“My daughter made this little toy for Bashi and Lily so they will always have familiar scents around them,” Trudy tells us as she places a stuffed calico cat on our ottoman. Bashi sniffs it, mouths it and gives it to Lily, who sniffs it, drops it and walks into Ernest’s arms. “But they are going to need a lot more than that toy,” she says. “Have you got your wallet ready?”
Leads on we lead the Paps to Trudy’s van. I have Bashi and Ernest has Lily.
“Put them in their car crates,” Trudy tells us but we didn’t hear her as our ears are nestling the Paps’ ears. “Oh, well,” she says. “Let’s get to Petco.”
Petco is less than seven minutes from our house in a strip mall shared with several other venues of our life’s essentials—Half-Price Books, Noodles, and Anthony Thomas Chocolates. We’ll be coming here even more often.
Dogs on Leashes Welcomed Here! The sign says welcoming us.
“Oh, how adorable!” says Sandy, a sandy-haired teenager. “Fraternal twin Papillons!”
“What can we do for you?” asks Martha, an older, stouter associate.
“We’ll start with collars, harnesses and leashes,” Trudy says. She takes a cart and motions for Ernest to take another one.
“Here’s a nice leash,” Sandy says, holding up a bright magenta plastic strap.
“We want leather,” Trudy says. She chooses two and puts them in her cart. “Leather lasts forever,” she says to us. “Only and always get leather.”
“What about this cute harness?” Sandy has put a frilled pink harness atop Lily.
“Martindale harnesses, only,” Trudy says, picking two small ones off the rack. “See the wide chest plate and the plush lining,” she says to me. “Very comfortable, especially for Bashi if he decides to pull.”
Ernest, the artist in our family, picks out two small collars—one black and one turquoise.
“Good choices,” Trudy says, putting them in her cart.
I grin and toss four squeak toys into Ernest’s cart, and a catnip mouse for Asia lest she be resentful.
“Now for the rest of our shopping,” Trudy says as she gallantly leads us through the store. “Science Diet Puppy Kibble,” she says. “None of the cheap grocery stuff— Eck…too grainy….And here, tiny organic freeze-dried beef lung treats…they’re good…and this salmon treat…Omega 3’s good….Oh, and, here we have excellent Nylabone chews.” She tosses her food-choices—I mean her food choices for the Paps—into her cart.
“What’s that?” Ernest asks. Trudy has taken some kind of contraption off a shelf.
“It’s a water-fountain,” Trudy says. “It’s for continuous filtering of the water. You don’t want your puppies to drink tap water! Ugh! Chlorine! Chemicals!”
“What if we give them the same water we drink from the refrigerator nozzle?” I ask, not sure what to call that “thing” we push to fill up our glasses.
“What you don’t seem to understand,” Trudy says to me, patiently, “is that this water fountain also automatically filters the water after the Paps drink, removing dirt, hair and whatever else the Paps have come in contact with.”
Ernest puts the water fountain in his cart.
“You’ll want this, too,” Trudy says. “It’s a pheromone diffuser.” She picks up a pint-sized bottle of a liquid called, “Be Calm: Mother’s Here.” The diffuser and liquid go in her cart.
“We’ll take two of those,” Trudy says to Sandy who gets a ladder and brings down from the top shelf two metal folding-crates. “These are the very best kind,” she says. “A little expensive, but worth it because the Paps can be taken in and out from the little side door or from the top and the lock is very secure…As smart as the Paps are, they aren’t Houdinis.” She puts one crate in her cart and one in Ernest’s. “And, these sleeping mats are just the right size for their crates.” She puts four of them in Ernest’s crate.
“Four?” I ask, politely.
“You’ll want to wash the mats at least every other day so…hmm…maybe six mats is better.” She puts two more mats in Ernest’s cart. His cart looks like Mount Everest.
“Where are you hamster supplies?” Trudy asks Martha.
“What?” I ask, not quite so politely.
“Yes, of course,” Trudy says. “You’ll be feeding the Paps in their crates. The hamster kibble trays and water bottles are just the right size. I will show you how to attach them.”
Ernest and I look at each other, each of us cuddling a Pap. I know we’re thinking the same thing. Our dogs are not hamsters!
“Do you have a Petco Points card?” Martha asks.
“No,” I say.
“Well, you will want one,” she says, showing us the shopping tally: $653.16.
Ernest takes out his wallet, gives her our Visa card.