In which we are frightened

Today Luna and I went on a quick trip to our favorite pet supply store, It’s A Pet’s LIfe in Plymouth, Minnesota.   They have a great selection of natural and organic pet foods and treats, plus all the other supplies you need to care for your companion animals.  Plus, they deliver.  This is huge in my book.  When you buy as much animal product as I do, it’s essential.   When I have a small order, though, I will just make the five minute drive and pick the things up.  Plus, Luna really likes to go to the store.  This time, I needed to pick up some frozen raw food for the cats, some canned pumpkin for Luna, and whatever treat or toy would catch Luna’s fancy.  (Spoiled? Not she!)

Luna was kind of sorry she’d insisted on coming along for this one, as there was something really scary in the store.  Was it the resident bird, a rescued grey and white parrot?  A menacing mastiff, with drooling jowls and a low, fearsome growl?   A small, erratically moving child?  Nope, it was Jake, the owner’s four pound Yorkie.  I hadn’t seen Jake in months, maybe a year or more.  But there he was, with his silky coat and pert ears, an adorable little imp.

When I saw that Jake was in the store, my muscle memory kicked in and I gripped the leash more tightly, as my whole body tensed and my lungs took in oxygen in shallow, forced breaths.  My late, lamented Daisy trained me well and I couldn’t help but flash on the scene that would have unfolded had she been the one at the end of that colorful Halloween leash?  While Daisy was a renowned party-pooper and didn’t enjoy surprises at all, she really despised small dogs.  Daisy would go from 0-60 in two seconds and there was little I could do to reel her back in.  It would have been ugly.  Consequently, we didn’t go anywhere together.

Back to the present and Luna.   Jake approached us with the cool assurance of an experienced maitre d’ and there wasn’t a growl or a show of teeth by my brave girl.  They sniffed each other and each dog retreated, Jake with a show of indifference and Luna with a big dog-sigh of relief.  He hadn’t hurt her!

Normally, when we visit the store, we walk around and look at what’s new, maybe take advantage of the dog scale to make sure my active dog is maintaining her sixty-eight pound weight. Luna will let her nose decide which aisle we visit first and my arm is always being pulled in a direction I don’t plan on going.  Today, though, she pressed against my leg while I opened the freezer that holds the raw diet.  Walking to the register, she decided she was ready to leave and pulled me towards the glass door where she looked wistfully out at the safety of the parking lot.   I was firm for once and insisted she accompany me the ten feet to pay for the food, where she positioned herself between me and the counter.

At some point during the transaction, Luna the Bold felt confident enough to sniff at another customer and her cocker spaniel, to eye the parrot and act like her curious self.  But then he returned.

Jake strolled out from behind the counter and looked at her.  I felt my dog stiffen and could almost hear her whining voice: Please, mom, let’s go.  Pleeeeeeeze.  Now.  Let’s go home!

My card had been charged and my purchases stowed in my canvas shopping bag, so we were free to sprint to the door, then hurry to the car where I opened the hatchback and Luna jumped in without giving me time to unhook the leash from her collar.

I have no idea what telepathic communication or canine body language went on between them or why Luna was so worried about the Yorkie.  Jake has always seemed to be a polite and upstanding little guy.   Maybe he didn’t like a big black and tan shepherd barging into his store and demanding all the human attention.  Maybe he reminded her of a rather large squirrel that would take vengeance on her for chasing his grandpa up our  big maple tree day after day.   It’s part of the Infinite Unknowable that the dog world keeps hidden from this human.