Not Really My Dog, But Boy I Wish She Was
by Nicole Freire
A while back, I wrote a teeny article for Edhat about how irritated I became at the discovery that somewhere along the line, grocery stores decided to stop automatically putting gallons of milk into a grocery bag. This was awkward for me, as I like my milk in a bag. So instead of relaxing in the checkout line and trying to watch the scanner for any items I might be overcharged for, I had to be hyper-vigilant about watching for the milk to go by on the conveyor belt. Then I had to watch to see if the bagger was going to put the milk back into the grocery cart sans bag - and if they did - then stopping the whole transaction to ask nicely if they could please put my milk in a bag.
It was stressful.
During 2008, the matriarch of Chez Freire (hey, that's me!) stopped shopping at big grocery stores and started patronizing Trader Joe's instead. This was mostly due to the granola and because I love Hawaiian shirts. Ok, that last part I made up. But the folks at Trader Joe's are nice (they help me choose) and I get a little excited each time I bring my own bags and get to fill out a raffle ticket. Also, TJ's always has blueberries. And hummus. Great vegetable samosas too.
I do have to make the occasional trip to a big grocery store because the toilet paper at TJ's is not…….does not…. feel……good. And they don't carry Jet Dry or lotion-infused Kleenex. But I digress as usual.
I still had to watch out for the milk though. And because everyone is so nice at Trader Joe's and the checkers and the baggers like to chat with you, I felt I had to add a little something to my request about bagging the darn milk. So, the milk would go by, the bagger would swing it back into the cart and I would have to say, "Oh, hey, could you put the milk in a bag for me? Thanks!"
And then I started to add "because otherwise the milk gets dog hair on it". Sounds reasonable, right? But no employee of TJ's is going to let the ‘because of the dog hair' comment just slip by without asking, "Hey, what kind of dog?" So I started lying about having a dog.
I do not have a dog. But I wasn't lying about having a dog as much as I was appropriating a dog for conversational needs.
And the dog does exist; she belongs to my parents. Isn't she pretty? Look, she even wears scarves. So fashionable.
If she belongs to my parents and I'm their daughter, then I get to have some sort of claim on her, right? That way, I can continue the dog conversation with the nice TJ's folks like this:
Me: "Oh, the dog? She's a rescued racing greyhound."
TJ employee: "Blah blah blah?"
Me: "They're wonderful dogs. So sweet and loving and gentle. Great with kids. And they're crate trained."
TJ employee: "Wow, blah blah!"
Me: "Oh, but you can never let them off leash. They're too fast and they only go forward. Trained for racing and all that."
TJ employee: "So blah blah blah?
Me: "Oh, they come from all over the country. There is this great rescue organization we got her from and they're wonderful people."
And by the end of our conversation about my beautiful and well-trained dog, it's time for me to take my bags of blueberries and granola fixings and head out of the store. I've got my milk in a bag, guilt-free.
(Just a question for you readers, have you ever won one of the raffle drawings at Trader Joe's? Ever known anyone who has?)
I would love to have a dog - especially my parents' dog. Did I tell you her name? It's Maudie. Maudie D. Dog. Seriously, it's written that way on her adoption papers.
I would love to have a pet, but our landlord, whom I adore if you all remember, is not too keen on pets. Except for the one in our backyard.
I'd like to have a kitten too that I could pick up and squeeze, one who would grow up into a cat who would ignore me until it got hungry and would sleep on my pillow to make me sneeze. I will settle however, for appropriating this wonderful greyhound.
But really, this dog of mine, she is amazing and has these deep lovely eyes that you could gaze into for hours. And you could have a dog just as wonderful as mine! I mean, she's not mine, I'm just borrowing her (I do get to dog sit occasionally, which is great) but I'm not lying about the wonderful organization that made such a great match between Maudie and my folks.
Here they are.
I double dog dare you not to fall in love with the dogs you'll see on their website. And check their calendar - once a month they have a quiet (because greyhounds don't bark, did you know that?) meet and greet at the Petco over at Five Points. You could wander over there on the pretext of shopping at Ross Dress For Less or getting a smoothie at Blenders and then casually meander over to see these sweet dogs.
Tell them Maudie sent you.
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Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.