Pietsie, our little poodle of eight years old, did not feel well. Her nose was cold and dry, her eyes were sad and she wanted nothing, but to lay around. As she is the only dog in Israel that takes a weekly bath and has her behind wiped on a daily basis with a special wet towel, she is allowed to sleep inside any bed, under the covers. And as she is very little, it is sometimes very difficult locating her inside a bed. On top of it she got a bad stomach, so the situation was…. running…. out of hand.
But even sleep and rest did not help her: the vet said it would take a few days.
A family council was gathered, which included our daughter on the phone from her army base, with my son, other daughter, their mother and myself around our dinner table, to discuss the emergency situation. After looking at options we decided to help her. She still wanted the warmth and comfort of a bed, any bed, but… let’s say we could not trust her to be clean. And thus I got elected by the ‘Pietsie-commission’, to go out in the rain and buy diapers for our little dog.
It was already late in the evening and I found a pharmacy, where of course the queue was long: we Israelis love medicine, even if we do not need it.
Finally, it was my turn.
“Good evening, may I help you?”, asked the pharmacist polite.
“I need some diapers.”, I replied.
“Size?”, he asked.
“Oh, the smallest.”, I said.
“Ah, a newcomer!”, cried the pharmacist happily. I heard polite wishes of ‘mazal tov’ all around.
“Well, actually…”, I started, but the pharmacist was faster. “Here we have the smallest and softest diapers in the world. A bit pricey, but I am sure you are willing to purchase only the best.”
“Well, I am in fact looking for something really cheap.”, I said. “And quality is not the issue.”
The whole pharmacy went quiet. People in the queue stopped mumbling and everyone was giving me a cold stare.
“You understand, it is just for a few days and then she won’t need the stuff anymore.”, was I explaining.
“I understand!”, said the pharmacist coldly. “Next thing you’ll want the old fashioned cotton diapers!”
“Even better!”, I answered with a smile. As long as the bed does not get dirty, I am fine with anything!”
The pharmacist gave me an angry look. “Well we do not have old fashioned stuff. We offer only the best for the little ones. To be honest I can’t understand how you can be so cruel and heartless to you little one.”
The mumbling around me started again. It sounded as if everyone was agreeing.
“Saving money on little ones, a hutzpah!”, someone behind me whispered.
“Baby-hater!”, I heard from near the entry door.
“Well, just give me the cheapest and smallest diapers and I’ll be on my way.”, I said. I just wanted to be away from there.
“Do you need any crème or lotion?”, the pharmacist asked.
“We are doing fine without.”, I answered politely.
I heard sighs of unbelief around me. And decided to have some fun.
“In any case, if she really has to go, we take her out in the streets and let her do it there.”, I said, while people around me were rolling their eyes.
“Sir, I simply do not believe you.”, the pharmacist said, close to a fit.
“Really,”, I continued with a serious face. “You really do not think that we would let her dirty our house? If she needs to go, then in the streets it is, whatever weather it may be.”
I got the bill and paid. On my way out, a lady stopped me. She had tears in her eyes. “You heartless barbarian!”, she uttered dramatically and turned around.
Back at home we helped Pietsie with her diaper and put her under the covers. Two days later she was back on her feet and feeling fine. I was with my eldest daughter shopping, near the pharmacy where I bought the diapers. I went inside. I had to. The pharmacist turned recognised me and gave me a cold look.
“I have a question.”, I said politely. “Those diapers I bought some days ago, we only used three of them. Can I get a refund for the remaining package?”
“Out! OUT!”, shouted the pharmacist.
© Simon Soesan