Ottie loves running errands around town, which is why I often ask him to tag along, hoping his enthusiasm will rub off on me as, unlike him, I detest driving from place to place, getting in and out of the car, all the while suffering idiotic drivers and congested traffic. Ottie, on the other hand, will sit placidly strapped in the passenger’s seat, head hanging out the window, raking in compliments from other gridlocked drivers, feathers unruffled. He will follow me to the bank, into any store that will have him or wait for me in the car whenever his paws are off limit.
If foot traffic is not too heavy, I will tie him outside stores where he can sit peering at me buying ice-cream or old lady lotions. No errand is too boring or too time consuming, as long as he can be with me. He will even submit to sitting on restaurant patios while I kvetch with my friends, consuming a meal. His only slightly abnormal behaviour occurs when a siren goes by – maybe an appeal to his inner wolf, he will stretch his neck towards the sky and emit a low, guttural howl that startles passersby.
Today we walked the length of the Third Street Promenade, determined as I was to try on a jumpsuit at All Saints. He patiently sat on the wooden floor waiting for the shop assistant to retrieve the item from the stock-room, then he entered the fitting room with me and observed my gyrations in and out of clothes, with complete aplomb and much more patience and enthusiasm than a boyfriend or a husband.
We are used to seeing “purse” dogs, Paris Hilton style, pretty much everywhere but larger breeds are usually confined to the dog park, jogging on the beach and very few other public places. Look around when you walk around town – nobody has large dogs in tow. Which might explain the amount of looks Ottie gets, the requests to be petted (to which he patiently submit like a Santa Claus at the mall), the “cute dog!” exclamations and the random pick-up lines or just conversation starters.
Single folks everywhere, you should get a dog instead of investing time and money on match.com. Seriously, a dog is endearing and, by mere virtue of association, will make you look endearing and caring. His silent gaze invites questions from all and sundry and even the shyest people will feel comfortable circling around the subject of a dog. The rest is up to you. Think about it – no more countless hours spent reviewing profiles and doctored photographs, no more coffees and drinks with strangers, no need to make yourself sound more appealing than you are.
If having a full-time dog is not an option for you, Ottie, for his part, will entertain offers. Hourly rates supplied upon request.