I am a dog lover. We have two big labs and my daughter just left my holiday nest with the first “grandpuppy.” So I know dogs. I know they target the one person in the room who is not a dog lover and make sure to lick their hand. I know they sniff people in places they shouldn’t. I know they use their eyes to beg for food and win treats. I know my dogs have good manners. But I also know they can be impulsive.
Needing a break yesterday -- away from the home scene, I decided to go shopping -- alone -- no husband, no kids, no dogs. I headed to Woodbury Commons, an outdoor outlet shopping bonanza. It’s about an hour drive from my house. When I arrived, there were hoards of happy tourists enjoying the after Christmas sales frenzy. I meandered into MaxMara. Fancy. I own one of their warm, beautifully-crafted coats and I love it. Although there would need to be a massive sale for me to purchase a new one, I decided to humor myself and try on a black number (surprise). I place my bags and my short wine-colored Patagonia down jacket beside the mirror. I shrug into the coat. Soft cashmere. Nice. Very nice. There was a woman next to me trying on the same coat and we smile at each other as only two women who enjoy fine frocks and don’t speak the same language can. It’s obvious the coat will cozy up her seat on the plane ride back to Italy. Her husband smiles and nods in my direction. He likes the coat too. I smile back.
After checking the sticker price, I carefully hand the coat to the saleswoman. Thank you, but no thank you. I grab my no-slouch-of-a-coat that now looks more like a bruised eggplant than a fine Cabernet, and when I bend over to zip up, I gently knock into something or someone and feel a sharp pinch on the top of my hand, near the cuff of my coat. OUCH! I look down and see a Snugli wiggling -- you know, one of those front baby carriers. Peeking out of the pack is a fluffy little gray dog with a red bow. Service dog? I don’t think so.
Looking at the red mark on my hand, I notice the cuff of my coat is sopping wet.
Holding my hand up, I say to the man, “Your dog just bit me.”
“Are you sure? Dog does not do that.”
The saleswoman is now all over me.
“Are you okay? Can I get you some water? Would you like to sit down?”
She seemed genuinely concerned that I may be hurt.
Pulling back my wet cuff, I showed the man the red mark on my hand. “I felt it. See, right there.”
“Dog no bite. Not a bad dog, ” the man says pointing to the dog now secured tightly to his chest.
Although absolutely fine, I am stunned the couple did not apologize. Unable to contain myself I followed them over to the register.
“Excuse me, I am a dog lover too and I understand these things happen. Your dog bit me and I think you should be concerned and at least apologize.”
He looked down at the dog, grabbed his wife’s hand and credit card, and briskly walked out of the store. The saleswoman’s face dropped.
I am reminded of what my son, a fan of Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer show, recently told me, “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.”