Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dogs, Cats, and Custard

This summer, my daughter and my friend’s daughter were hired as two of the first part-time employees at a brand new frozen custard stand in town.

With your kids’ new experiences out in the big world come all the details they relay to you at home when they plop down exhausted after a long, long, long four-hour shift.

My friend’s daughter shared this with her: “I was working the drive-through window, and a lady started to give her order. Then she stopped, sounded confused and asked me to hold on a minute. I told her, ‘No problem; just let me know when you’re ready.’ I could hear her whole conversation. She was reading almost all of the items on the menu. Finally, she said, ‘I’m ready to order,’ and she got two items. When I picked up her order and turned to the window, I saw that she was alone in her car—except for her dog. She had read the menu to her dog and then ordered him some custard.”

I asked my daughter about the story, and she said, “That’s not that big of a deal. We get animals all the time. Today we had two people bring their cats up to the front window. One was really pretty, like a movie cat. She got him a cone.” Movie cat? I’m picturing Morris of Nine Lives or the Fancy Feast cat that eats, no, dines, from a glass bowl. I mean, these aren’t generic ice cream cones from Wal-Mart, either; they’re expensive custard “bon-bonish” delights.

Apparently, at almost every shift, my daughter and co-workers make rich custard treats for a dog or cat. Unbelievable.

Now, I love my little dog. She is the cutest thing in the world; thus, we have nicknamed her simply, “The Cuteness.” But I just couldn’t buy her custard in a cone. Maybe my love isn’t deep or true—maybe I’m cold hearted. Or maybe I just don’t want to clean up custard potty.

If the bank teller or vet wants to give my dog a biscuit, that’s one thing. But even then, I have to break it in half because my dog weighs only 5 lbs. She’s about the same size as a squirrel, just heftier. This year, at her annual check up, she had gained ¾ of an ounce. The vet remarked, “Well, she’s four years old now; looks like she’s putting on that middle-aged spread.” Then he raised an eyebrow and shot me a look that said, “You know how that is, don’t you?” For that insinuation, he almost earned his first bite from a human. It still makes me growl to think of it.

So it looks like Zoe (“The Cuteness”) and I will both be foregoing the custard this summer. And no matter how many people I see indulging their cats or dogs, I will NOT succumb to buying mine her own Ipod for our walks, either. A mom—er—owner, has got to draw the line somewhere.

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