On a recent outing for errands one of our stops was the pet store. Kali has been there dozens of times and with the exception of when she encounters another dog that gets too close she is always very well behaved. This time was different and I realized something about Kali. There are people she likes, people she is indifferent to, and for the first time a person she clearly did not like.
Kali loves perusing the aisles at the pet store. What dog wouldn’t right? She loves taking in all the smells and ‘hunting” for that occasional treat that may have dropped out of a pocket or fallen out of a box. When we pass through the aisle that has the open boxes of various biscuits sold by the pound Kali pokes in her snout and will grab a “sample” or two. I usually don’t do too much to stop her. It reminds me of when I was a kid at the market with my mom and she would grab a piece of candy out of the boxes, also sold by the pound, and hand it to me. I always thought this was so cool that my mom would “steal” a piece of candy. She told me once when I asked her about it that it wasn’t stealing (it kind of was though), and that we did a lot of shopping at this store and the store owner was fine with it. Sort of like when we visited the butcher shop and the butcher would give me a piece of bologna or a hot-dog. Wow – can you imagine Kali in a butcher shop? I can and it would be documentary worthy…
So back to the pet store… The sound of squeaking of doggie toys get Kali’s attention. We turn around to see a taller than average women standing by a 50 gallon cardboard drum full of doggie squeaky toys. She has one in each hand holding them over her head squeezing them. Squeak! Squeak! Kali’s ears perk up and her eyes are fixed on the women. She’s pulling on the leash and with a slight lunge let’s out a deep “Woof”. The women is about 20 feet away from Kali staring at her and says something like, “Oh, you like the squeaky toys, don’t you”. Squeak! Kali let’s out another deep “Woof”! I give the women a courtesy comment of “yeah – she likes the squeaky toys”, and Kali and move along our way.
Our next stop was the office supply store. A purchase of printer paper, pens, and labels was the goal and we quickly accomplished it. We were on our way out when an elderly women walked into the store and immediately approached Kali. Without pretension, introduction, or asking permission she walked up to Kali and began talking to her with pats on Kali’s head and – unless I was hearing things – quiet coos under her breath. Kali immediately engaged with the women with her full attention and gave a full dose of her Golden love. The women never looked up at me, totally engrossed with Kali, and after about a minute moved along her way.
This is when I realized something about Kali. She is very selective in sharing her Goldenness. The women at the pet store was abrasive and annoying. Kali sensed that and responded appropriately (“Woof – stay away”.) The women at the office supply store was soft, caring, and respectful. Kali got that and responded with interest and compassion (“Yes, pet me and coo at me more…”). But with Kali it’s more than instinct. She is pretty much a one-man dog and I’m the man. My wife Holly, my daughter (Smokey’s mom) and Smokey come next. My two sons and their wives who visit regularly are on the fringe of the pack.
Beyond that Kali becomes very selective except with little kids. Young children supersede the hierarchy. Kali is always very patient and loving when we encounter the little ones. She is welcoming and allows them make a big deal over her. She seems to really like this attention from children and that makes me very happy and proud.
So, lady in the pet store: Put the toys down, step from the toy bin, and chill out. And, lady in the office supply store: Thank you for connecting in a caring and non-threatening manner with Kali and for enriching her life.
And to Kali – thank you for selecting me as the top recipient of your awesome Goldenness.