A friend made in the Walmart lot



I have a dog. His name is Toby. Toby and I will have been together three years  on July 17.

I won’t ever forget that day. It was hot. When is it not hot in July in the state of Texas? I was in the community of Madisonville then. I rode over to the local Walmart – Madisonville’s Walmart in 2013 was still the same Walmart it was many moons ago when Walmart first started popping stores up across the country. It was small, and the aisles sometimes could only fit one person down them. But it was still the place to be. On certain days, the parking lot was full of people trying to sell cars, vegetables and fruits and even give-a-way puppies or cats.

The Walmart parking lot was also the place to go get a ‘snow cone.’  That is where I was headed – to the ‘snow cone’ stand.

As I pulled in, I saw this couple parked near the places where folks usually park to give-a-way animals. It was the shady spot of the parking lot , and close to the ‘snow-cone’ stand. The lady, a blonde, had a dog in her arms. The dog was a light golden color, and looked to be a bit of a misfit. By that I mean, maybe a little too big, and a little too serious for his age.

I peeked around the corner of the snow-cone stand to get a closer look. Why? I have no clue. I was not going to get a pet. My landlord wasn’t going to allow a dog. I had too much to do. Not that I didn’t love dogs, mind you. I just had made up my mind not to get a dog.

Then he looked at me. His brown eyes captured my heart with one stare. Before I knew it,  I was walking over, and I introduced myself. We talked for a bit. I found out the dog was allegedly dropped off at the end of the couple’s driveway, and they couldn’t keep it.

I said I was not sure if I could keep it, but I worked for the local paper and maybe I could find it a home.

That was when that silly little dog jumped at me and I had to catch him. I looked at him and he looked at me with those eyes that said, “Please, please, take me away from this stupid parking lot.”

When I pulled away from the Walmart parking lot that day, not only did I have my favorite flavor of shaved ice, I had a puppy with me.

The story about how he finally ended up fully mine is long, and nothing real special. I knew I was a goner from the moment we locked eyes that he was not going to leave me.

His name is Toby. Toby is a pretty fierce dog, and quite protective. Yet, he can be gentle, loving and sweet as well. He has an aloofness that is balanced with a need for closeness. He also has an adventurous spirit.

Sometimes, though I know this isn’t possibly, I think he has human qualities. Like when he pulls me away from the computer after I have been sitting too long or when he has snapped or growled at potential boyfriends that he saved my heart from  or when he runs from the kitchen when we start cooking at the house. (We are not cooks.)

My dad says that not everyone wants to read about or hear about dogs.cropped-c55a64df7a23400f69a29f108868bbed.jpg

. I just couldn’t pass up the chance today to share a little bit about the dog from the Walmart parking lot who has changed my world.

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” ― Mark Twain

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” ― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Becky Holland, TCM Ink, thecrazymuttink@gmail.com

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