Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old Ladies And Puppies Are A Lot Alike

Taking my new puppy out to potty is somewhat similar to taking my Mom to Walmart.

At Walmart, Mom leans against her cart, moving at a speed that makes a Galapagos tortoise look like a NASCAR driver. She must fondle every item, even things that have no bearing whatsoever on our lives.

"Why are we in the Infant's Department, Mom, we don't even know an infant?"

"I wish they'd had such sweet little clothes when you were a baby," she says, fingering pink ruffles.

"I haven't been a baby for 65 years. Can we move along, please?"

We're in electronics, an area of the store that is totally alien to Mom. She has never turned on a computer; she refuses to consider a cell phone.

"What's this?" she asks.

"It's a thumb drive,"  I answer with a sigh.

"What's a thumb drive?"

Oh, geez.

Mom puts a box of lemon Jello in the cart.

"We already have 42 boxes of lemon Jello at home."

"We do?"

"Yes, you buy a box of lemon Jello every time we come to the store but you never fix it."

"I don't like lemon Jello. I thought you liked it."

"Nope."

Two and a half hours later, I'm gratefully shepherding her out of the store.

Now to my dog, Channie, a 9 month old blonde Pekinese whose previous owners obviously never taught her even the most rudimentary concepts of house-breaking. When we go outside, she is totally uninterested in doing her business. I'm shivering in the morning chill as she sniffs every individual blade of grass, stares enthralled at a Robin, tries to eat a pinecone, chases a butterfly. She is fascinated by sticks and stones and the sound of passing motorcycles. She goes on instant alert when faint barking can be heard from the next block over. She wants to play with every passing child and go along to accompany every jogger.

The entire time, she ignores me as I beg, "c'mon, Honey, let's go potty so we can go back in."

When you can finally tell from her attitude that she's thinking along the lines of her mission, she must find exactly the right spot. She has a sense of urgency as she checks over here ("maybe this is it? No, not here") then runs over there ("no, not here either!") She starts to squat, then bounds back up when she realizes she's made an error in judgment and the perfect place is three feet to the right under the red bud tree.

I'm gritting my teeth, trying to summon up my last remaining shreds of patience. I can't growl; I can't yell. I'm supposed to make going outside to go to the bathroom a happy experience, one she'll want to repeat.

Finally, finally, she accomplishes her purpose.

"Good girl," I praise her, "good girl, Channie!"

We go back inside and I sit down with my coffee, knowing I'll be back out in a hour going through the same routine....and the next hour.....and the next. At least, I only have to take Mom to Walmart once a week.