I just got off the phone with the dog kennel and I'm more than just a little suspicious. We'll be going on vacation for a week at the end of February, so I called to arrange some time for Shelby to stay at the Sleep Away Camp for Very Good Dogs. (That's what we tell her it's called, so the whole thing seems less... prison holding cell-ish.) I called up and told the woman on the phone what I wanted, without saying who I was. She said they were all filled up to the brim that week and had no available spaces left because it's a school break, so everyone goes out of town at the same time, and they book up very early, etc. I've heard this whole story before. Then she asked if I'd like to be put on the cancellation list and I said yes. That's when I gave her my name & phone number.
I called another kennel, I mean Really Fun Dog Camp, and made a reservation there with no problem. This other place is quite a bit further out of town, but comes very well recommended. I wouldn't know for sure if they are any good because even though I've used them as a backup place for years, Shelby has never actually been there. This is because very soon after speaking with them, another woman, the one in charge of things at the first kennel, called me back. She said "Oh, Mrs. Olson! We just had a change of, um, a cancellation. Of couse we will take Shelby!"
This has happened before. In fact, it has happened every single time I've made reservations for my dog. What is going on? Doesn't it seem a little odd that there's always a spot that opens up immediately after I call? Every time? And that the woman gushes about what a sweet darling angel my dog is? Is it like my kids, in that Shelby trots out her really good behavior for stangers? Does she read stories to the younger dogs? Help with light filing in the office? Answer the phone? Of course not! I'm just making up ridiculous things Shelby is completely incapable of doing. There's no logical reason I can think of that we'd be getting this kind of special treatment.
When I drop her off and pick her up, the kennel ladies gush about what a sweet, well-behaved doggie Shelby is, how neat & tidy she keeps her cell, I mean cozy area, how patient and cooperative she is with the groomer, etc. WHOSE DOG ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? This dog they speak of cannot possibly be the same Cujo-like creature I live with who threatens me with bared fangs if I so much as take her brush from the cupboard. This cannot be the same dog who growls at me when I try to get her out of the car because she's been in there all day. (Shelby likes to wait in the car, so she can both sleep all day and be ready to go with me in case I decide to leave.) Also, when I pick her up, no matter how many treats I've sent with her, they are all gone because the woman there says "She's just so sweet I give her another treat every time I pass by her." She hasn't noticed how Shelby threatens to take a few fingers off each time because she's so aggressive with the treats? Maybe the kennel lady stands across the room and whips the treats at her, like my kids do because they are afraid. I don't know. It just plain makes no sense.
I tried studying Shelby, thinking it through and then I finally resorted to asking her outright just what the heck is going on. She looked up at me with her hmmm? what's that dear? look on her face, sort of like a dotty old aunt* who's finally tipped over and gone fully into an eccentric little world of her own. She's not saying. And I guess as long as things are working out so well, I should just stock up on treats and be grateful.
* This is a reference to stereotypical "dotty old aunts" I've seen on TV, not to anyone dead or alive, that is currently at this time nor at any time in the past been an actual aunt to myself, Ken or our children.