I pulled into my local hardware store this morning to grab a few last minute things needed for work. I parked my car, unhooked the seatbelt and hopped out. I walked to the front of the building and pulled the door to the entrance.
It was locked.
I glanced at the window and saw a sign hanging.
Crap, it didn’t open for another 15 minutes. I still had a good half an hour until I had to be at work so I decided I would wait it out.
I hopped back into my car and pulled out my phone. I figured I could kill some time that way.
“Come on Charlie! Let’s go!”
I peered out my window to see a middle aged couple walking a beautiful retriever on a leash.
Now as you may recall, I’ve never been a big fan of dogs. But this one caught my eye.
She was young looking and and bouncy. Her coat was shiny and almost pure white. But what I remember the most about her, was her presence. She took my breath away. I had never seen a dog so happy sniffing grass. She took her time shaking her entire butt as she happily wagged her tail. I could even swear she had a smile on her face.
“Oh my God! You are so cute! I want to take you home and snuggle you,” I said more to myself than the dog, since I was in the car and the dog couldn’t hear me.
I watched as the couple slowly lead Charlie into the veterinary office next door. They weren’t paying much attention to the dog as they were deep in conversation.
I looked back to my phone.
In what couldn’t have been more than a few minutes later (it felt like seconds), I glanced up from my phone to see the same couple standing next to my car.
Only this time the man was shaking, tears were running down his cheeks, and I noticed he looked a bit ragged. Probably from a life time of drug use.
I could see the concerned expression on the face of the woman he was with. She was trying to console him.
“You know it had to be done,” she said. “There was no other way.”
“No, I know but…” I couldn’t make out the rest of his words, they were too muffled from the sobs.
“Honey it will be alright,” the woman continued.
Unpredictably, the man took off in a sprint into the busy parking lot. I could see Charlie’s leash swaying in the hand of the woman as she began to chase him, but the dog wasn’t in site. Both dodged an SUV before escaping my view.
What the hell had I just witnessed? Surly they couldn’t have put the dog to sleep that quickly? It didn’t look sick. In fact I’d never seen a dog with a personality quite like that.
I pondered for a second, wondering if I should go into the vet’s office to see what happened. Maybe Charlie hadn’t been put down yet, maybe that’s why the couple came out so fast, but I couldn’t do that. She wasn’t my pet, it wasn’t my business. I doubted the clerk would give me any information.
I stared blankly out my window for a while, then I checked the clock on my phone. Still five more minutes until the hardware store opened.
I looked up and as if magic, the couple had reappeared and were standing just feet from my windshield.
The man was still in distress, only this time his pain seemed less genuine.
“You still want to go to Las Vegas, baby?” the woman asked him, Charlie’s leash was now rolled up in her hand. “Will that make you feel better?”
The man nodded, “Uh-huh.” I could see his tears fading.
“Alright, let’s go pack. We can go right now,” the woman promised.
The man’s expression transformed into a look of satisfaction. I watched as they both entered the car next to mine.
I could see a sly smile form in the corner of the man’s mouth as he calmly drove away.
© Wendi Bear 2018