Metro-East Living

Shih Tzu-napping averted, there’s still plenty to worry about

Michelle with her one-eyed Shih-Tzu, Captain Jack.
Michelle with her one-eyed Shih-Tzu, Captain Jack. Provided

I am a worrier. A hand wringer. A sackcloth and ashes kind of girl. I come by this naturally as I was born to a Jewish mother who worried for a hobby. My theory has always been: The stuff you worry about won’t get you. It’s the stuff you forget to worry about that will swoop in out of nowhere and blow you away.

For instance, yesterday I forgot to worry about my one-eyed Shih Tzu, Captain Jack. And when I came home from a Belleville Area Humane Society board meeting, my husband told me he was almost abducted.

“I was in the yard letting the dogs out,” Mark said, “when this little old lady hopped out of her car. She teeters up to Jack and says, ‘That’s my dog!’

“I said, ‘No that’s my dog.’ And then she reaches for him and says, ‘Nooo. It’s mine.’”

At this point in Mark’s storytelling, I would probably have had a heart attack if Jack weren’t sitting on the floor right in front of me. He licked his paws – it’s allergy season – and looked up at me with his watery brown eye.

“Then what happened?” I asked my husband, who seemed way too calm considering what went down. “Did you tell that lady to get out of our yard?”

Of course he didn’t. That’s not Mark’s style. While I would have tackled the dingbat dog napper before dialing 9-1-1, my ever-polite husband did just the right thing.

“I told her, ‘He has one eye,’” said Mark, who’s good at thinking on his feet. “I had to repeat it a couple times. But she finally put on her glasses and looked.”

The eye thing is Jack’s most distinguishing characteristic. Save for that, he probably is like a lot of other middle-aged, buff-colored Shih Tzus. That, and the fact I love him dearly. Life at the Schraders’ would be a never-ending sitting shiva if anything happened to that dog.

Thanks to Mark, the crisis was averted. The woman got back in her car and drove away.

“My only regret is I should have tossed Lola in her backseat,” Mark said, referring to our feisty Chihuahua.

He’s one funny guy, my husband. The thing is, he can afford to be funny. When you have a wife who worries about anything and everything, you don’t have to worry as much yourself.

Teenager out past his curfew? Don’t worry, Michelle will wait up wringing her hands. She’ll also fret over the mole that turns out to be a freckle. And that new carpet on the stairway that’s a shade too light? Gonna age her 20 years.

Worrying is a thankless job, but someone has to do it. Just like someone has to put up with the worrier. His name is Mark, and he’s the best.

“I could tell you didn’t sleep well last night,” my husband says, handing me a cup of coffee.

“I kept having nightmares someone was taking Jack. So then I’d wake up and have to hug him.”

“Luckily you didn’t have to get out of bed to do that,” he says and chuckles.

Like I said, he’s one funny guy.