As part of Dobby’s “boot camp” training to be a better, more obedient canine who doesn’t try to be the alpha dog, today Brian, our animal behavior trainer and I went to Petco to find a particular type of collar for her. Now personally, I’m not a huge fan of Petco; it always strikes me as a little ghetto. At least the 2 nearest to my house are, probably because of the low income neighborhoods that they’re respectively in or near (one of them is actually about a 1/2 mile from my house – we’re not the ghetto, though. The next neighborhood down? Definitely ghetto. That’s what Florida is like though…you can have low-income, middle class and multimillion-dollar homes all within a mile or two of each other). But we had already gone to PetSmart and they didn’t have what we were looking for, so to Petco we went.

They didn’t have the collar either, but they did have plenty of opportunity for us to work with Dobby on not going up on her hind legs and looking like a 7-pound ballerina as she lunged and jumped to say an excited HI to every other dog and person she can. She’s actually doing pretty good with it at home, except when she’s just SO excited (like when it’s my next-door neighbor or either of my in-laws, all of whom she just idolizes) that she can’t help herself.

The dog she tried to get more acquainted with at Petco was a VERY enthusiastic lab mix who was just itching to get closer to Dobby. He (I know it was a “he”…he still had all of his parts) was tugging HARD at the end of his leash, whining, barking, you name it. I’m proud to say that with the right commands and corrections, Dobby stayed in control about 90% of the time, but as good as she was, the other dog was not. Let’s just say I was glad he was on a leash – not that he appeared aggressive, but I had visions of him knocking both Dobby AND I over, in his fervor. The owner was doing little to get better control of the dog, or rather, was doing little that was effective. His voice was like a fish monger’s, as he yelled at the overly excited dog to “knock it off” and to “chill out”, and telling whoever would or wouldn’t listen that he didn’t know what was happening because the dog had gone to obedience training right there at that very Petco! And as the guy continued to not calm his dog with his too-loud voice, it suddenly struck me – this was Alzheimer Woman’s son!

Fortunately, the guy didn’t seem to remember me, which was a small miracle in and of itself because, let’s face it, I’m less than 4’7″ tall – EVERYONE remembers me! Unfortunately, everything Brian was telling me about what to do with Dobby in circumstances like this was going in one ear and out the other because I was concentrating too hard on Fish Monger dude and having flashbacks to him and his chaotic home life.

The guy and his crazy dog finally left the store and I apologized to Brian that I probably wasn’t paying as much attention to what he had said as I should have been, and the circumstances why. Brian understood and said, “Wow, that dog was really out of control.”

“He was,” I replied. “It must run in the family.”