Is it You Dahle?

Is it You Dahle?
We have a dog named 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 I agreed that when they call, 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 cage at the front of the store with other dogs in cages, and they say, “Do you see your dog?” and they point at the cages. I look, and there are two shih tzus, 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 szu’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? What if she confronts me, accuses me of trying to steal her dog, and calls the police? I agree, it’s not likely, but it’s something I worry about.
She looks like Dahle. I open the cage, but she just sits there. I whisper her name, but she doesn’t wag her tail. I look for her collar and her name tag. I remember that the name tag is in my pocket. It was removed before the grooming and is 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, happy that someone’s there to spring it; it’s no guarantee she’s our dog.
I put the collar on her. She doesn’t seem to mind. I then lift her, set her on the ground, and walk her 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? After picking her up and placing 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 I’m not 100 percent 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 though I’m having trouble concentrating as my wife will be home any minute now. Then the front door opens, and I hear my wife calling her name. I drop my book at my feet, and Dahle is gone

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