I choose to do option 1, but only based my story on the first line: 

First, I have to preface this by letting you know up front that my dog is an asshole.


My stomach twisted in knots as I pulled open the door and stepped through the threshold.  I was fully expecting the lady to be waiting there with Arrow. A frown on that beautiful face of hers and him still covered in mud, enjoying every moment of being in his natural state. I win again douchebag, he’d say to me with a twinkle in those dark brown eyes. God, I’m going insane. This dog is getting to me. To my surprise, I found the opposite.

She was standing there, still holding that same beautiful smile with dark blue eyes that caught me off guard when I first came in. “Welcome back Mr. Holden. Arrow did great during his grooming session.” Not quite believing her words, I looked down at Arrow.  He looked up at me, the judgement clear in his shit colored eyes. I could tell he was already planning his pay back.  Ha, I win this round asshole, I thought to myself.  I know it sounds a bit childish, but you try living with a German Shepherd. There’s a reason they’re rated one the smartest dogs in the United States. What they don’t tell you is if your IQ isn’t over 160 you don’t stand a chance.

“How’s your car?” Blue eyes asked, bringing me out of the imaginary argument I was having with my dog.

“Oh, great. They took a hose to it. All cleaned out now.” I said with a smile.

“That dirty huh? What were you two doing?”

“Mud wrestling. It’s his favorite pastime.” She laughed as if I was joking around. Sad truth was I wasn’t.  Rainy Seattle had turned the dog park into a mud pit and Arrow went straight for it upon entering. Yelling at him was useless.  I tried walking away hoping he’d follow, instead he decided to celebrate by rolling over.  When words didn’t work I went in to get him. I slipped, landed on my ass and he took it as an invite to jump on me. Like I said, mud wrestling.  I had gone back to my apartment to shower and change before bringing him in here to hide the evidence. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. 

“Well, he’s all cleaned up now and was nothing but a gentleman.” She said as she bent over to scratch behind his ears. Arrow looked up at her with the saddest puppy dog eyes I’d ever seen. SON. OF. A. BITCH. Ha, literally. I could have sworn I saw him wink at me as she cooed over him.  His tongue came out next trying to lick her in the face. No shame. Someone was enjoying himself.

“Yeah, imagine that.” I said. Still not believing the charade playing out in front of me.  I wasn’t sure who I was more jealous of, blue eyes or the dog.

“My name is Sara by the way.” She said, straightening back up and extending her arm out to me.

“Oliver”, I replied taking her hand in mine. She gave me a small smile as she let go and brushed back a piece of her curly hair that had fallen forward. Arrow let out a small whine as he sat looking up at her. He tipped her free hand up with his muzzle asking for more attention.  Sara obliged, rubbing him behind his ears again.  Arrow let out a low groan, his eyes falling to the back of his head.  Sara laughed at the sight of it. I refrained from rolling my eyes.  My dog had moves. GREAT.


“You’ve got an incredibly sweet guy here, Oliver.” Blue eyes, I mean, Sara said.

“Yep, he’s quite the attention hog.” I replied, no sarcasm needed.  She laughed again, handed me the leash, and turned to walk around the counter. Arrow’s eyes followed her the whole time. Ears going on alert, as she walked away and disappeared from sight.  He let out a high pitched whine and started to pull on the leash wanting to follow.

“Arrow, no. Sit.” I commanded. He looked back, head tilted, acting like he didn’t understand. Trust me. He understood.  “Arrow…” My voice had that warning pitch.  He reluctantly came to my side, sat, then laid down.  A low groan of resentment leaving him.  I could have sworn I heard the word FINE somewhere in there.  Not the sit I asked for, but it’d do.  I wasn’t ready to have a battle of wills with the beast in front of Sara.

