The dog shoots me an apprehensive glance.
I'm near her leash. She's near the door.
Not next to it, or propped up against it, applying pressure with her back end to hold in what's threatening to come out. Just somewhere in the vicinity, like under the dining room table.
I call her. She doesn't move. She's played this game too many times before to bother budging from her comfy spot in the shade unless I have the leash ready in hand. Who knows? I might need to fold laundry, or talk to one of the kids, or do something else that will distract me from the act of walking her.
She also knows My Lovely Wife has been on the phone this morning, talking to someone the way you only talk to someone who probably is a veterinarian. Veterinarianesque questions involve words like "urine," "test," "exam," "appointment," and "not herself." These words were used while My Lovely Wife held the phone to her ear and stared down at the dog.
I finally grab the leash. She uncharacteristically hoists herself off the ground and walks slowly to me, as if I am about to lead her to a poodle-size guillotine. Rubbing behind her ear does nothing to reassure her.
Heading out the front door, she slows as we pass the garage. She thinks she knows what's coming. A fake out. A rouse.
She thinks I think I've tricked her into a walk that will turn into a car ride. She hates car rides, always has, particularly when they end at the veterinarian's office, which is why she tries to apply her brakes.
But we pass the garage without stopping. I encourage her along and her step lightens. We cross the street together and she squats over the sandy soil alongside our quiet lane.
Out of nowhere, I produce a cut-down paper cup that I thrust in the minuscule clearance between poodle hoohah and the ground. She glares at me, but she's a dog, so her indignation subsides quickly. Back in the house, she is relieved and frisky. Red rubber toy hanging from her mouth, she prances upstairs and down in gleeful anticipation of a happy day.
When My Lovely Wife calls her, she leaps off her cozy chair and bounds up the stairs. Little does she suspect where My Lovely Wife will be taking her...
© 2011 Mark Feggeler