This is part 2 of a memoir I posted last weekend. If you haven't read Part 1 - and you want to - click here.
“Get that filthy thing out of here! Get it out of here!” yelled the manager frantically. He was waving his hands around like he was swatting some unseen flies. None of the store employees made a move to follow his command. His eyes looked even larger now and sweat stains were growing under his arms. Two of the cashiers slowly came forward and approached the big yellow dog. It cowered lower and looked at them menacingly. They were afraid. Big yellow dog was afraid. Blood dripped from the upraised paw. Silence. For a few moments everyone in the place was staring at the wet wounded creature.
That moment is etched in my mind; the spreading pool of blood on the gleaming floor, black in the harsh overhead lights, the ragged ear, the wet matted fur, the big store manager puffing and sweating, the scared cashiers inching their way toward the frightened, injured creature. The scene from an overacted movie.
The manager, agitated that his orders were not being followed quickly enough, broke the nervous silence yelling in a high pitched falsetto, “Somebody grab that thing and get it out of my store!”
The cashier closest to the dog stopped and crossed her arms across her chest. She had been offended and wasn’t about to take orders given so harshly. She walked to her station at the register. “Sorry,” she mumbled sarcastically, in a voice just loud enough to be heard by those around her. “That’s not in my job description.”
The manager was getting desperate. Not only was a wet and bleeding stray dog messing up his immaculately clean store, but he was being told off by an employee. Another cashier, not to be outdone by the back-talker, also turned away and said, “Why don’t you get it out of here?” She also crossed her arms over her chest and returned to her register with a look of smug satisfaction.
“I wouldn’t touch that filthy thing!” he snorted.
I broke open the box of dog biscuits before paying for it, left my basket on the floor in the checkout line and walked slowly over to the frightened animal. “Here old girl,” I spoke softly, offering the biscuit. Head down, water dripping from her ears, belly, snout and tail, she glanced up meeting my eyes for the briefest instant before again looking down. Lifting her nose slightly higher in the air she sniffed in my direction but wouldn’t accept my peace offering.
“Won’t somebody do something?! Call 911!” shouted the frenzied manager.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” grumbled an elderly man whose job it was to gather shopping carts from the parking lot. He walked slowly and steadily toward the big yellow dog. The old guy, “PAT” was on his nametag, knelt down and let the bleeding dog sniff the back of his hand. Then, sensing no danger from the frightened creature, Pat grabbed it by the scruff on the neck and dragged it in the direction of the door. Although it was a rather large dog, probably around 50 pounds, it slid easily because of the wet floor and its bloody paw. It left a red brown skid mark on the floor where it had been dragged. The old man pulled the dog. It struggled but didn’t snarl. It dragged its legs and resisted, but the man in the Wal-Mart vest shoved it outside into the pouring rain. The last I saw of the dog it was turning its head to the side, squinting in the rain, looking where to go. It trotted off to the right, head down, tail between its legs, favoring the bloody paw.
The store manager started yelling for someone to get a bucket with water and bleach to clean up the mess on the floor. I guess that was in someone’s job description because the employees began getting back to work and before long, a skinny guy with long greasy hair had a bucket and mop and was swabbing up the mess.
I finished my store business and headed back to my car. I looked around for the dog but it was nowhere in sight. I unlocked my car and switched on the heat. I sat thinking for a while, then started up my car and headed for home.
When I pulled into the garage, my dog Sasha was waiting for me. Dog smile. Wagging tail. She was glad to see me. I rubbed her chest the way she likes. She rolled over lazily onto her back, tongue lolling out to the side as I continued to scratch her. I thought of the dog from the store and wondered where she was.