The dog had the most interesting haircut Max had ever seen.
He stared at it as he nibbled on a cookie his mother had given him to shut him up. It stood a few places further up in the immigration line, still and silent. It was small, no bigger than Max himself. The bright lights of the airport set the blonde colored fur all over its body — well-groomed and as fluffy as a teddy bear’s — glistening. But the hair on its head was another matter.
Straight, long and neatly trimmed locks fell to its neck covering its ears from sight. In the front, its bangs reached down over its forehead and ended in a straight line just above its eyes. Such a haircut on a dog…it was almost scandalous. For heaven’s sake, the animal was a dog version of Sia.
Max tugged on his mother’s hand. “Look Mommy! That doggie has funny hair!”
“Oh Max, I told you to be quiet. Mommy is busy.” she scolded him as she rummaged frantically in her purse. “Now where did those passports go…”
“Can I go pet it?’
“What did I tell you? Be quiet!”
As always, Max took that as a yes. His mother didn’t even notice her toddler slipping away, so intent was she on finding those passports.
Max ducked under the cordons that bound off the line on one side and scampered towards the dog.
‘Hello, doggie!” he said, petting its head. Its hair felt silky and smelled like expensive shampoo. “Want a cookie?”
He held out his half eaten cookie but the dog made no move to take a bit out of it. Having a diet comprising exclusively of premium dog food, it had probably never seen or tasted such a thing before. It only stared at Max with its tongue sticking out and looking excited as dogs always do.
“Woof, woof!” tried Max.
The dog did not woof back.
Max frowned. This was one rude dog.
“Next!” The immigration officer’s voice pierced the din of the arrivals hall. The line moved forward and there was a tugging on the dog’s leash as its owner stepped up to the counter. The man turned around momentarily to set down the dog’s carrier that he’d been holding and to tie the dog’s leash to a nearby column. By the time he turned back to submit his travel documents, Max had gotten a good look at him.
Max stared. For the man had on an expensive leather jacket. He had designer shoes that were polished to such a shine, they hurt to look at. He had an even shinier Rolex watch.
He also had the same haircut as his dog.
Max burst into a fit of giggles. Then his glance fell on the pet carrier— which the dog must have been in for the duration of its flight. He forgot all about the dog and its owner.
What was it like inside the carrier, he wondered.
One thing led to another and five seconds later, Max had crawled into the carrier. And he was instantly won over.
No, it wasn’t a carrier. It was a tent in the middle of the desert. It was a cave in the depths of a forest. It was a perfect hiding spot when it was time for his bath.
In other words, it was the dream playpen for a four-year old boy.
Max grinned and waved at the dog through the netting of the carrier. No way was he ever leaving this thing.
A loud smack rang resounded through the air as the immigration officer stamped the travel documents. He handed them back to the dog’s human counterpart who glanced at his watch, quickly picked up the carrier, and ran off, forgetting that he’d ever let his pet out.
By the time Max’s mother found those passports, her son was long gone.