My sister and I grew up in a house without pets. My parents, one from the bustling city of Delhi, India and other from the busy, borough of Brooklyn, had no room or time for pets. In fact my father feared for his life when a dog came into the room or greeted him at someone’s front door. My mother, on the other hand, seemed unaffected my cute puppies or kittens. You are what you know and in the case of animals, my sister and I acquired our parents’ same traits and feelings. So when my sister cautioned that she stood ready to alert the SPCA due to a story I’d told her about a date of mine, I knew it was a big deal. (And for the record, until today when I looked it up, I didn’t even know that SPCA stood for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.)
I’d gone on a couple of dates with a guy who worked long hours, lived in an apartment in Dallas without a doggie door and still chose to own a dog. In his defense (probably the only time I’ll stand up for this person), he did take his dog to doggie day care on most, but not all work days. We had a date planned for a Friday night. I’d gotten tickets to see a comedy show in Ft. Worth, a forty-five minute to an hour drive away, and invited him. He’d drive. Of course he would—chivalry isn’t dead…yet.
When I asked my date to go to the show he seemed excited. Then he even texted me to ask if we should stay the night in Ft. Worth; his reasoning was if we had drinks at the show or at dinner in Ft. Worth it wouldn’t be a good idea to drive back to Dallas. The other option would’ve been to be responsible enough not to drink at all on the date or to just have one beer at the start of the night. Apparently sobriety was not on the menu, but a hotel room was, with me in the roll-a-way bed.
My date’s idea of a joke (I think) was offering me a cot, while he got the room’s real bed. Now, I don’t know when the most appropriate time to invite a girl to stay the night with you in a hotel is (not to mention telling her she drew the short end of the stick and got the kiddie bed), but I wouldn’t guess it’d be before you kissed her. I lose this one. Hey, maybe he wanted to get the kiss and everything else out of the way all at once.
This is the sexier; I mean not so sexy part (stay tuned) of this story, but part of it all the same. I replied: “[o]k, that makes sense. I agree, let’s not drink and drive. And if you’ve had a long week and wanted to drink a lot, sure we can stay the night in Ft. Worth.” If I were a guy and I heard those words come out of a girl’s mouth, I’d high tail it to the nearest Walgreens or CVS to pick up some “stuff” for later that night. Not my date. He didn’t do that and he didn’t even make a hotel reservation after bringing up the whole hotel idea in the first place.
Instead, he arrived at my apartment thirty minutes late. Thirty minutes late, meant that eating dinner before the show wasn’t an option. When I came out of my apartment and called down to him asking if I should bring an overnight bag, he shrugged, pointed to the phone at his ear and mouthed: “I’m on with the Marriot right now.”
I asked him: “Did you bring stuff to stay the night?”
He replied, again in the form of a shrug, “toiletries.”
I took his being on the phone with the hotel chain and his confirmation that he had toiletries (which I now doubt he actually had with him) as a green light, as in we’re staying the night in Cow Town. Accordingly, I went back into my apartment and grabbed my overnight bag that I’d pre-packed, because staying in Ft. Worth was the plan, right? He’d even called me that morning to tell me he’d call hotels and make arrangements for someone to watch his dog.
By the time I got downstairs and asked him to open the back of his car so I could put my bag there, he was still on the phone with the Marriot. He wasn’t making reservations. He was trying to resolve an issue about a credit he had and a prior stay. It didn’t get resolved to his satisfaction. He finished his phone call and started complaining about how he hadn’t been home since 6 that morning and that he hadn’t let his dog out since 6 a.m. either.
At this point, I realized my questions about staying the night and my overnight bag were all for naught. We weren’t going to be staying in Ft. Worth. It was 6:45 p.m. We hadn’t eaten and we didn’t have time to drive to Ft. Worth and eat before the show. The most reasonable and kind thing to do would’ve been to drive to his apartment and let the dog out, but that’s not what my date chose to do. He chose to start driving to Ft. Worth.
This is the moment in the telling of the story when my sister began to cringe. She doesn’t even live in Dallas. I told her this story over the phone and I could tell just by her tone and audible sighs that she despised my date and the way he treated his dog. She knew that the show started at 8 p.m. She knew that it’d end close to 10:15 p.m. And she knew we still had to eat and drive back to Dallas. That’s over 16 hours the dog had to hold it and not go to the bathroom in my date’s apartment.
“Hold it right there,” my sister exclaimed. And followed with: “[y]ou should’ve called the SPCA. That’s animal cruelty we’re talking about! That guy should be turned in for that. What a terrible pet owner. Disgusting.”
Well, my sister’s right. That guy shouldn’t have treated his dog that way. He should’ve let the dog out before we started the drive to Ft. Worth. He probably should’ve driven straight to his apartment after we got back to Dallas and before we ate dinner, which for the record I suggested. But again, he didn’t do that either. He figured if the damage had been done, it’d been done and going to get the dog right then wouldn’t solve the problem of us both feeling famished. So we found a restaurant still serving dinner and arrived there around 11:30 p.m. We finished eating at 1 p.m. Then my date drove me home.
When I asked him to help me pull my unused overnight bag out of the back seat, he looked at me and announced: “I didn’t know you brought a bag. If I’d known that, we definitely have stayed the night in Ft. Worth.” Really? This guy really didn’t know I brought an overnight bag, after I asked him if we were staying in a hotel and after he opened the door to his car for me to put my bag in the back seat. Am I supposed to believe his obliviousness? I don’t think so.
But I’ll tell you what I can’t believe—the text message I got from my date after he got home and surveyed his apartment for wet spots. His message read something like this: “[g]ood news. No accidents!” That message meant his dog didn’t urinate on his carpet or anywhere else in his apartment. In case anyone’s still counting, my date’s poor little dog (I forgot to mention that he also told me his dog was blind) held it for over eighteen hours. Even for someone who didn’t grow up with pets, I find that outrageous. Plus, if someone’s going to treat his dog like that, how is he going to end up treating me? This is one of the questions I’ve asked myself since that date along with whether or not it’s too late to notify the SPCA.