“Alright that’ll be $110.24.”  I know. I’m a sucker for a pretty face. Believe me, I would not normally pay this much for grooming, but I was a bit desperate and she was cute.  Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

I handed over my credit card, trying to come up with a way to get her number when Arrow decided to pop up next to me. He confidently placed his paws on the counter and let out one of his deep barks that said, “Hey! I’m here! Look at me!”  Oh yes, don’t worry asshole we didn’t forget you, I thought. Sara jumped not expecting it and I immediately nudged him over with my hip. It knocked him off balance enough that it forced him back down to all fours.  He looked up at me and quickly back at the counter. Don’t. You. DARE. I said with my eyes.  He could read it perfectly.  I knew he could. I’d only been giving him that look for the past three years. He did one more glance at the counter and decided to lay back down instead.  Like I said, SMART. A little bit surprised that worked, I looked back at Sara as she handed me the receipt.  “Sorry, I think he has a bit of a crush on you.”

“Oh he’s fine. Trust me, I’ve seen worse.”

“Trust me, you haven’t”, was I almost said.  Instead I replied, “Well I’ve spent a lot of time trying to train him.”  Arrow lifted up his head cocking it to one side, “LIE.”  God. I’m so glad this animal can’t actually speak.

“That’s great! I walk dogs during the weekdays and I can’t tell you how much I wish more of them were like Arrow.”  BINGO!

“Oh really? You know I could really use a dog walker. Do you have a business card?”

“Yes, I do. Let me grab it.” She disappeared into the backroom.

I looked down at Arrow, his eyes closed now, surprisingly calm. Probably deciding he’d had too much excitement for one day. 

She came back out with her card.  “Here you go. My number is on the bottom there. Maybe we can set something up this week.”

“Perfect, I’ll give you a call.” I replied. “Let’s go Arrow.” I took a step back and gave the leash a quick tug to wake him up.  He didn’t budge. “Arrow? Let’s go.” Still no movement. There was no way he couldn’t hear me. Not particularly in the mood for any more games, I reached down and gave him a little shake. He groaned deeply and rolled onto his side. Lazy bum. Seriously? Trying not to get too irritated with him in front of Sara, I nudged him again with my foot. Still no movement.  Alright, fine. I’ll play, I told him with my mind.

“Sorry buddy, but it’s time to go.” I bent down, using all my strength on my 120lb dog and lifted him up like a baby. He let out a yelp, startled at being in the air all of a sudden and tried to struggle his way out.  My grip held firm and he soon settled down admitting defeat.

“Awe, poor guy! He does look so cute like that though.” Sara cooed at Arrow.  We both looked at each other. “You’ll pay for this asshole”, his eyes told me. I grinned at the thought.

“Bye Sara. Thank you for your help!”

“Bye Oliver. Bye Arrow!” He let out a small whine as I walked out with him still in my arms.  A lady and her child that were about to walk in with their Pomeranian stopped and immediately stepped back to let me by.  The little dog went crazy when he saw Arrow.  Yapping at him as if he could do some damage in a face off.  “Watch out little guy. He could eat you in one bite.” I said, laughing at my own joke. I quickly stopped when I saw the death glare that soccer mom was giving me.  Arrow remained quiet in my arms, but I could tell he was giving his own death look to the snack below him.   

The rest of the day went pleasantly well. Arrow obviously got his ‘crazy’ out earlier in the day.  We did our usual routine: sharing the couch and catching up on our favorite shows. Arrow was particularly biased to the detective shows. He always stayed awake for those ones.

As I crawled into bed later that night I decided I’d call Sara the next day. Maybe I can offer to buy her a drink sometime next week or invite her over for dinner.  Lost in my thoughts, I hardly noticed Arrow jump up onto the bed until his body slammed into me as he laid down.

“Well, make yourself comfortable why don’t you”, I bit out. He let out a deep sigh in reply and moved his head onto my stomach, using it as a pillow.

“Dammit. Even I am not immune to your charms, pup,” I told him, giving in and rubbing him behind the ears.  A truce was called for the night.   As much as we wanted to show off to the world how stubborn we could be, we really just wanted someone to cuddle with at the end of the day. It sounds sappy I know, but it’s the truth. “Good boy, Arrow.” I whispered to him. His eyes slid closed as I leaned over and turned off the light.

