At the dog show on the Vancouver fairgrounds, I say goodbye to Suzie, Fleegle’s and the new puppy’s breeder, and carry the puppy back to the car.
“Hey, you don’t smell like my mommy. You smell weird,” the puppy says. “Where are you taking me? Put me down.”
We pass a porta-potty in the parking lot just as a man steps out of it hiking up his belt. The hard plastic door smacks closed behind him and the puppy sniffs the air as she gives him the stink eye.
“That man just pooped in his crate,” she says.
At the car, Fleegle’s nose is snorting and popping, as he tries the get a scent of the puppy through the half open window. I open the door and he shoves his snout in her butt, sniffs, then sniffs her face. “She’s tiny,” he says.
“Who are you? You’re not my mommy,” the puppy says. “You’re breath smells like food. Give me some.”
“Was I this small when I arrived?” Fleegle asks.
“Yep, at eight weeks old you were just this size and you couldn’t get any cuter.”
“Hey, food breath, what about that food?”
Fleegle tilts his head at her. “She’s not really big enough to play with.”
“Food, where’s my food?”
He tilts his head to the opposite side. “Was I this bossy?”
“I don’t remember so.”
“Snap to it, food breath, get me some of what you’ve been eating.”
“Are you sure you picked out the right one?” Fleegle asks. “Maybe Suzie made a mistake.”
“Hey, fat head, get that food, now, today, pronto.”
I put the puppy in the crate between the front seats and latch its door closed. “Nope, no mistake. This is the one especially chosen to be your puppy. Have you decided on her name yet?”
“Look, fat head, you going to get that food for me or what?”
“I think she’s busy naming herself, the little fat head.”
“Food, fat head, food. I’m going to start crying soon and I can cry really loud, so loud you’ll give me all you’ve got just to shut me up.” The puppy lets out a yowl. It’s loud, but I’ve heard worse. “That’s just a taste. Get me that food or I’ll give you the whole puppy tantrum.”
“Not a puppy tantrum,” Fleegle says. “How long will it take us to get home?”
“If the traffic gods are feeling benevolent, maybe an hour.”
“How much food do we have?”
The puppy scratches at the crate’s door. “No where near enough. I’m super hungry.” The puppy scrunches up her face. “Ooo, I’m going to poop. Is that what this crate is for? Just like that man we passed? How thoughtful of you.”
“Better roll down the windows, Raud.” Fleegle rolls his eyes at me. “This is going to be a long drive.”