I yawn as I eat my breakfast. Truth be told I’m not that hungry after eating that entire jar of peanut butter, but perhaps Mom didn’t see the empty container I left in her laundry basket. I guess she’ll find it later. Then I hear it: the jingle of keys. Holy smokes, it’s Monday! How could I forget? I gobble up my last bite of food and bound through the door and into the car.
My tail wags furiously as we step inside The Dog Stop. I lift my nose; I catch the smell of some of my friends that are already here. I can hardly wait. The gate swings open, and I rub my face against the legs of the girl behind the counter as she scratches behind my ears: our usual greeting.
“Can you keep an eye out for wrappers in Sparky’s poop? He got into my purse yesterday and ate a roll of Starbursts.”
I shoot Mom a look. Humans can be so embarrassing sometimes. Thankfully the girl doesn’t make a big deal over my sweet tooth. She unclips my leash and opens the door. It’s go time.
I dive into a sea of wet noses and wagging tails. Talk about sensory overload! Immediately I pick up on a new scent and wade through my furry friends to the first-timer that’s still hanging out with the handler. I remember how nervous I was during my first time at day care, so I give her a customary bum sniff and a few yips to invite her to play. She gives me a timid tail wag and follows me back to the pack. The handler gives me a pat and tells me what a good boy I am.
The day flies by as I play with my canine and human friends. We play Follow the Leader, wrestle on the playground equipment, chase balls in the fresh air and sunshine, and I even get to show off some of my tricks. A couple of my friends are cuddled up and taking a nap. This sounds like a pretty good idea to me, so I join them. After a while, one of the humans pulls out the camcorder, and I prance around the room like the movie star I am. I know Mom likes to check in on me while I’m with my friends.
“Sparky!” A handler calls my name to go home.
Already? I feel like I just got here! I grab one last bit of lovin’ from the handler and head out front to see my Mom. She gives me a hug, and I cover her in kisses. Sometimes she forgets about the free biscuits sitting on the counter, so I make sure to bark in their direction.
“Don’t worry, Sparky,” says the girl behind the counter. “I won’t forget your treat.”
I crunch on my cookie as I head out the door; I have them so well-trained. Now for a big dinner and a good night’s sleep; I’ll need it to gear up for tomorrow!
Monthly Mutt : Pittsburgh Edition : November 2014 : Feature