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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Afternoon

Posted Mar 30 2010 6:30pm

My wife will occasionally send me a text message while I’m at work, with someone sweet like “I luv u.” Today she sent a text, but it was not quite in that vein.

“The dog pooped in a store and they got pissed.”

Hmmmm. Interesting text. In other words, WTF??

I called, as soon as I could. Her take on the story was convoluted:

The at-home therapist we hire came by at 2, and they got in the car and went to a store that was right next to a park. They brought the dog. They brought the dog into the store to do some shopping first, and walked around a bit. The dog was on the leash, with the LCSW. The store owner had a dog in the store, the type that just naps in front of the register all day. They briefly went through the kid’s section, and then took off. They got across the street, and the store owner came out, flipping out. “Your dog took a shit in my store!” My wife’s immediate response was “No he didn’t, we had him on the leash the whole time. Maybe it was your dog!”

I don’t know how the exact dialogue went. All I know is that my wife and the LCSW went back there, adamantly refusing that it could have been our dog, but still went back to the store, where the LCSW cleaned up what was apparently a humongous pile of dog shit, thereby fully earning the $130/hr that I pay him. (Gasp!)

The question that obviously remains is: was it our dog, or was it the store owner’s dog? And this is where my new paradigm, in which my wife is sick, clutters my judgment. My gut instinct, pre-sickness, would initially be to trust her opinion, and assume that her perspective is right. Obviously. She is my wife after all. However, now I can’t be so sure. I have ridden bikes with her on a bike trail at times when she is too consumed in her thoughts to get out of the way of another biker, who almost gets run off the path as a result, cursing as they end up biking through a bush. Also, I’ve seen her walk the dog before and be in a distant world, with no idea about what the dog is doing. So it’s tough to say….

I asked her some more details, and am now pretty convinced that it was in fact our dog that took a huge dump in this store this afternoon. First off, she didn’t take him out all morning. She talked to her parents on the phone for a while, and neglected to take him on their usual morning walk. Then she went straight to yoga. By the time she got home, it was 2pm, and the dog hadn’t been out since 7am. Our dog’s usual expectations would be that mid-afternoon, he’d be let out to do his business immediately, and then go off to a park to play. Instead, they put him right in a car, and took him directly into a store. The poor little dude was probably bursting on the insides, and then in shame, and as quickly as possible, when he didn’t think anyone was looking, he dropped his guts on the floor of the store.

It’s weird to not be able to totally trust my wife’s judgment and perspective. I want to, but I can’t help but to empathize with the strangers she encounters in the real world. I mean, what do other people think of her? She volunteers at a children’s hospital once a week, and I am dying to know what her supervisor thinks of her. I get protective. I don’t like the idea of people thinking of my wife as someone who is slow and dim-witted. I have made friends in the last 6 months, and have only ever known her since she was sick, and I hate that. I hate that they don’t know her as she used to be…bright, full of laughter, bitchy in all the right ways, bubbly, beautiful, perfect.

Now, when it’s her word against a random strangers, and after I do some fact gathering, I find myself siding with the stranger. I’m about 99.9% sure that it was our dog that took a dump in the store today, and not the store owner’s.

At least I didn’t have to clean it up.


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