Friday, December 27, 2013

Gone to the dogs

     This is something new under the sun, I thought, gazing down at Sushi, the store dog at Wags on Willow, a pet emporium in the Willow Festival mall flanking the Whole Foods in Northbrook.
     It wasn't the sort of store I normally frequent. We have a dog, but are not constantly on the prowl for high end snacks and cable knit sweaters and the like. We feed Kitty — our dog — and keep her well-groomed and provided with snacks. Additional finery does not seem necessary. 
     But we were killing time before picking up our youngest at his tennis lesson. I paused, gazing into a toy store, and my wife said, "We don't have little boys anymore," and then, perhaps to brush away the melancholy of that thought, added, as we passed the next shop, Wags, "...but we do have a dog."
     So we looked in. Perhaps a new collar? I admired one with little cupcakes on it.  Kitty would look fine in that....
     In the back, we met Sushi, a pug, obviously. The earrings caught my attention immediately. More than my attention, they caught my concern. Ribbons are one thing. This seemed ominous. I made my way to the counter.
     "Your pug," I ventured, gingerly. "Its ears...they're not pierced are they?" I asked of the owner.
     "No," said Mary Bowler. "They stick on. The groomer did it. They'll last until her next shampoo." 
     Sushi is 14, and completely deaf, and also had a sparkly kind of applique stuck on her left hind quarter.  Every dog owner is occasionally confronted by surprises, if not shocks, when a dog returns from the groomer — sometimes our dog, Kitty, looks like a collaborator who has been seized by a mob of fellow Parisians after the war and humiliated. Though, lest I seem to be slurring an entire industry, usually she looks just swell, sharp and trimmed and ready to sniff the other dogs on the street.
     And Sushi, who also sports a fine Burberry-like bow tie, seemed very content and well-tended for, ambling around the store, which featured an enormous oil of her mournful face behind the cash register. So this is not to take anything away from Mary, who seemed very nice, nor the store, which we plan to return to, with Kitty, to try on collars and see how they look. That said, for the record, I am not a fan of affixing things to your pets. Though the earrings are really no different than the pink ribbons Kitty sometimes come home with. While the ribbons give her a slight air of indignity, they also have a sweet, feminine quality, and I'm slightly sorry, a day or two later when they fall off, though not sorry enough to put them back on.


  1. You have a dog named Kitty??? Isn't that a bit like naming a boy Sue? Don't worry about being melancholy around toy stores. If you become a Grandpa, you'll have plenty of opportunities to visit them once again. The really neat thing about being a Grandpa is that you get the joy without the responsibilities that go along with being a parent. Plus, you and the little pumpkins will get along very well since you have a common enemy.

    Grandkids can be very funny. One of them told us while he was staying with us for a few days prior to Christmas that he wanted every day to be back home with his parents. When they finally arrived, he told them that he wanted to now stay with us but that he would miss them. :-)

    1. Well, formally "Katrina" but, just like her namesake in "Anna Karenina," everyone calls her Kitty.


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