Friday, September 17, 2010


I was sitting at one the outdoor tables at my local Whole Foods Market, enjoying my morning coffee and making some notes for another story I’m working on. Every so often I would hear, “Aawwwwww,” followed shortly thereafter by, “Oooh” and a sharp yelp.

As the sounds got closer, I stopped taking my notes and waited to see what it was all about.

Within minutes, the cutest beagle puppy I’ve ever seen, was happily strolling along. As it came within arm’s reach of me, I instinctively bent down to pet the happy bundle of fur. I heard myself uttering, “Aawwwwww,” like so many before me had done. He and I became “best friends forever” if only for the fleeting minutes of that moment. And I’m sure he had collected BFFs all along the sidewalk.

His owner, an elderly lady with a cracked face, a deep frown and a scowl that could frighten a vulture, sullenly walked passed, retractable leash in hand. She had no greetings for the many people who had instantly fallen in love with her beagle. Just a sour look.

As she would reach about twenty feet away, without looking back, she would harshly yank on the leash, snapping the puppy away from his admirers.

I heard myself say, “Oooh,” in reaction to the dog being yanked at leash end, as the beagle let out a sharp little yelp.

It quickly scurried ahead, until it reached the next dog lover who said, “Aawwwwww,” and made yet another BFF.

Again, within minutes, I heard the reactive “Oooh” and the innocent little yelp.

I looked at the guy at the table next to mine. “I wonder why she has such a lovable little pup when she’s going to treat it like that?” I asked.

“Witch’s brew,” was his half-serious response.

I hoped, for the puppy’s sake, that he would be able to soften her heart before she hardened his.

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