A DOG OF A DAY

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It interests and sometimes amuses me when people claim that dogs resemble their owners. I could never see it. I would look at my canine, Beau and think, “Utter rubbish. Where is our similarity ?” The only resemblance that I can see is we both have a slight overbite and that’s not readily discernible because Beau’s is most fortunately disguised by his luxurious moustache.

That opinion was challenged recently when I went to pick up Beau from his groomer.

The young woman at reception asked me to take a seat. I’m informed Beau “Isn’t quite done ” and it would be a few minutes before his groomer could deliver him to me.

After waiting a short time, a woman bustles into the reception area. She is in her middle years, bobbed grey-blonde hair held back by a Alice band and a look of disagreeableness marring her otherwise attractive features. She seems vaguely familiar. Maybe I have seen her in the Village or possibly the dog park.

“I’m here to pick up Teddy,” she announces. “He’s not ready yet Mrs. V,” the receptionist says pleasantly. “If you would take a seat, he won’t be long.”

Taking a chair beside me she fixes me with an assessing eye: “You waiting for your pooch too?” I nod an affirmative.

“Never have then ready on time,” she says grumpily. I look back to my magazine not whishing to engage any further.

An air of belligerency emanates from her persona: “I have this theory, “she continues, effectively ignoring my snub, “that dogs resemble their owners.”

Reluctantly, I abandon the magazine. “Do you?”  I enquire with exaggerated politeness.

“Yes my Teddy looks just like me.” She pauses and then says, a challenging look lighting her eye: “What sort of dog do you think he might be?”

I always feel at a disadvantage with that sort of question. It’s like being asked to guess a person’s age. The potential for embarrassment is high should you get it wrong.

I look to the receptionist seeking help with the awkward conversation but she avoids my eye. Her face is bright pink. Is it from suppressed laughter or discomfiture ? Perhaps a mixture of both.

“Take a guess,” demands my interrogator, refusing to let go the issue. Its then it suddenly dawns on me. I recognize the familiar assertive and vaguely disgruntled demeanor.

With her greying hair, bushy brows, short stocky body and a suggestion of whiskers growing on her chin, she is a dead ringer for those busy bodies of the canine world, the schnauzer.

“Would Teddy be a schnauzer ?” I ask tentatively, trying not to sound mischievous.

‘Yes, ” she cries, punching the air triumphantly. “The best dog on the Planet, don’t you think?”

Thinking her question rhetorical I don’t respond and return to my magazine wishing myself anywhere other than here beside her. She remains determinedly unperturbed by my coolness and continues to demand an answer to her question.

Finally I’ve had enough. Turning to the woman, I opine. In the nicest possible way: “Schnauzers are handsome dogs but unnecessarily belligerent and nosily opinionated. Unfortunately, they don’t possess sufficient intellect to support their opinions or the where-with-all to realize that social interaction isn’t always conducted as an altercation. Now, if you would excuse me I see my dog is waiting.”

As I hurriedly push Beau out the door, desperate to be gone from this hectoring woman. I hear her remark to the receptionist: “Typical poodle owner; just like their pooches – highly strung and no substance. They share a remarkable resemblance though. Both have a long nose and overbite.”

The door closes, effectively sparing me any further imputations against my character and that of my canine companion. It’s not until I reach the sanctuary of the car that I noticed the groomer has removed Beau’s usually luxurious moustache, thus revealing a long, pointed nose and the much discussed overbite.

I don’t need to consult a mirror to understand the geography of my own face – a rather long nose, combined with a slight overbite.

Perhaps that odious woman had a point after all. We do indeed come to resemble our pets.

“Sorry Beau. No dog park until the moustache grows back. We can’t possibly allow a schnauzer owner the last word.”

Beau cocks his leg and then paws the earth with fierce determination, growling as he does so: “My thoughts exactly, Beau. Perhaps give the dog park a complete miss for all time.”

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