they’re all on their own now. But I raised three of them, plus dealt with their assortment of fish, turtles and guinea pigs over the years. I think I can handle a puppy. I have a dog park right down the street, and there are always mid-sized dogs running around and playing. I could bring my puppy there for socialization, plus take him or her for lots of walks. 


You probably already have requests from a dozen people who come from big families. But those of us who live alone need a little companionship too. Of course, I have friends, and my kids do come home for regular visits, but I need a companion who will sit beside me on the couch when I’m watching Netflix at night and be waiting at the door when I come home. I promise I would provide this puppy with all my love, care and patience. 


Okay, I’ve probably said too much, but I want you to know how committed I am. Oh, and I can send references, as many as you need. 


Thank you for your consideration,


Sincerely,


Lydia Hannigan



To: Lydia Hannigan

From: Mr. Bradley Tapper

Subject: beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 11:13 AM


Dear Ms. Hannigan,


Thank you for reaching out. We had six puppies to start but all have been promised to families except one. He’s the runt of the litter, and he started out a bit fragile, but he’s greatly improved and to be honest,  he’s a real sweetheart. While the other puppies are chomping away at everything in my house, he cuddles up in my lap while I watch Netflix and when I walk in the door, he gives me those puppy dog eyes through the slats in his crate that tells me he’s been counting the minutes until I got home.  Well, not literally counting, but you get the idea. It kind of the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.


Since you were so honest I will be too. I lost my wife a year ago, and the only living, breathing thing I had in my house was my beautiful beagle Sally. She’s the love of my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. A few months ago,  when she turned 4, I decided to breed her because that was my wife’s dream. I was tempted to forget the whole thing, but I couldn’t let Judith down. Anyway, after I give away these pups, I’m going to have her spayed and consider this breeding thing checked off my list. Having seven dogs in the house has been joyful, but boy I’ll be happy when it's just me and Sally again, taking our walks and keeping each other company. 


Anyway, if you want the little runt, he’s all yours. I’d be grateful if you took him, because I can’t imagine him with a big family and lots of kids picking him up. He’s delicate, but so sweet. I’ve attached a photo of the clan. He’s the only one sitting quietly while the others destroy my house.  I’ve named him Willy because that’s what he looks like to me, but he’s so young, you can re-name him whatever you want.


I’m banking on the fact that you’ll fall in love, but if not I understand. 


Best,


Bradley Tapper


To: Mr. Bradley Tapper

From: Lydia Hannigan

Subject: Beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 11:40 AM


Bradley,


I think I’m in love. I mean with Willy. That’s the perfect name for that adorable little face of his. As soon as I saw the photo, tears came to my eyes. Boy, I’m going to let that little guy walk all over me. I’m already so smitten. Yes, yes, yes, I’ll take him!!!


What a sweet story about your wife. I’m sure it would be easy to forget what she wanted and just enjoy your beautiful little Sally. But think of it this way - you’re spreading the joy to so many other people. That’s a wonderful gift to all of us and to Judith.  You must be a wonderful man. Howard was wonderful too, but I’m not sure he would have done what you did. It takes a very special soul to bring a litter of puppies into the world without any experience. 


It's funny because little Willy isn’t even mine yet, but as I’ve been staring at his picture, I feel renewed, like my life is starting all over again. Let me know when I can pick him up from you, oh and what I need to take care of him. I’m going to go shopping right away. I always look at those cute little dog toys longingly. I’m going to have fun stocking up on everything he needs – and then some. 


I’m going to print the photo and hang it on my fridge until the big day. Can’t wait to meet my little boy. 


Oh, and let me know if you need references. 


Lydia


To: Lydia Hannigan

From: Mr. Bradley Tapper

Subject: beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 3:40 PM


Lydia,


Sorry to take all afternoon to get back to you. I had my first set of parents pick up their puppy this afternoon, and it was a bit insane here for a while. Mom and dad came with their three little ones, and they were running all over my house while I transitioned Genie (the one in the middle with the black spot on her nose) to the smell and sounds of her new family. To be honest, I was sad to see her go. I still have six dogs here – six! That’s more than enough. But a little piece of my heart left with Genie. I guess I’m becoming a sentimental type in my old age (well, not old, but getting there). 


I have families picking up pups all this weekend and early next week. Then it will be just me and Sally and Willy. Do you want to come on Wednesday the 14th? Oops, just realized that’s Valentine’s Day.  I don’t think about V-Day these days, but of course if you have plans, come Thursday or Friday. Any day, really. I’ll hold onto your little love until you’re ready.


