I’d like to fill the page telling you all kinds of happy, funny anecdotes about The Dog Bob except honestly, I only know the following five things: 1. Bob is a four-month-old Italian Greyhound. 2. Bob has spent half his life in a glass box in a pet store. 3. Bob’s only friend is the mucky-eyed Chihuahua with whom he shares the glass box. 4. In the two months he has inhabited said box, Bob’s price has been lowered twice. He has also acquired a rough patch on his neck where his clear plastic collar rubs against his skin, and scuffs on his elbows from roughhousing in the litter-covered cage with his fluffy-but-forlorn friend.
I know these things because I or Jay or one of the boys has visited Bob in his little cell nearly every day for two months. Actually, that’s not completely true, because for a week there, we swore it off, having rightly convinced ourselves that doing so was depressing and pointless. This was two weeks after we named him without his consent. Even after the markdown, we couldn’t afford to free Bob. Even if we could, we had no business bringing another puppy home, just months after Chloe came to be with us, just weeks after Lola left us. And even if we did, there’s no guarantee that Bob would be healthy, happy and well adjusted.
And so, instead, we bought a new couch, which seats seven. A pair of cherry end tables. Two lovely lamps and a leather recliner. We invited people over to lounge on the couch. We marveled at the brilliance of a telephone-book drawer. And when no one was around, I stroked the arm of the couch and called it Bob. For a full eight days, I avoided the pet store. I was strong.
It was Jay who gave in, who came home one afternoon with cans of Chloe food and the news that Bob was still incarcerated in the glass cage in the pet shop at the end of the street. I checked in on him the next evening and found him marked down (for the first time) to $899. That was three weeks ago. Today, when Mouse and I visited, Bob was shivering in the way that Italian Greyhounds do, when all they really want is to burrow deep beneath the covers because air conditioning and 2% body fat don’t mesh all that well.
I felt sick to my stomach as I walked away, thinking what a disgusting shame it was that such a lovely, albeit odd, little dog was wasting away in the back corner of an overpriced pet store. I wanted to whip up a PETA picketing. I wanted to print up a stack of LIBERATE BOB t-shirts. I wanted to hire someone shady (oh come on, you know I still know where to find the shady people) to break in and bust Bob out. See, there’s a part of me that wants to have Bob, bring him home, mother him half-to-death and obnoxiously nuzzle his little nose, but there is an equal part of me that just wants/needs Bob to be out of that damn box.
Every time now, that I go into that shop and walk down that aisle to the back wall, I pray a little and hope a little that Bob will be gone. Honestly, I do. I NEED him to be gone to some happy home where he can adjust to having more space than a 2X3 cell, where he can get a little meat on his bones and fur back on those rough spots that have been left raw too long. What I mean to say is this; that I don’t need to be the one to rescue Bob, but damnit, SOMEONE does.