Dog Day

It takes a lot of yoga to make it through these dog days of summer. And shopping at Pet Smart on a Sunday afternoon takes dog days to a whole new level.

When I walk into Pet Smart I notice lots of dogs sauntering around like they own the place, as dogs do. Pets being welcome in the store is common enough, but I’ve never been in there with so many dogs.

I walk by the cordoned off area marked “training” and hear the rapturous yelps of canines being let out of boot camp.

I walk through the store with an arm load of Science Diet for the queens, er I mean cats. I maneuver away from the largest dogs, with their panting and desperate pleas to be taken to the haven of the car. There is a monstrous animal in the checkout lane over from the one in which I land; he is heaving great sighs in anticipation of home.

In line behind me is a growling brown animal with a face like a rat and a body like a stale loaf of bread. I inch away, making sure the leash is firmly attached to his collar. I notice a dog in miniature, perhaps a quarter pound of fur and optimism, hopping around on the end of its pink leash.

The owner of the brown rat faced dog allows a little girl to pet its head. I hold my breath, but the beast sits down and accepts the head rub. Then, and I do not know what this woman is thinking, the owner of the quarter pounder places the tiniest puppy I have ever seen upon the snout of the rat faced dog, perhaps so they can make friends.

Rat Face bares its teeth and snaps at the little dog, no doubt scraping its scull with the tip of a sharpened canine. I feel my anxiety rising, my heart’s rhythm no doubt mimicking that of the mini-mite that nearly died right there in Pet Smart.

I am so grateful when it’s nearly my turn. The lady regards my cans of cat food, but not before the dog in line ahead of me decides it’s going to police the rat faced dog in line behind me. There is a snarl and growl. I imagine a chunk of my sizable derriere being lost in the fray of these wolves battling in the checkout lane.

There it goes, a barking growl. You know the kind, the equivalent of one dog shouting at the other, “I’ve had about enough of you!”

I launch myself upon the conveyor belt, my knee catching the ledge of the credit card machine holder as I climb upon the counter. I hold myself there with the strength of my yoga arms – thus illustrating the value of all those arm exercises and handstand practices.

The woman behind the counter looks at me in perplexed shock. Her eyes are wide, her mouth is puckered with disdain and curiosity in equal measure. The woman with the spotted pooch in front of me, the dog who had quite enough of Rat Face’s antics, pulls her dog towards her, possibly so it won’t get any of my crazy stuck in its fur.

The man, whose hair matches the color of his rotten brown dog perfectly, looks at me like I showed up to audition for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest an hour too late, but still may apply as an extra.

I slide down from the conveyor belt, explaining that I didn’t know what those unpredictable beasties planned on doing back there, with my exposed feet in the potential fray of flying fur. The woman behind the register wordlessly begins scanning my Science Diet, though when asked she explained that the weekends boast a higher dog presence than the weekdays because of the trainings Pet Smart hosts.

I cast a glance back at Rat Face, intimating that someone should be held back in the first grade again to revisit some of those “trainings”.

I walk out into the hot hot afternoon. I notice the unmistakable sensation of my heart beating in my throat, like one who has been through a haunted house or narrowly avoided being sideswiped my a Monster Truck.

I slide into my car and lock the door, in case Rat Face gets any ideas. I am so glad my vacation starts tomorrow. My nervous system could use a cooling off period and there’s no better place than an urban ashram. Kashi Atlanta, here I come!

Tomorrow I’m on my way to Atlanta to see that Teacher of mine, and I’m taking several consecutive days off. All my classes early in the week are in good hands and I look forward to seeing everyone next Sunday, when I return to the Uru Yoga and Beyond schedule.

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