I spot Louie as I wait to drop my bags off at the airline check-in counter. He trots past all distinguished-like with that patent leather jewel embossed collar with his name in all caps. Clearly acquainted with bourgeoise life, he doesn’t seem to mind his argyle doggy sweater, the fawning gawkers pointing in delight, or the resealable French dog treats his owner feeds him when they come to a stop at the first-class ticket counter. No, Louie expects all of these things. He’s well-acquainted with the good life.
As his humans and an airline agent converse, Louie turns toward me and I get the full frontal. His black and white-haired face is so well-groomed that I touch my spit ends self-consciously. Yet he does not seem to notice me as his saucer eyes sweep the vast space around him. His adult male human calls his name, and Louie turns, ears perked up, tail wagging with an excitement that does not betray his nonplussed cool. His humans bend down to pet him, and as they ooze adoration, I move to the front of my queue.
I sneak another glance at Louie, and in one felled swoop, his adult male human ushers Louie into a carrier already opened on the ground, zips it, and exchanges this pet prisoner with the agent. Louie yelps. The adult female human coos to placate him. Louie, sounding decisively more distressed than any creature so coddled should sound, yelps again double time and then whines. I shake my head in pity while advancing toward the ticket agent now waving me down at the available economy class counter and as Louie’s humans brush past me I hear one say,
“He’ll be fast asleep soon. Slipping a pill with his treats always does the trick.”