Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?

I’ll tell you where… at Petco.

I had gone there–sans my own pets–to fill our dogs’ pantry before rushing off to do my regular grocery shopping.

I’d spied some designer biscuits that smelled like lemon cookies and, being a loving and concerned mom, was reading the label when I heard a woman’s voice.

“Romeo! Romeo, stop that! Don’t pull!” came from the next aisle along with the kind of shuffling sounds boys playing at hand-to-hand combat make, and before I knew it, a brindled Italian Mastiff the size of a bumper car charged around the corner and burst into my aisle–his owner in tow as if schussing down a hill on skis–and promptly made me the object of his affection.

His aim was true. He bowled me over–along with the display of gourmet cookies. My lemon scented biscuits went flying, but Romeo managed to gobble up a fair number of them before his owner, a petite brunette, pulled herself closer, like a losing combatant in a game of tug of war.

“Romeo! Oh, Romeo, you bad! Tsk!”  Romeo didn’t care one whit about the reprimand, though. He washed my face and stood on my foot as I struggled to stand, and covered me and my clothing with slobber and biscuit bits while rendering the floor as slippery as a skating rink with the excess.

His mom pulled a towel out of her pocket with all the authority of a bullfighter calling a bull and began to swipe at his jowls. A store employee appeared with a mop while another began to pick up the biscuits and right the display table.

“You’re so bad!” She glanced at me. “I’m sorry. He’s still a puppy,” she said, wincing an embarrassed smile and shaking out her soggy towel. I was glad she didn’t offer it  to me.

“Just you wait until daddy gets here,” she said in that tone all mothers use to imply that dad’s going to do the dirty work of disciplining, but Romeo just wagged, his brown eyes wide, mouth panting, his licking tongue reaching well past his nose, tossing more slobber and crumbs everywhere.

And just when I thought It couldn’t get any worse, daddy appeared… with Juliet.

I jumped out of the way of the two Colossuses… or is it Colossi? Anyway, the table went flying again as Juliet swung a paw the size of a catcher’s mitt at her brother. I assume Romeo was her brother. I didn’t hang around to ask.

Instead, I went home to change my sodden duds, noting my husband’s astonished expression at my disarray, while muttering about how Romeo and Juliet had used me as a stage prop for their play.

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