Several weeks ago I slipped Kyndall (wearing her cape) into Costco for a quick visit. But she looked pretty overwhelmed by the experience, and I worried about her having a toileting accident, so I put her in my cart, on top of the cozy dog bed I was buying. I was so nervous I forgot to take a picture, which is a shame, as the Cuteness Level was off the chart.
Today we tried again. I had to make a quick run that I knew would only take us in the warehouse for a few minutes. We arrived at 10, when it had just opened. We found a good parking space, and before entering, we stopped at a planter where I could order her to Hurry. She squatted, obediently, and peed. Then we strode inside. I didn’t feel nervous at all.
Mistake! Halfway up the main aisle leading to the back of the store, she put on the brakes, and her back arched into that unmistakable (to any dog owner) shape. Then she deposited a large pile of puppy poop.
It wasn’t the first time this has happened to me with a CCI puppy. But it certainly hasn’t happened with every one, and I had nursed high hopes Kyndall would get a gold star (instead of a place on the list of shame). I feel awful when it happens, a bit like I do in those nightmares where you discover you’re caught out in public naked.
Certainly it could have been worse, though. I had clean-up bags with me (on her leash). The poop was firm and easy to bag. I even had a kleenex right at hand, to mop of the minimal amount of residual. If the tainted spot wasn’t exactly sanitary when we moved on (to find a trashcan in which to dump the bag), it didn’t look THAT much dirtier than the rest of the warehouse floor.
It’s traumas like this that make raisers of aspiring service dogs obsessed with things that normal humans ignore (e.g. the detailed workings of their animal companions’ digestive systems.) Once again, I failed to get a photo of the key moment. Once again it was off the Cuteness Level chart (though off the BAD end this time). For the rest of our visit, Kyndall was the model puppy.