I’ve attached a list of everything you need, with an article on caring for your puppy and information on vaccines and vets and all those necessary details. And don’t worry about references. I can tell you’re going to be a wonderful mom to Willy. He’s a lucky guy. 


Brad






To: Mr. Bradley Tapper

From: Lydia Hannigan

Subject: Beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 5:45 PM


Brad,


I can’t thank you enough. I’ve already read through everything you sent and made a shopping list.  I’ll buy everything this weekend and be all set to bring my little boy home on Wednesday – as long as you’re really okay that it’s V-Day. The kids will send me a beautiful bouquet of roses and each call me as soon as they get home from work, but it’s still a day I like to keep busy. If you don’t mind I can come late in the afternoon. I work at the food bank for their Valentine’s Day lunch, so I’m warning you, I may show up smelling like chicken and red sauce. But maybe I can grab you a piece of red velvet cake. It’s the least I can do to thank you.   


Can’t wait,


Lydia


To: Lydia Hannigan

From: Mr. Bradley Tapper

Subject: beagle puppies

Date: Friday, February 9, 2024, 6:30 PM


Lydia,


That sounds perfect. I’ll be here all afternoon and make sure Willy is bathed and ready to meet his new mama. Boy, the house will be quiet once he’s gone, but at least I’ll be able to give my Sally some well-deserved attention. I forgot what the house was like before the puppy invasion. I haven’t had a dull moment. Here I complained for the past eight weeks, and now I’m sorry to see them go. Maybe Judith knew what she was doing when she made me promise to breed these little charmers. 


That’s really wonderful that you work at a local food bank – and especially on a holiday where people can feel so lonely. I really admire that. By the way, I love red velvet cake, but if you can’t get me a piece that’s fine. Giving this pup a good home is all the thanks I need. 


See you on Wednesday. 


Brad


*** 


Lydia spent the next five days shopping for her new puppy and staring at the photo of him and his littermates. She had this urge to write back to Brad, but her plan to pick up Willy was set, so there was nothing more to discuss. She’d already blathered way too much in her emails to him and didn’t want to bother him anymore. It’s just that she had connected with him, and that never happened to her. He had been through a similar loss and seemed to understand her. But she had to remind her this was a business transaction.  She read way too many romance novels. That kind of connection didn’t happen, especially through email, and especially to women her age.  


When Wednesday finally arrived, she finished with the Valentine’s Day lunch early. She had time go home and shower and change into a clean pair of jeans and a sweater. As she applied makeup and dried her hair, she thought how silly she was to be dressing up to meet Willy. But she didn’t have many occasions to think about her appearance, and it felt good to look in the mirror and see the shine in her cheeks and eyes. 


She drove to the address Brad had given her, the leash and a few clean new toys sitting on the baby blue doggy car seat she bought and carefully installed this morning.  She parked in the driveway, as he instructed, and walked up to the large wooden door, two slices of red velvet cake tucked into a small handle bag. She took a deep breath before she rang the bell, trying to get rid of the jitters she felt in her stomach. She heard barking and footsteps, and then the sound of Brad talking, before he finally opened the door. He was grinning, with bright green eyes and thick hair that was peppered with gray. She heard a squeal and got her first glimpse of her little Willy. He was cuddled in Brad’s arms, his pink tongue out as he panted excitedly.


“Come in,” Brad said, his voice sounding more shy than the bold and funny voice in his emails. She stepped into the house and found herself face to face with him in the small entrance hall. “I brought you cake,” she said, feeling suddenly silly to be carrying second-hand cake as she put the bag down on the hall table.


“Thank you,” Brad said, looking genuinely pleased. Willy strained toward her, as if he knew Lydia was his mom. She reached out to grab him just as Brad grabbed him tighter to keep him from jumping. Their fingers touched, and they both smiled, first at the anxious little puppy and then at each other. Lydia has told this man about her life, and her husband and her loneliness, but now she was speechless.


“Why don’t we take this little guy into the living room. We can sit down with him on the puppy mat, and you can get to know him,” he said, leading her into the house.


“I’d like that,” Lydia said, her voice cracking. She felt like crying, as all the emotions of this moment hit her at once.


“I’d like that too,” Brad added quickly. “…for you two to get acquainted.”


