I love our pets, dearly. I really really do. There’s hardly anything I wouldn’t do for them. Molly needs a several thousand dollar surgical procedure? Done. Dexter seems “lethargic” and needs overnight observation and fluids? Of course. Good quality food? Naturally. Religious flea, tick and heart worm treatments? You bet.
But I’m not completely insane. Animals are still animals. And I tend to get a little indignant when I see people treating animals, especially “shelter” animals in a manner I suspect they wouldn’t treat a disadvantaged human being.
Yesterday afternoon, as Mac was napping in the car, Chris dropped me off at the curb outside the PetCo to QUICKLY get our monthly $100+ worth of food, treats, and cat litter.
The first thing I noticed was what appeared to be a very loud, butt sniffing convention occurring just outside the front doors. There was some sort of adoption event occurring. Husband, “If I had known there was an adoption event going on, I would have brought Tilghman.”
As I was trying to navigate the frenzy of leashes and drool, I had the unfortunate luck to get stuck behind a woman wielding a shopping cart and her 6 or 7-year-old daughter.
The carts are located in the vestibule area of the store, so there’s another set of automatic doors to get through before you actually reach the pet product hell that is PetCo. Typically, this isn’t a difficult passage to navigate.
Unless you are in a hurry.
I can’t seem to get around this woman and her kid. They have come to a dead stop just beyond the second set of automatic doors. And the woman is going crazy fawning over three nervous looking greyhounds all sporting some kind of ridiculous looking vests.
I stand on my tip toes and crane my neck to see what the hold up is. That’s when I realized Crazy Dog Lady is reaching in her purse and gathering cash from her wallet. Each one of these dogs has a vest that is complete with a clear plastic pouch/pocket on the sides. The vests are embroidered with the words “Donation Dog.”
I attempt to remain patient as the woman stuffs dollar bills into each dog’s vest like they are some kind of exotic dancers. She’s completely oblivious to the 3 deep line of shopping carts stacked up behind her.
I figured we were in the clear once her cash ran out. But instead she took two steps and was distracted by the kittens to our right. Ugh. Kittens.
She again comes to a dead stop in the middle of the main aisle leading into the store and starts lecturing the kid about how the kid can pet the kittens but since “Mommy’s allergic, you know we can’t take one home.”
Oh. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. I just want some damned dog food already!
I glare at one of the greyhounds and it retreats enough to allow me to squeeze past Crazy Dog Woman and her daughter and I attempt to race towards the back of the store. My forward progress is impeded by several dogs zigzagging through the aisles, one child pitching a colossal fit near the rodents, and an obscene amount of products on the floor in nearly every aisle. The place is a damned disaster area.
I’m equally as frustrated upon my arrival in the dog food section. They seem to not have the size bag of dog food we typically purchase. . .only smaller ones. I wander the aisle until I happen upon an employee. I ask him if they have any larger bags of dry dog food. He very helpfully leads me back to a shelf where he points to a large empty area and says they do not. Thanks boy wonder. . .I didn’t notice that before. I keep my wits about me, thank him politely and had towards the cat section of the store.
I’m intercepted by another employee asking if I needed any assistance. I’m so annoyed I can barely form an intelligible sentence. ”Um. . .No. Well, I needed a larger bag of dog food but I was told you are out. . .So this one. I’m getting this one instead. Oh never mind, no thank you. I don’t need any assistance,” I stammer as I nearly ram the cart into a huge pile of puppy training pads lying all over the floor. It would assist me greatly if you paused to clean up your shelves.
I grab a bag of cat kibble and heave a massive 42 pound bag of cat litter into the cart and head towards the cat treat aisle. There I’m met with the ever-helpful female employee I was stammering at just a few short moments earlier.
I grab two kinds of tartar control cat treats and head back to the cart. My back is towards the woman when she says, “Hey, do your cats eat only one kind of treat?”
I turn around wearily and answer her. They are not picky about their treats.
