Living in rural Vermont you have to take your excitement where you can find it and tonight the excitement for many pet lovers in the central part of the state was the grand opening of the new Petco in Berlin. Tonight my friend Joan and I each drove 30 miles from our perspective homes to meet our friend, Jane, and her pug, Sadie, to check out the place and maybe get some grand opening deals. Joan was looking for dog food and formula for her litter of new puppies; Jane, a raised food stand to make life easier for her pug, Sadie, diagnosed with a tumor, and me, checking out the scene for any goodies for my potential new pug, Waffles, (should Joan ever see to let me adopt her.)
The store was hopping with both humans and dogs and we each found something to take home. It's funny what an excursion it became. We roamed each aisle, reading the labels on all the dog foods, discussing the layout, perusing the photographs of the professional pet photographer who was on hand. It felt akin to exploring a museum.
The most enjoyable part for me was witnessing Joan, Jane and Sadie's fun. Sadie rode in a shopping cart and genuinely seemed happy to be out and about. Jane only recently adopted her and was told she had lived with only one other owner her whole life. We often play the guessing game with the rescue dogs, wondering what their lives were like before they found their homes among us. Tonight we wondered if Sadie had shopped other Petcos with her former owner -- she seemed right at home. It is good to see her enjoying the time she has and in turn, this makes Jane beam.
When I first met Joan 14 years ago, I was struck by her relationship with her pugs. Her affection for them seemed almost childlike. Today, I also happened to take my pug, Alfie, to the vet. Two little toe-headed girls were there to pick up their own pug and when they saw Alfie, the youngest dropped to the ground squealing with glee. Joan still acts like that sometimes when she sees animals. At Petco tonight, the birds entranced her. She leaned as close to the glass as she could and murmured to them.
"Look," she too squealed, "that one has its head all the way back, look at him." She stopped at each animal display with the same delight. She cooed at a chinchilla nibbling on some twigs for so long that he darted back in his blue, ball-shaped house to hide. She exclaimed over the spooning ferrets. It reminded me of taking my four-year-old niece to the zoo or a circus.
Admittedly, there is a flip side to the Petco opening. Right down the street is a small independent pet store whose parking lot was empty this evening. I suggested stopping back and buying something as we went by, but we forgot. But that's another story of rural life, tonight's tale was a diversion -- a chance to forgo the boredom of yet again doing the same thing on another Friday night, a chance to ward off the sadness of Sadie's impending fate, a chance to revel in something that is really quite ordinary -- to make our own fun where we could find it, to spend time amidst friends in rural Vermont.