Puppy Trouble

“What time is it?” I asked my husband as I stared at the ceiling in the darkness toward the barking that woke me.


“4:47,” he responded in a growl.

“Do you know who lives upstairs?”

“No. What should we do?”

I sighed.

“I don’t know.” Thoughts of vicious reactions to requests to quiet the dog ran through my head, most of them mistreatment of the dog, which is what would keep me quietly seething.

We got up and had breakfast. Then I snored on the couch while he got dressed for work. I heard him on his computer after and only got up to kiss him goodbye. The dog had quit barking ten minutes after we decided to get up and start our day early.

I went to the endodontist for my root canal, ate lunch (soup) with the hubby, and bought groceries. We were off schedule on grocery shopping since arriving five hours late on the return train the previous evening from our family visit five states away. The delay and the dog dragged us both down into fatigue. Fortunately, I could nap after shopping.

Only the dog whined intermittently throughout the afternoon.

Just enough to wake me.

Our friend, and neighbor, texted that she would be down at 6 to return our key (for feeding the cats in our absence). It was not her who knocked on our door at 6, but our upstairs neighbor with her puppy, a black Lab with white toes, exuding excessive cuteness.

“Hi. My name is Karen, and this is Trouble. We changed it from Emily. We just got her a week ago and I want to apologize for her barking. She’s in training. We got the clicker and everything. She barks at night in her crate, but the vet said to let her bark, so she knows we won’t come just because she barks.”

“She’s a baby. She’s so cute,” I tell this woman who is treating her dog like an object. I offer to pet sit gratis while she works, but she informs me that they’ve already hired a dog walker.

She repeats her apology. I let her know we weren’t home the week before, which doesn’t seem to lessen her anxiety. I repeat my offer and she politely agrees to a future playdate that will never happen.

When my friend comes down the hall, I tell Karen, “I hope she earns her name back soon. She’s just a baby,” thankful for the reprieve before I say something too judgy to this woman who seemingly fails to understand that she has a baby in her home. My husband continues to speak with her as I invite my friend into our home.


With a capital T.

Her name should be


For she is only

A baby.