This weekend I took my dog Daisy hiking at a local state park. It was one hot mofo out, but since she loves going for long walks almost as much as she loves eating cookies and poop, I couldn’t leave her home. I brought plenty of water and we took umpteen breaks en route. We didn’t run into another soul on the trails … it was bliss. Until we finished our walk, just ten feet from the parking lot. Which was where we ran into Chatty Biker Couple. Decked out in full mountain biking regalia, they were probably in their late forties. And my, did they enjoy dishing out the unsolicited advice. It started with a simple, “Oh, look! A Toto dog! I love Cairns,” from Biker Betty. Then Biker Bob chimed in, “Oh, she’s so hot! Look at her. She needs a drink of water!”
And since my head was pounding and I was about to turn inside out from the heat, I didn’t say, “Oh, I believe in withholding water from her on hot days. Builds character.” Nor did I say a thing about her refusal to even sniff the water I offered her for the last fifteen minutes. Instead I smiled wanly and said, “Yep. She’s just about to get a drink.” I then proceeded to give her one. Which she drank like she’d been in Death Valley for a week with only dried jerky for sustenance.
Then Biker Betty said, “I haven’t seen a Cairn that wasn’t stripped!” Now, if you’re not familiar with the breed, let me clue you in to stripping. It has nothing to do with a pole, Lucite heels, or dollar bills crawling with bacteria. It’s actually the severe-sounding way Cairn Terriers are groomed so they look kind of poofy and spunky instead of bedraggled and shaggy, which is how Daisy looks lately. Their hair is actually pulled out, or stripped, in patterns until there is nothing left but the undercoat, and then the idea is that the overcoat grows back in.
Wow, talk about a convoluted explanation! Anyway, I don’t know a groomer that does this, and since Daisy screams at the vet before they even touch her, I don’t think she would much cotton to being stripped by a stranger. Would you? So we stick with a simpler but still effective brushing technique.
Anyway, I just kind of shrugged and said, “Yep, she’s still got her full coat.” Just then Daisy put on a miserable, hot expression better suited for Eeyore in a scratchy wool sweater in August after barely escaping a house fire.
Biker Bob butted in again. “Oh, and these woods are just CRAWLING with ticks. Better check her later! Do you use Frontline?”
I could only nod. I wanted to tell them to shut up so I could feed her a post-hike snack of chocolate, chicken bones, and antifreeze, but they barely let me get a word in edgewise. Finally, after blabbering on with some story about how he puts Frontline on his cat before she goes out on her leash, Biker Bob rode off after Biker Betty into the tick-filled wilderness. I was too tired to be really annoyed, but it made me wonder. What is it about people giving unsolicited advice to pet owners or parents of small children? Are they truly concerned about the welfare of the small being in question, or do they just want to reinforce their own smug self-image as a “concerned” and “informed” citizen?
Also? Daisy is one of the most spoiled dogs I know. She’s more spoiled than egg salad sitting in the sun for six hours at a picnic. She’s more spoiled than the kid who had a bat mitzvah headlined by Aerosmith and 50 Cent. Do the Biker Bobsies not watch Animal Cops Detroit? It’s not like she’s limping around with an eight pound tumor dangling from her face.
Anyway, enough of that. Other things happened this weekend that involved drinking and much laughter, but I decided to save the juiciest stuff for my next book. Because a girl’s gotta have some secrets. Especially where she helped her friends hide the body.