Lydia smiled, and at that moment she knew. Maybe he did too. They sat down together on the rubber mat, their legs just inches apart, as little Willy ran between them, sniffing, rolling and playing. Eventually a larger beagle came over. “Sally!” Lydia said as if she was meeting an old friend. Sally sniffed her and nuzzled her hand before she squeezed between Brad and Lydia’s legs, finding just the right spot to curl up and close her eyes.


The two continued to watch Willy and laugh at his puppy antics, with Sally both separating and connecting them through her warm touch. Lydia didn’t know what the future would look like, but her heart felt full for the first time in as long as she could remember.

February 10, 2024 18:24

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27 comments

Alexis Araneta
14:44 Feb 16, 2024

Hi, Karen! Very lovely concept here. I love how the dogs brought them together. Adorable!

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Karen Hope
17:37 Feb 16, 2024

Thank you! I figured puppies and love would go together - and make a fun story!

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Danie Holland
23:24 Feb 17, 2024

I think it’s pretty amazing. We get these holes sometimes. Where people who belonged to us use to be and then they aren’t and it’s an ache. But then through pure happinstance. It’s possible to meet someone. Who gets it, who understands. They have a hole like that too. And then they are able to fill each other up. Patch that hole. And all of a sudden the ache isn’t so achey anymore. I really loved this story. You did a good job painting a picture of two lonely people enduring their days and finding hope again through what has been an empty s...

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Karen Hope
00:51 Feb 18, 2024

Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback. I never thought that email and puppies could bring two people together - but that's what's fun about these writing prompts. You never know where they will take you!

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Christy Morgan
15:24 Feb 15, 2024

What a great premise for a love story, Karen! Puppies always add something extra between people. Very well done -- I'll look forward to reading more of your works!

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Karen Hope
18:53 Feb 15, 2024

Thank you - so glad you enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more of your work as well!!

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Trudy Jas
10:59 Feb 11, 2024

How cute is this! Puppies are good. Puppies are always good. And a great way to connect. Really enjoyed it. I found on "breading" (brad's answer feb 9)

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Karen Hope
18:18 Feb 11, 2024

Thank you! I loved the idea of falling in love through email and puppies. Glad you did too! What did you find on “breading”? I didn’t understand.

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Trudy Jas
18:44 Feb 11, 2024

Just a misspelling. sure you meant breeding.

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Karen Hope
18:49 Feb 11, 2024

Oops - I just corrected. Thank you! I guess both me and spell check missed that one.

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Trudy Jas
19:25 Feb 11, 2024

Darn autocorrect.. :-)

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Adel Kelley
18:53 Feb 26, 2024

I completely understand having puppies! XD. This was very well written!

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Karen Hope
19:12 Feb 26, 2024

Thank you for your kind feedback, Claire. And welcome to Reedsy!

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Jenny Cook
02:05 Feb 24, 2024

A lovely story of puppy love hopefully developing into something deeper?

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Karen Hope
13:55 Feb 24, 2024

I’m hopeful for them! Thank you for reading.

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Judith Jerdé
14:49 Feb 18, 2024

Karen, a beautiful love story. I could almost feel the soft little puppy (Willy) my arms. Very cute story and so well composed.

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Karen Hope
00:21 Feb 19, 2024

Thank you for reading! Little Willy started feeling real to me too.

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08:44 Feb 18, 2024

So cute! I really enjoyed your story.

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Karen Hope
00:18 Feb 19, 2024

Thank you. It was a fun one to write!

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Kristina Aziz
14:33 Feb 17, 2024

A very cozy story!

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Karen Hope
00:16 Feb 19, 2024

Thank you!

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Paul Simpkin
13:45 Feb 17, 2024

Beautiful story. It works very well. You get the tone just right.

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Karen Hope
23:03 Feb 17, 2024

Than you - I appreciate that. It was a fun prompt to work with!

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Yuliya Borodina
10:30 Feb 17, 2024

I like how real the email exchange feels --I want a puppy now and it's all your fault, haha. I love that it all ends on such a gentle hopeful promise!

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Karen Hope
23:02 Feb 17, 2024

Thank you - I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sorry to make you want a puppy. I take full responsibility for that ;).

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Linda Pegalis
01:39 Feb 17, 2024

Puppies are always a draw for me, and I especially enjoyed how two people with prior positive relationships are drawn together.

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Karen Hope
01:10 Feb 18, 2024

Thank you! The puppy brings them together but (as you said) it is their positive past relationships - and their loneliness - that enable them to feel connected.

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