If this story was great literary fiction here’s what would happen next. Olive would attack the little boy, and probably rip his throat out killing him. At which point I would fly into a mad rage and attack the animal who has plagued me now for several months. I would kill Olive with my bare hands, relishing every precious moment of exulting victory. Then my relationship with Leah would go into complete ruin and we’d slowly drift away and I’d live out the rest of my days in regret and remorse.
Fortunately, this is a true story. Here’s what happened next. The barking was loud and aggressive. Olive pulled hard on her leash but Leah’s dad held her tight. The little boy stumbled backwards to his feet. His face was as red as Taylor Swift’s lipstick and his Harry Potter glasses had slid all the way down to the tip of his nose.
“OLIVE DOWN! Gee I’m sorry about that.” Olive finally started calming down. Apparently all better. This psychotic dog’s moods would swing as easily as her own tail which was now wagging. I walked straight to the car trying to avoid association with the animal that has just sent the whole rest stop into pandemonium. The little boy’s mother had made her way over to son and seemed unexplainably at ease. Her son was not.
His glasses had worked their way back onto his nose when he and his mother along with Leah’s dad and Olive made their way over to where Leah and I were standing by the car. Great. Of course you can imagine that the excuses began to come defending the dog. “Well you see, she was mistreated as a puppy,” and “You know she was just scared.”
Yeah… scared of a little boy who was about as intimidating as a church mouse. The next thing I know, there’s just a delightful little conversation going on about dogs and how to treat dogs and puppies and dogs and pets and dogs. Never mind the fact that Olive just attempted to murder your son, who by the way, is still terrified. It was all forgotten, just like that. Let me tell you, the mother of this child, beats anything you’ve ever read in this whole story.
She talked in way that would make fingernails on a chalkboard sound like the orchestra. You’ve heard those people that talk to everyone like they’re in first grade. Drive you CRAZY. “So you adopted this precious dog, who was mistreated? That is absolutely the sweetest thing I have ever heard.” Get over it woman people do it all the time. Heck I’ve done it.
“Well aren’t you just a cutie? You’re just a cutie! Did we scare you? Awe poor baby.”
“Yeah, she’s really a sweet dog. She just gets afraid.”
A sweet dog? Since when? This dog has been nothing but torture to me every time I’ve been in Iowa.
“So you see son, you have to be VERY, VERY careful with dogs when they are little puppies. Because what happens to them when they are young, will affect or haunt them for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.”
Wow. So we loaded back up into the car, Olive in the front seat, myself turned into a car seat for Leah. My legs scrunched up against the middle console once again. And we drove back. It was the most uncomfortable car ride I’d ever been on. When I finally exited the automobile my legs were totally asleep. I literally could not walk.
I’ll never fully understood why that dog rode shotgun while I suffered. But I have come to understand a few things about this whole experience with my girlfriend’s parents and their crazy dog. Today I was driving down the road, listening to K-LOVE. The on-air personality said it was national dog day. Who knew? And guess what was happening? In some Iowa town, a public swimming pool opened up its facilities to everyone’s favorite fluffy pet.
So there were dogs swimming in a public swimming pool for national dog day. My initial thought was, “I guess Iowans are just weirdly fond of their dogs.” But later I think I reached a more plausible conclusion. We’ve all heard those songs where some sub-par singer drones on about why they loved a bad guy, or a wild girl. You’ve probably even said, “I have no idea why that girl loves someone like him.” Or “Why in the world would he marry her?”
Well there’s a simple answer. Because they want to. Because they do. Love is a pretty weird thing that can make you blind to someone’s faults and blemishes. But heck, that’s what makes is so wonderful. The point isn’t to love someone that’s perfect. It’s just to try and love someone perfectly. I guess it’s kind of the same with dogs.