It is almost official.
We haven’t been formally informed but I am almost certain it’s a given.
Their looks tell us.
So does their body language.
Today’s episode practically guarantees that Roxy and I are deemed outcasts.
And it’s all Roxy’s fault.
She started off small.
The low growl was easily camouflaged with a cough or clearing of the throat.
But then it got worse.
The throaty growl rapidly turned into a snarl.
And just like that, Roxy had metamorphosed into the neighborhood bully.
Yes, yes, I now that with a face like this, you all think she’s sugar and spice.
But alas, it turns out our little miss has a mean streak.
She’s taken to barking, hissing, and even nipping at furry friends we encounter on our walks.
This morning, an elderly lady who used to be sweet to us, crossed to the other side of the street with her Chihuahua, all the while giving us the stink eye.
The young couple with the brown Pomeranian whispered to each other and picked up their ball of fur when we were ten feet in front of them.
The kind lady that used to give Roxy treats pretended not to see us and instructed her poodle to walk faster.
The gentleman who owns the adorable Westie named Lizzy, shortened its leash the minute he saw us.
To make matters worse, as we entered the dog park, I saw everyone scatter.
In less time than it takes to say, “bad dog,” people and pets had cleared a path for us.
It was as if I was walking a 70 pound ferocious attack dog instead of ten pounds of “used to be nice.”
The Significant Other and the Son don’t know what has prompted this behavioral change in Roxy.
But then again, neither do I.
One day she was hugs and kisses and the next, she had turned into mini Cujo.
Last week she was the most popular girl on the playground, and now she’s the tiny bully everyone shuns.
Sadly, I’m the one who has to deal with the whispers, the stares, the looks.
Looks that silently scream, “bad mom.”
I hope this is temporary; a pothole in the road to us once again being the loved couple we used to be.
But for now, we’re being shut out; reduced to invisibility; exiled to the middle path of the dog park.
Perhaps it is time to give the dog whisperer a call.
Before Roxy’s friendless status becomes permanent.
Before I start bribing dogs to throw her a bone.
Before we both have to wear matching sweaters with the letter “P” stitched on the breast pocket.
P for “pariahs,” because that’s what Roxy and I have become.
I’m crossing my fingers that Roxy will snap out of her Mr. Hyde persona.
Friends, any suggestions for how to deal with this predicament are heartily welcomed.
In the meantime, here’s a little Roxy love for inspiration.
Has your furry friend ever experienced the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde dilemma?