And No, I Didn’t Get Their Pictures Made with Santa, Either

Lately, probably because I’m talking about all the people I know of who have had babies, my parents will occasionally get all like “why don’t you go and get married and start having kids so we can have grandchildren before we die?” I think this is also related to the fact that I’m about to turn 25 in a couple of months. (also, holy crap.)

I know it’s not time for me to do these things yet for a few reasons, namely:

  • I’m not seeing anyone seriously, or really, at all;
  • Although life’s biggest moments tend to happen unplanned, or some other sappy forwarded chain email sentiment, I’d prefer to have my life in order a bit before bringing others into it;
  • I’m not entirely certain that I want to have children at all.

This last point was really driven home when I had the bright idea to take the dogs (Sadie on the left, Belle on the right with the big smile) to PETsMART this weekend.

That, by the way, is the official way to type it. PETsMART. That’s going to get annoying fast, so maybe I’ll try to refrain from using the store name again during this entry.

I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. My mom flat-out called me crazy. “I would never take a dog to a store, even if it WAS a dog store,” she said as I loaded the girls into the car. I was very proud that I’d planned ahead and put a big beach towel on the back seat. “Oh, they’ll be fine,” I said. “They’re good dogs.”

And for the majority of the car ride, they were indeed good dogs. Belle is particularly good in the car, and after looking out the windows for a few minutes, she’ll usually just lie down and chill for the rest of the ride. Sadie, on the other hand, wants to look out the windows for the whole ride, but she’s small so she has to stand on her hind legs and stretch to get her head up far enough to see. Incidentally, we call this “meercatting.”

When I had a different car, Sadie was fond of jumping into the back window well, where she could stretch her little hot dog self out and see as far as she wanted. But in my current car, the back seats are too high up for her to make the jump. I heard her scrabbling on the seat cloth and worried that she’d tear a hole in the seat, so I snapped at her to get down.

A few minutes later, she jumped up on the console beside me as I pulled to a stoplight. No big deal, I thought. If she wants to sit on the front seat, fine with me.

But what she really wanted was to sit on the dashboard. No good. Luckily, she had the same jumping issues and I was able to grab her and toss her in the backseat before the light changed. I drove the rest of the way to PETsMART (dammit, I had to type it again after all) keeping an eye on the backseat and my elbow cocked out across the console so she couldn’t get by.

I parked and put their leashes on in the car and got out. We headed for the store, and everything was fine until it was time to cross the street to the store entrance. Sadie was fine with it – if there’s cheese or people involved, Sadie will happily walk out in front of a bus – but Belle was freaked out by the traffic and didn’t want to cross the street. So she pulled back. And I coaxed her and pulled forward a bit. And she sat down. And I gave the leash a little yank, which is when her collar came off and she turned around and started running back toward my car.

A skinny little store employee who looked like he played a lot of Halo was corralling shopping carts, saw Belle, and promptly tackled her. He held her while I sat in the middle of the parking lot and put her collar back on and tightened it up a bit. During the chatting, I said that she’d gotten freaked out by the traffic, and he offered to put her in shopping cart so we could get her across the street. No dice. Belle weighs over 80 pounds and will not be very excited about having those 80 pounds hoisted above the ground by me and Halokid.

I decided that we’d try the street crossing a second time, and if she was still afraid, I’d take her back and put her in the car. Apparently the traffic level was to her liking, because this time she cruised right across the street like she’d been crossing streets all her life.

Inside the store, I learned that Belle and Sadie were very different kinds of shoppers. Sadie wants to browse and check everything out, while Belle wants to get what she came for and get the hell out of the store. She seriously shops with a purpose. Their paths through the store went a little bit like this:

The end of Sadie’s path is where I got tired of untangling her from Belle’s legs and just carried her from then on.

Sadie and Belle were very popular, and I got a whole lot of “look at the ginger dogs!” and “look at the lab and the hot dog!” and “what kind of dog is that?” We recently had Belle clipped short for the winter and she looks almost like a lab, but not quite. Sort of like a fat lab in need of a haircut. But definitely nowhere near as shaggy as she is in the picture above. So I explained to several people that she’s a golden retriever, and we had her clipped, and blah blah whatever.

I got the stuff we needed and made it to the register, even after Belle kept leaving her fleecy bone in the middle of aisles and I had to go back and get it, and Sadie randomly picked a fight with a black lab puppy whose name was also Sadie. Our Sadie played friendly and then started attackdog barking and the puppy freaked out and the owner gave me a stern look as I apologized. The funny part is that Sadie never fights her own fights – if a fight is in order, Belle will have to do it – but people don’t know that and it sounds weird when you try to explain it. So whatever. I made it to the register.

I’d had the bright idea to get them each a big dog biscuit for the car ride back, so it would occupy them and maybe keep Sadie from climbing seats. I had to run into the hardware store to get something and by the time I got back, Sadie had burrowed under the beach towel and was busily gumming her biscuit with what’s left of her teeth. By the time I got home, the left half of my backseat was smeared with gummed up dog biscuit, which looked exactly, precisely like when toddlers eat arrowroot cookies in the car and smear them all over the place.

When I pulled into the driveway, the dogs jumped out of the car all excited and worn out and tired but still running around, and I was toast. My left arm ached from hanging onto Belle’s leash as she quite literally dragged me through the store. My right arm ached from carrying ten pounds of Sadie like a football for part of the excursion. I had drool crusted up on my hoodie from carrying the fleecy bone around after Belle gave up on it. I had dog biscuit dough on another part of the hoodie, and on my hands. My back seat was trashed. My back windows were smeared.

And as my mom stood there laughing, I said quite seriously, “I am SO not having children.”

9 Replies to “And No, I Didn’t Get Their Pictures Made with Santa, Either”

  1. Yeah, as for PETsMART. They are one of our clients at work, and I didn't know, at the beginning, that you always had to type it PETsMART, not Petsmart, and I was sternly reprimanded. Now I have AutoCorrect all set up so I can just type “pm.” A little PETsMART fyi for ya.

  2. Huh. That sounds EXACTLY like taking my kids to the store. Except people look at me funny when I break out the leashes.

  3. When I had a different car, Sadie was fond of jumping into the back window

    when I read that I so didn't think “rear window” – I just imagined this little dog jumping, over and over again, into and against the glass of the back(door) window.

    I prefer that interpretation. oh, and btw, your animals are very attractive.

  4. Great entry!

    I don't dare take my chinchilla to pet stores, but I do love folks who bring their dogs to Petco or other such places…

    The diagram is hilarious. It made my morning.

  5. I take Alberto for walks. He's also afraid of crossing the street. But he's fine if I tell him there's free drinks on the other side.

  6. First of all, numbers one and three on your bulleted list? Yeah, been there. And guess who had a kid anyway? Well, you need to CALL ME because you need to come over and see le bebe because I hate being in this damn house all the time with only the same people to talk to. The end.

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