I came up with a plan to have Sara come by on Wednesday to take Arrow on his first walk.  I told her I was working from home and wouldn’t have a chance to take him out.  Which wasn’t entirely true, but it would give us an excuse to see each other again.

The knock on the door came just as I expected it to at 1pm and Arrow went berserk as he always does. His deep bark bounced off the walls of apartment as I went to open the door.

“Place” I commanded him.  He responded with more barking mixed with howling this time.  How many times have we practiced this? I tried again pointing to his bed, “Arrow, place!”  He started to move in that direction, but as I went for the door he immediately dashed out in front of me.

“Come on Arrow. I promise you’ll like who’s on the other side of this door.” I tried to coax him back, but he was relentless.

“Fine, we’ll do it your way.” I opened the door fully ready to watch Arrow pounce on poor Sara. Instead he took one look at her and sat immediately, like the angel he was trying to portray. I made sure to give him a dirty look before I welcomed Sara in.

“Great place”, Sara said taking in my apartment.

“Thanks, I was on a waiting list for a while to get in here. Not many apartments will accept Shepherds.”

“How could anyone not accept this cute guy”, Sara said, bending down to say hello to him. He continued to sit perfectly still for her as she said her hello. Someone definitely has it bad. Not sure if it’s me or the dog.  Hell, maybe it’s Sara.

I showed Sara around the apartment, pointing out where I kept Arrow’s leash and treats. He followed us around like a sick puppy, making sure to show Sara all his favorite toys.  She’d take one out of his mouth and he’d immediately go find the next to bring to her. As we stood discussing what days she was available to walk Arrow, he made sure to put on a show of pouncing around with his favorite squeaker toy. Show off.

“Great, I’ll be by Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays then.” She said as she pulled out her phone to mark the days on her calendar.

“Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it”, I said, eyeing Arrow as he started to rip open his newest stuffed toy I had bought him.  Why do I keep replacing those things?

“Alright, who’s ready for a long walk?” Sara called out to Arrow as she grabbed for his leash. Arrow sprang up, tuffs of cotton still hanging from his mouth, ears forward and on alert, as he quickly walked over to Sara. She laughed and pulled the cotton away from his mouth while latching the leash to his color.

She turned to head toward the door, but stopped abruptly. “Oh, I almost forgot! We’re doing a special at the grooming shop.  If you leave us a review on yelp you’ll get $20 off your next appointment.” She dug into her bag and handed me the flyer.

“Great! I’ll definitely take advantage of that.  I’ll be sure to tell them to ask for Sara.  She can handle any dog.” She gave one of those smiles that lite up the room.  It was all the encouragement I needed.  Sara opened the door and stepped out into the hall. I took a deep breath and followed her out, “Look, I don’t know if you like baseball or not but I have two tickets to the Mariner’s opener this Thursday.  My buddy was supposed to go with me, but just backed out.” A lie. “Would you like to go?”

“Oh, I’d love to, but my boyfriend already bought us tickets.”  Shot through the heart, damn I was too late. Of course she had a boyfriend.  Now I’m the asshole.

“Oh well, no worries then.” Trying to brush it off like it wasn’t a big deal.  I bet he doesn’t have a dog who’s in love with you.

“But maybe we could all go sometime?”

“Sure. That’d be nice.” Nope. That sounds like anything, but nice, “Well, have a good walk. I’ll see you two in an hour.”

I watched them walk away down the hall, my ego a little wounded.  They stopped at the elevator and Arrow immediately sat, looking up at Sara waiting for praise, which she gave willingly. He looked back at me and I could hear the words in his eyes, I win, douchebag.  The elevator dinged and they stepped through, Sara waving as the doors closed.

I slumped back into my apartment defeated, closing the door and taking a seat on the couch.  “I guess I should write that review I promised her,” I said out loud as I opened my laptop. A cruel smile crossed my face as my fingers glided over the keyboard, “First, I have to preface this by letting you know upfront that my dog is an asshole.”




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