Friday, February 13, 2015


We had our dog to the vet this afternoon for a minor procedure: it was time for an icky wart on her back to be excised. There were a lot of other dogs when we arrived, but ours was too busy quivering to pay any attention to them. The same could not be said for a persistent little black poodle mix about half her size.

All the while his owner was settling up at the front counter, he was at the end of his leash straining toward Isabel, nose high, tail swaggering. At last his owner finished and turned toward us. "Is your dog friendly?" she asked, intoning the tribal greeting of urban dog owners. Because I said yes, the two of us were obliged to make small talk in the minutes it took for our dogs to sniff each other. Generally that takes the form of asking about each other's dogs, and that's what happened this time, too.

"Half poodle, half golden retriever," I said.

"Schnoodle," she told me. "His father was an apricot poodle. Can you believe it?"

I looked at the cast iron tint of her pup, and shook my head.

"All the rest of his litter mates were orange," she continued, "But we wanted a black dog."

I nodded politely. She shrugged.

"Especially since we got him on Martin Luther King's birthday."

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