When I got a dog, I vowed never to leave him home alone for more than a half a day, tops. “It’s not fair to him,” I said. “I’ll be his whole world, the side pony to his elastic hair band, the ‘stache to his wet nose, the Kelly Kapowski to his Zack Morris.”
And for the past six and a half years, I’ve been pretty successful.
This week, I took my dog with me on a trip to Maine, and for the most part, the scene out and about has looked like this:
RANDOM PASSERBY 1: Is that a Labradoodle?
RANDOM PASSERBY 1: What’s her name?
ME: His name is Uncle Jesse.
RANDOM PASSERBY 1 (smiling): Dukes of Hazard?
ME: Full House.
RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Adorable!
ME: Thank you!
RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Is she a puppy?
ME: Nope, he’s six.
RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Wow, she looks like a puppy.
RANDOM PASSERBY 3: Oh my god. She’s so cute.
(Repeat above to infinity.)
On Wednesday, I took Uncle Jesse to Jordon Pond in Acadia National Park, and just as we set foot on the trail, a shout stopped us.
“Hey! Hey! Can I see your dog?”
A thin, middle-aged man took his foot out of a red kayak and jogged over.
No! Shut your eyes and turn around, madman! I thought.
Uncle Jesse squatted and pooped.
“Goldendoodle?” the man asked.
“I have a Goldendoodle. I couldn’t bring her today because I’m going kayaking.”
“Yeah… well… that makes sense,” I offered.
“Here, let me show you a picture.”
Kayak Man pulled out his phone and took three minutes to bring up a blurry photo of a giant Goldendoodle in front of a tent.
A park ranger who’d been within earshot approached. He stared at Uncle Jesse.
“Are you sure she’s a Labradoodle?” he asked.