Bliss, my Labrador Retriever, is afraid of chrome objects and has been since the day I got her spayed. That was eleven years ago, and although she has forgiven me, she hasn't forgotten what happened. She shakes and shivers whenever she's in an animal hospital, or even thinks she's entering one.

I worried about this when I signed her up for picture day at Petco. She's twelve now, and just as frightened as ever. She thinks nothing of growling in my pit bull's face, but take her to the pet store or another shiny place and suddenly she becomes cream cheese.

"Is this Bliss?" the photographer asked in her sweetest voice. I looked up to see a cute girl with short, black hair and very blue eyes.

"Yes," I replied. "We've been walking around for an hour to get her used to the place."

"What a great idea!"

As Bliss stepped onto the mat, I hoped she wouldn't see the metallic umbrella behind us. But the upraised camera alone was enough to make her pant heavily. And then her back leg started to shake. For the next ten minutes, I tried every trick in the dog training books to get her to sit, lie down, or watch me. She wouldn't even take a treat and soon my heart sank at the thought of not getting one good shot to remember her by.

"Do you think a pillow will help?" the girl asked.

No, but at that point I was willing to try anything.

The girl disappeared behind the racks of dog beds and returned with a fat, ochre pillow--just the right accessory to make Bliss look like a queen. I got excited until the photographer raised her camera again. Then Bliss took off, leaving a huge wet spot behind.

I was aghast. The pillow must have cost at least sixty dollars. And when the girl carried it to the back room, a yellow trail appeared on the floor. Customers were stepping in it, around it, and over it. In one afternoon, Bliss had given "where the pets go" a whole new meaning.

The girl returned with a roll of paper towels, and it soon became clear I was the one who would clean up the mess. As she handed me one towel at a time, I was on my hands and knees about to panic. The more I wiped the floor, the more pee there seemed to be. I knew from experience that a girl who had never changed a dirty diaper would be on the verge of vomiting.

"Would you like me to try for more pictures?" she asked, probably hoping I'd say "no."

"Yes, please," I replied. I was determined to get at least one shot of my dearest friend; even if she did look like she was being held for ransom.

The girl snapped the button a couple of times with Bliss looking everywhere but at the camera. Finally, she gave up and moved to the table with her laptop on it. After tapping the keys for awhile, a brilliant picture of Bliss appeared on the screen.

"I can't believe it!" I said. "You'd think she just spent the day at the dog park."

"Digital photography is amazing," she told me.

I hadn't thought it possible, but I wound up purchasing five different poses that day. I left the store feeling satisfied, even though the girl didn't ask me to enter the contest to win an even bigger picture package.

Gee, I wonder why.


Larry Githens June 29, 2011 @ 7:41 a.m.

Mindy I have enjoyed your posts very much. Hope to add my posts/comments soon, as I live in Rancho Bernardo. It appears that you are the only person that is posting currently.


emstersmom1 June 30, 2011 @ 9:36 a.m.

Hi Mindy. I too enjoy reading your blogs. You stated you are trying to get your novel written. Do you belong to a writing critique group? I belong to a group and we meet once a week on Thursdays. Let me know if you are interested. One of the girls in the group just got her first book published and it's being released today.


emstersmom1 June 30, 2011 @ 10:54 a.m.

I know what you mean. You and Nan have always given support to my blog posts, but the reader editorial staff doesn't seem to be too supportive. I too have been leary of writers groups,most are very self serving and don't play well with others. (legends in their own minds)But our group has been together for over three years. We started out in a how to get published class through Palomar and ended up losing the funding and our meeting place, because of the damn economy. The core group who are really serious about our writing have continued to meet on our own and have made great strides in getting published. We value each other as writers and give support and contructive criticism in regards to the structure of the body of work, respecting the voice and integrity of the work itself. Several of us are working on novels. I have one completed and am in the process of editing for the fifth time. I have a second book that is still in it's infancy at 25,000 words. The first hour of our meeting we go over marketing ideas for submitting our work, then we take time reading works in progress.


Robert Johnston June 30, 2011 @ 12:27 p.m.

Hey, Mindy!

Cute story, that. And yes, I tend to go my own way when it comes to "non-blog" items. You fine folks have given me much to think about when it comes to how I put my skills to work. However, when you are in a situation for the first time (as in "the new meat" of the writer's group you just joined), the level of support you get depends on how supportive the members really are to anyone "new to the craft."

The same is true for poetry groups. Though I loved my time at the Magee Park Poets, I would often run into some Al Colonge (a wannabe) who often focused his "resnarks" about the fact I tended to do best with Dark Poetry. One even called me "Old Doom-and Gloom."

(FYI--When Magee Park Poets moved their "base of operations" to the "Dove Branch" of the Carlsbad City Library (off the 309 bus route, near Encinitas), I had no other choice but to exile myself, since getting there-and-back on the bus was a no-go. But I still miss my buds!)

So, like I said, I usually go my own way. Enjoy Your Day!



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