Don't Sit Near Me!

A few weeks ago, I adopted a dog on pure emotion and zero logic when I walked into the local SPCA just "to look at the dogs". He's a red haired spaniel mix and I couldn't resist his little whine and cry when our eyes met through the steel bars of his cage.

Besides, he reminded me of the best dog I ever had, a little black spaniel mix who looked very similar to him. His name was Charlot. (silent 'T' at the end) I changed his name to Charlie (with a soft 'CH', to keep it French). Anyway, Charlie with the soft "CH" has some issues, the biggest one being that he cannot be by himself without freaking out. The second I go out the door, he barks, slams his body against the door, whines, and God only knows what else if I were to actually leave him, even for a few minutes. But I can't do that to even see because I live in an apartment with paper thin walls, with neighbours literally all around me.

So, I've hardly left the apartment without the pooch, with the exception of a few glorious moments when my husband watched the dog while I escaped to do the laundry or run to the grocery store. I feel like I'm on house arrest. So, my days have pretty much been centered around l'il red, here. My work from home schedule is structured around his walk times, his play time, his nap times or when I can get him interested in dog TV. Granted it's been a while since my last sweet doggie was in my life ( 23 years ), but I don't remember it being this much work. Anyway, don't get me wrong. I appreciate Charlie. He makes laugh sometimes. He makes me have to get up, get out of the house, and exercise even at - 20 C. So, it's all good. Or at least I think it will be in time.

So last weekend, I took a little time to go to a shopping center a few metro stops away to do a little grocery shopping. Stepping off the metro and into the mall, I was almost giddy with the semblance of pre-dog freedom. It was my first time out of the house (without the dog) in at least a week. I had planned a little too excitedly (for such a simple thing) while I was on the train, that I would first grab a Tim Hortons coffee. My reflection in the window smiled back at me while I planned my few moments of hipsteresque coffee shop bliss.

The food court was packed so I went to another level of the mall and found a spot on a bench. At one end sat a nicely dressed woman with a cane and a scowl on her face. I ignored the scowl. Sometimes that's a person's natural look, so they don't even realize it. Anyway, what do you do in this situation? You ignore the scowl and commence to take a seat when you realize why the bench, designed to seat 8, is only seating 1 at the moment when Madame Scowl barks at you. "Don't sit near me!"

Well, technically, I wasn't sitting NEAR her, relative to my position on the bench. Besides, my American-reared brain dictates, when given the chance, I put as much distance between me and any unfamiliar person or people in public, so I had chosen the furthest position I could sit without falling off the end.

I turned to her and asked calmly, as if I expected a logical response, "is there a reason? " She barked her command again followed by a distinct growl. ( notice the dog theme here -dog on the brain makes me prone to dog-related analogies, I guess. Kind of like when you just have a newborn and you're finally getting a break you seem to think everything smells like diaper or spit up.)

OK pardon the digression. So Madame Scowl and Bark, barked and growled and then I said to her, "that's very unkind Madame. "

She scowled hard at me then.

At least she didn't bark, howl, growl and whine as I walked away. Well, not to my knowledge.

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