The Wicked Witch of the Westies

This morning Capone completed his fourth obedience class. He did extremely well, but in the middle of the class he started acting a little strange. He began gagging on his treats (an integral part of obedience training), and finally plopped down on the floor and yakked.

He threw up right in the middle of obedience class. It was awful. He looked up at me in confusion, his embarrassment obvious, especially when the cute little shar-pei next to him tried to eat his vomit. Capone looked like he might throw up again at the thought.

The trainer told everyone to take a break and he even took Capone for me so I could clean up the mess. It was the first time we’d been with this particular trainer, but I liked him. He smiled a lot and looked like Santa.

“Are you sure you don’t mind holding him?” I asked.

“It’s fine,” he said. “I’ve got him. These things happen.”

I swear I almost heard a “ho, ho, ho” in his voice when he laughed, but it may just have been wishful thinking. I grabbed some paper towels, bags, and a spray cleaner, but no matter how much I scrubbed, it was still pretty obvious where Capone had puked. I realized there were a lot of other stains on the floor and decided it was clean enough.

I couldn’t figure out what had made him sick. He’d been a little clingy all morning, and had whimpered a bit as we dropped off my middle son at an SAT class. We’d arrived ridiculously early for training, so I’d attempted to take him for a little walk. He was remarkable uncooperative, and it was ridiculously cold, so I gave up after a few minutes. I hadn’t dressed for the weather since I had erroneously assumed it would not be 17 degrees outside on March 28 (I was wrong). I’d left in a hurry and had forgotten my hat and gloves. I’d also forgotten to put on socks. It was a busy morning, but this was sadly typical in my life.

I let Capone play in the dog park a few minutes before class with his doggy friends and he had a blast. Maybe too much of a blast. He was so excited when we walked into class that he almost vibrated. He performed well otherwise, but I wondered if all the running and romping in the dog park may have triggered the puking.

I chose a spot near the door for the rest of the class and when Capone started gagging again, I pulled him outside immediately. I didn’t want to go through the whole cleaning-up-the-dog-vomit routine again. Once was more than enough.

As soon as I got outside, I saw her. The Wicked Witch of the Westies. She was back. She pulled up to a space close to the dog walk area and pulled the Westies out of the car one by one, little balls of perfectly groomed white fur. They had on matching sweaters that were color coordinated. It was sickening.

I looked down at my feet. I hadn’t managed to get socks on this morning, and she had the time to color coordinate Icelandic dog sweaters and dress four Westies. There was something very wrong with this picture.

Once again, she didn’t make eye contact or acknowledge our existence, but her little dogs did. They barked and yipped and stared at Capone. He looked up at them once, seemed confused by their sweaters, and went back to sniffing rocks that other dogs had peed on.

“That’s my boy,” I said, as I gave him a pat.

We went back into the class, Capone didn’t barf again, and I realized I had no time for people like the Wicked Witch of the Westies. I had to be realistic. I didn’t even have time to find a pair of socks. If she wanted to be a snob and refuse to talk to or even look at anyone else, it really was her loss.

I tried for a moment to imagine having the kind of life in which I’d be motivated to purchase matching Icelandic sweaters for four identical dogs, and I just couldn’t do it.  It sounded like a sad, pathetic life indeed.

I tried to muster up some sympathy for the Wicked Witch of the Westies, but I couldn’t do that either. Mostly because I caught a glimpse of her sweater when she unzipped her coat.

It was Icelandic. She matched her dogs.

Tired puppy after obedience class on his favorite blanket – not a sweater in sight.