WWDSD (What Would Dr. Spock Do)?

We’ve all seen them. Some of us may even have had one. That kid on the floor in a store throwing a screaming mimi fit because something didn’t go his or her way. I admit to feeling smugly superior to those parents because I chose not to have any human children and thus would not suffer such embarrassments. Dogs would NEVER behave in that way.

But I have been brought low for my hubris. Not long ago, I took Blue and Bettina to our local Petco. We’re in the early stages of spring here in Maine and cabin fever has definitely set in for both hounds. An unscheduled jaunt to the local doggy store for treats and attention seemed like it might release some of the pressure building up in Bettina, the little steam engine that could drive you nuts.

Bettina greyhound investigates behind sales counter
Blue and Bettina sniffed all the pee-mail on the way into the store and left a couple of messages of their own. We went into the store and were, as usual, immediately accosted by customers, children and employees who happened to be loitering near the front. Something about the world loves a greyhound. And at least for my two, they seem to love the world.

Our usual plan is to make a big circuit of the store. We mosey down the left hand side of the store, stopping to browse in the fish department and look at the dog books. Then we wander down the treat aisle at the back of the store. We round that out by sauntering up the right hand side of the store, browsing at the toys and rawhides. We reach the front of the store and must spend some time in the rodent section so Bettina can be obsessed with the ferrets, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs and any other manner of small chewing creature on display.

We usually exit the rodent area when Bettina has worked herself into a barking frenzy trying to determine a way into the ferret case, while the ferrets sit behind the glass thumbing their twitchy little noses at her. Sometimes they pay her no mind, not even bothering to open one eye from their naps as she paws at the plexiglass barking her fool head off. This insult is not easy for a 3 year old to take and so we must assuage the injured ego at the treat bar where mumma usually buys a few “bad for you” doggy treats.
Bettina greyhound seeks treat
 All the staff at our Petco seems to know and remember Blue and Bettina. Some people I swear I’ve never seen before come running up shouting their names and dropping to the floor for hugs and leans. At the cash register, Blue, Bettina or Blue and Bettina will head around to the back side of the counter to assist the cashier in the checkout process and maneuver their little noggins ever closer to the bucket of treats that sits recessed in every checkout counter.

Usually they get multiple handouts from this magic, never ending bucket. And believe me, they work it so hard it must hurt later. This particular day, they had extracted treats from both cashiers working the checkout lines. There were several people in line behind us waiting to check out so I finished paying for the bag of goodies and turned to leave. Blue and Bettina stayed at the counter. This isn’t unusual since they aren’t stupid enough to let a good thing end if it doesn’t have to. Usually I call and they will reluctantly exit the store with me.

I called and tried some tugging on the leashes. Blue glumly headed in my direction, but Bettina stood fast. I could see the eyes of the person waiting in line behind me begin to roll impatiently and I must admit to being a bit embarrassed by the willful little beast at the end of the leash. I started to sweat a little and began speaking to Bettina as though A) she was a small child and B) she could actually understand what I was saying. Things came out of my mouth like, “come on sweet girl, we’ll come back again soon, mumma promises.” Or, “Bettina, you’re being a bad girl, now come with mumma right now or we won’t ever come back.” And, “Come on Bettina we can’t stay here all day, there are other people waiting to check out.”

Bettina greyhound gives the look
I glanced back at the other people waiting to check out and gave them a weak smile. No one was impressed. Sweating a little more now, I started to tug on Bettina’s leash in earnest but she leaned back and twisted her head away from me. Not wanting to appear to be abusing her, I got behind Bettina and scooched her forward. I managed to get her off to the side slightly so the next person could glare at me and check out at the same time. Bettina, upon figuring out where all this scooching was leading to, quickly turned right and ran behind one of the checkout counters (at least as far as her leash would allow).

Now that I wasn’t holding up the checkout line any longer, the people in line started to view my predicament as less of an annoyance and more of an amusement. I had completely lost my head and I was begging and pleading with a greyhound to please be a good girl and we had to leave but I swore on my own life that we’d come back to the doggy store again. Nope. Nothing doing.

It was then that I had a moment of clarity. I suddenly saw Bettina as the screaming bratty little toddler that she was being and I realized that I WAS one of those parents that I had so disdained. Worse, I could see that same thought in the eyes of all the other people waiting to check out as they watched me fail miserably to control a 60 pound dog.  What would Dr. Spock do in this same situation? Honestly, I didn’t give a full poopy bag what Dr. Spock would have done. I bent down, hoisted a struggling hound into my arms and made an extremely ungraceful exit from Petco, dragging poor Blue along behind me and dropping my car keys a couple times just for good measure.


  1. I feel for you, very sincerely, but I laughed my head off over this post. You have a couple smart houndies on your hands.

  2. We have no skin kids either. But I'm sure the furkids will be never ending sources of public embarrassment. We just took Stella on a home visit to give her another chance. Her first HV, she was gassy the entire time. Second time was perfect, so I thought we were on a roll. Last time, she did a tour of the house, and decided the hallway was a perfect place for a poopie present. Just embarrassing.

  3. Oh my, I am so glad I read this right now! You have made my day!! I too am one of those non-skin kid pet parents who often rolled my eyes when friends (or strangers) kids would throw a fit in public. When it happened to me, with one of my greys, it was so embarassing...now I feel a little sympathy for them.

  4. Sounds like something my Sadie would do!

  5. Phew! Glad to see that I'm not the only one :)
    I've had entire conversations in public with my dogs about their antics.


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