OPN Petting a dog-1578135273804
One should always ask before petting someone’s dog. Image Credit:

Is that a Boston terrier?! I love Boston terriers. My aunt used to have a Boston terrier, and they are just the cutest little things.

Listen, do you mind if I pet your dog? Well, you’re welcome and of course. You should always ask before petting someone’s dog. You mean to tell me strangers will just walk up and pet your dog without asking?

Ugh. Some people are so inconsiderate, aren’t they? Aren’t they, umm What’s your dog’s name? Willy. That’s such a great name.

Do you mind if I scratch Willy’s belly? Of course I’m going to ask first. What kind of person walks up to a stranger and starts rubbing their dog’s belly? You’re kidding, right? What is wrong with people?

You like that, don’t you, Willy? Don’t you, boy Listen, do you mind if I call your dog Sophie? Well, yes, of course I know that Willy isn’t a girl dog, but he just looks like a Sophie to me, and I don’t feel comfortable calling him Willy when he just doesn’t seem like a Willy.

Great, thanks! I knew you would be fine with it, but hey, you have to ask first, just to make sure.

It looks like Sophie really likes me, don’t you, girl? Don’t you? Listen, do you see that girl over there? No, no, the one way over there by the pond. Yeah, the one with the glasses. Do you mind if I bring Sophie over to help me get her attention?

I’ve been trying to work up my nerve to talk to her for weeks now, but I just can’t do it. I’m so shy. Maybe I won’t have to talk if I have Sophie. Maybe my soul mate will strike up a conversation with me! Well, of course I know she’s out of my league. That’s why I asked you if I could bring Sophie!

No, no, it’s O.K. You were right. She out of my league.

more off the cuff

I can’t believe I just talked to Karen for three hours! I know, right? I never would have pegged her as a Karen, either.

How did it go? It couldn’t have gone better. She asked me if I wanted to grab something for dinner! Yes, tonight. And she was absolutely smitten with Sophie.

So do you mind if I take your dog to dinner with me? I kind of, sort of, told Karen she was my dog. Yes, of course the restaurant is dog friendly. O.K., great. I’ll see you in a few hours. Yes, just meet me right here.

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find you. Listen, I had every intention of bringing Sophie back after dinner, but Karen asked me to come back to her place, and one thing led to another and, well, we’ve basically been inseparable for two weeks. Now she wants me to move in with her.

No, I do not think we’re moving too fast, and I resent you for even saying such a thing. I mean, you barely know anything about me — and you’ve never even met Karen!

No, no. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not stupid. You just didn’t think.

Anyway, do you mind if I keep your dog for a few more months, half a year tops? I’ll either work up the nerve to tell Sophie the truth during that confessional part of the relationship or I’ll bring her back to you when I can convincingly lie to Karen about Sophie getting lost. I figured you’d be fine with me keeping her, but it would be rude not to ask.

What, do you live in this park? Take it easy. I’m just messing with you.

Listen, Sophie ran into some serious health problems. Honestly, we almost lost her. Did you know dogs are basically allergic to chocolate? Oh, really. That’s a thing then, huh?

Anyway, we had to rush her to the vet, and it cost us like $1,700 to save her life so Oh god, don’t even mention it. Of course, of course. Was I going to let Sophie die over a measly $1,700? Come on, what kind of a person do you think I am?

But here’s the thing: Karen and I are in the middle of planning our wedding, and money’s a bit tight right now, so do you mind if I bill you for your dog’s emergency vet bill? Sure. Sure. Venmo is actually perfect. My email is Can you hang on just a sec? This woman who’s been awkwardly standing next to me seems to want something.

Can I help you? Her name is Sophie, and yes, I agree. Boston terriers are just the cutest little things. What’s that? Do I mind if you pet my dog? Why yes, I do mind. I mind very much. No, you may not pet my dog.

— Jared Bilski is a noted columnist