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Teddy time out

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He pouted the entire rainy drive down from Whistler to Vancouver.

He stared out the opposite side window avoiding my gaze. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t even want to sit on my lap.

My little dog Teddy was communicating his discontent, which was ignorable, at first.

Despite being dressed in a raincoat, he continued his quiet sulking as we stalked Robson Street in search of a cocktail dress. He walked around mud puddles when he could and scuttled to the cover of store awnings for a few seconds of dry shelter.

But then he started to drag on his leash like a child shuffling to school on Monday morning. A few gentle tugs on the leash corrected his reluctant gait and just when I thought we were finally striding in sync, he dumped all over it, well almost.

There in the cathedral of couture where only the holiest of BCBG is worshiped, Teddy decided to take a stand, or should I say stoop, as he hunched on the glossy, polished-perfect floors to rebel in the only way he knew how — to soil my joy and revel in my embarrassment.

I saw the stance and before anything could dislodge I screamed “No!” the kind of no stretched out in slow motion over a good 30 seconds, but feels like 30 minutes. I ran past the perfectly manicured sales people and scooped Teddy upside down and ran with him like a linebacker under my arm for the store door goal line.

The once cute little dog that instigated cooing and showering oohs and ahs of praise earlier that morning now stood on the sidewalk a hardened man. His hair soaked hung in his face with eyes pinched and staring as if saying, “Don’t screw with me lady. I want to go home.”

We walked and walked. He didn’t have to go to the bathroom. The only thing he wanted to be doing was going home.

I had swallowed the pouting, the tendency to take his own sweet time when being called and the relentless evil-eye stare when someone sat in his chair at home or in the passenger seat of the truck. But forcing me to slick back my hair into a bun and don a new jacket to re-enter my favourite shop incognito minus mutt was too much.

“You are getting a serious time out mister,” I yelled at him on the sidewalk. “You are not the boss of me!”

I wasn’t sure if the last statement was more for me or him to listen to. I was demoted to crazy street person as I tried to communicate the error of his ways while people passed by staring.

We sat in the truck in silence. Me up front. Him in the backseat.

I had always been reluctant to punish him. He came from an abusive home, so I always skirted reprimands. I didn’t want to become the mom with the bulging eyes with steam streaming out my ears, but I realized I had raised a spoiled pooch who was pushing the boundaries too far. I needed to reassert myself as the Alpha male. I did the only reasonable thing. I removed all the cushions from the couch and his favourite chair, among other things, when I got home. It took a few days and a few put-away squeaky toys to correct the situation, but Teddy is a well-behaved mutt once again who has learned the joys of walking in the rain — even if it means sticking close to my heels under an umbrella.

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