How to be the Worst Dog Mom in the World

Where’s Monty?” asked my husband, looking around our new apartment.

“He’s out with his new friends,” I said.

“Ahh,” he replied. “And how’s that going?”

“Well, in the beginning there was much butt sniffing and ball stealing,” I said. “But now everyone seems to be getting along great!”

Monty, of course, was our dog, an extremely gregarious and very energetic English White Golden Retriever. When we lived in the suburbs, Monty had plenty of room to run around, play fetch, and generally indulge in typical outdoor dog activities like finding dead things in the yard and bringing them home. But when we sold the house and moved into an apartment in the city, grass became a thing of the past, and our new backyard was a 5 x 8 balcony. Naturally, we were concerned he wouldn’t get enough exercise, or social time, or the chance to pose for selfies for his Instagram account. So, we did what many other city dog owners do to help their dog get more outdoor time—we joined a dog-walking group.

The group we found turned out to be a great fit for Monty. In addition to Monty, there were two yellow Goldens who lived in our building, and they all bonded over mutual Golden exuberance and large quantities of dog slobber.

They were all doggone happy until one of the yellow Goldens moved away. Fortunately, the group quickly picked up a new white Golden like Monty. Then the other yellow Golden dropped out and a new white Golden moved into the building and joined the group. Finally, the dog walker himself decided that white Goldens were the bomb and he got one, too.

Now there were four white Goldens who looked like one four-headed dog when they walked close together. At first glance, they all looked identical. But up close, it was pretty easy to tell them apart. Monty was the broadest, Stevie was the youngest, Max was the tallest, and George’s fur flipped under his ears so he looked like George Washington, which was probably why they named him George in the first place.

All was going swimmingly until one day as I was coming home from running errands, I saw the Golden posse standing together by the door to my building. As I got closer to the group, I looked at the dogs and discovered, much to my horror, that I didn’t know which one was mine.

I was horrified. What kind of dog-mom doesn’t know her own dog?

I squinted harder and was able to rule out Stevie, but the other three all looked the same.

Now I was starting to panic. What if I picked the wrong dog to greet? Would my dog be insulted? Would he chew up all my good underwear for revenge? This was a major dog-mom infraction. I suspected there was a good chance the authorities were going to take my Petco points away and sentence me to 36 hours of community pooper-scooping.

I knew I could cheat by shouting his name, but I felt it was my duty, as his human, to figure out which one he was. I walked closer and ruled out George Washington. The fur flip gave him away. Now it was just between two dogs. I looked back and forth between them and then I saw the telltale glint in Monty’s eyes that would twinkle when he caught sight of me. We locked eyes and I knew without a doubt it was my dog.

As I approached the group, the dog walker suddenly saw me coming, and yelled.

“Hi Sarah!”

I stopped and looked behind me but there was no one there.

“Hey Sarah,” he called out a second time.

I walked up to the group to greet my dog and I could see the confusion in the dog walker’s eyes.

“Oh sorry,” he said. “I thought you were someone else.”

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