We have a dog, her name is Dahle, she’s a brown and white Shih Tzu.
Today my wife asked me if I would mind picking up the dog from the groomer. She dropped her off earlier in the day, and when they call, I’ve agreed, I will pick her up. It always makes me uncomfortable when I pick up the dog. It should be as simple as saying I’m here to pick up Dahle, and then they bring her to me.
But no, invariably they have the dog in a crate at the front of the store with other dogs, and they say do you see your dog, and they point at the cages. I look and there are two Shih Tzu’s our dog is a Shih Tzu and one of the two looks like our dog, but the grooming has changed its appearance. It looks different. Our dog may still be in the back, and this is just a dog that looks like ours. I worry about embarrassing myself. What will I say if I open the cage and the Shih Tzu’s not ours and bites me? Or what if it acts friendly and I take it to the car just as the real owner shows up and confronts me. Accuses me of trying to steal the dog, and calls the police. I agree it’s not likely, but it’s something I worry about.
I open the cage the dog just sits there, I whisper her name, she looks like Dahle, but she doesn’t wag her tail. I look for her collar and her name tag. I remember it’s in my pocket removed before the grooming and now replaced by a bandana decorated with butterflies and ladybugs and other harbingers of spring, though spring is still months away. I can tell she’s anxious to leave, but any dog would be anxious to leave it’s no guarantee she’s our dog.
I put a collar on her. She doesn’t seem to mind. I lift her and set her on the ground. I can’t tell for sure if she’s ours or just happy that someone is there to spring her. We walk out to the car. She looks back over her shoulder. I open the door, and she tilts her head to the side and looks at me askance. Is it because she doesn’t recognize the car or because she needs my help to get in.
I pick her up and place her on the passenger seat. I get in and start driving home. She seems happy enough. I pet her. She may know me, but she’s not giving it away. I’m pretty sure I have the right dog, but not 100% positive. What if I get her home and the groomer calls and asks what I’m trying to pull. What if my wife comes home, and looks at this dog, maybe ours maybe not, and says what the hell. The dog follows me upstairs and sits on a rug at my feet. I pick up a book and start reading I’m having trouble concentrating, my wife will be home any minute now.