Well, that was all the opening she needed. All of a sudden I was subjected to an ear-full about how one customer’s cat will only eat a specific treat and she was trying to help her find a suitable substitute. And her own cats really love the dog’s jerky treats. And one time at band camp. . .
I smile and nod politely barely hearing every third word. I feel my leg start to involuntarily twitch. I have a husband circling a parking lot full of barking dogs with our child trying to nap in the backseat. Come on lady. Gimme me a break and shut it already.
I almost make a clean break by continuing to push my cart with my back out of the opposite end of the aisle. And just as I’m about free, she walks towards me saying she really likes my hair. That’s very sweet but I’m not in the mood.
I try to brush off her compliment by shocking her with the sad truth: I haven’t washed my hair in at least 5 days and it’s an absolute rat’s nest.
Undeterred, she continues to walks towards me, “But your’s looks like a good mess. My head is covered in cowlicks.”
I am NOT a stylist lady!!!
I try to offer some small words of encouragement but my patience is wearing very thin. I tell her I like her hat and that I often wear hats too.
She says something else and another something and I finally cut her off by wishing her a good day and bolt through two more crowded aisles towards the check out. . .
Which was a complete cluster.
There were two lanes open, each with lines stretching back behind that stupid ala carte doggy biscuit buffet. Seriously? How stale must those things be?
I select a line closest to the exit with a competent-looking cashier. Yes, I’m in line directly behind Crazy Dog Lady. Yet, her cart looks nearly empty so I feel comfortable with my decision.
I listen to Crazy Dog Lady talk and talk about how cute all the shelter dogs are and how if they didn’t already have 4 dogs, she would adopt one. They really are unfortunate and need good homes. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. My leg is twitching again. I regret having left my phone in the car.
Crazy Dog Lady steps up to the register. And then it happens: She discovers one of the rope toys she’s selected for her canine menagerie is on sale for two dollars.
“Two Dollars?!” she practically roars.
She orders her daughter to go back to that area of the store and gather up all the similar discounted toys she can find.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. It feels as if the earth has stopped turning on its axis. I can hear the blood rushing through my ears. My blood pressure must be reaching a critical level.
I’m beyond annoyed.
I try to shift things in my cart so all of the little scan codes are in a readily accessible spot for the cashier.
Daughter finally returns with 2 more rope toys.
“Was that all of them?” Crazy Dog Lady queries in a disappointed tone. ”Go back and check on the floor in front to the toys.”
Daughter is off like a shot again. For a split second I considered tripping her as she bolted past me.
After enduring another near eternity, Daughter returns empty-handed.
Cha-Ching. My turn bitches.
But just then another oh-so-helpful employee points out there’s an entire rack of discounted pet toys at the of the checkout aisle. Why would you put that junk right there? This place is clearly run by idiots.
So I wait some more, while Crazy Dog Lady examines all the cheap shit her dogs will undoubtedly destroy by dinner time. . .assuming she even makes it out of the store by dinner time.
I audibly clear my throat and tap my foot. The cashier looks at me sympathetically.
Crazy Dog Lady returns finally satisfied she’s found her fill of discounted dog toys. I shoot her a searing glance but she’s oblivious.
They make their way towards the exit and the cashier quickly handles my transaction. And just as I’m about to exit myself, there is shouting to “Close all the doors. Hurry! Close all the doors.”
An employee quickly shuts the automatic door mere feet from the end of my cart.
What the hell? Did one of those stripper dogs shoplift a hamster or something?
As it turns out someone’s stupid puppy escaped from the dog training area and was on the loose in the store.
“That’s marvelous,” I mutter under my breath at the employee stationed near the door.
Please please please pretty please let me out of this zoo.
I’m smiling at her but I’m pretty sure my eyes ready CRAZY because she barely so much as looked at me until she hurriedly opened the door so I could exit.
Back outside, Crazy Dog Lady is back at the adoption table praising all the mutts. I stand at the curb waiting for Chris to pull up the curb and I smile at the wickedly delicious thought of something pissing on her leg.
Where’s Satan’s Lap Hound when you need him?