Exactly two years ago, my boys--then 3 and 5--and I walked into the local animal shelter looking for a dog. After a few visits we found one that was just the right size and temperament for our home. She was a 32 pound German shepherd mix. She came with the name Tinkerbell, perhaps one of the poorest choices for her and really only suitable for homely chiuauas and the pocket pooches of celebritantes.
She has turned out to be a good dog for us. She's good with the kids, never has accidents or destroys anything in our home. She has a lot of energy, but inside the house is relatively calm. She loves to fetch and can catch a ball in mid-air. She keeps the yard free from squirrels and stray cats, although they love to sit atop of our 6 foot privacy fence, tantalizingly out of her reach.
However, every time I take her to the vet, she embarrasses me. She pulls frantically at the leash, barks incessantly--setting off the dogs in the back of the clinic--and generally is a frenetic, neurotic nuisance. The vet always comments on how hyper and excitable she is. That's a nice way of saying she's a pest.
I try to convince him that she is only like that at the vet's office, but he's not buying what I'm selling. I swear it's true. She really isn't like this at home. He nods his head in doubtful agreement, busily filling out his paperwork willing to let me delude myself about the weirdness of my dog, in his opinion.
Once we get into the car to leave, my normal, cute dog is back. I look at her with barely suppressed irritation and remind myself that I don't care what other people think about me....or my dog.