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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In Market: Dog Uber

So there I was on a recent Friday morning trying to get the trash and recycling out at my father’s house. I was rushing. It was already raining, but I wanted to beat the Old Testament-style deluge. For once the weathermen and weatherwomen were going to be on the money with their fearful forecasts of impending doom and destruction.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something running in the moderate downpour. I figured it was one of the cats I feed on my dad’s porch. Sorry, cats, the porch is flooded today.

I get the trash and recycling containers in their places and then it starts. Thunder, rain, toads, locusts, Amway salesmen … so I run to the car to escape, open the door and what the…? Zoom – something passes me by with lightning speed and leaps into the car. It’s hard to see in this downpour, but it’s…it’s…

A dog. A medium-sized, very wet, reddish-brown dog. He calmly gets in the passenger seat and sits, dripping wet. I tell him to get out and he’s obviously deaf…right. No, he’s just smart. He knows Noah’s ark when he sees it.

The phrase “raining cats and dogs” comes to mind and a question: Do dogs car-jack?

Then, it really, really comes down, and not wanting to be stupider than a dog, I get in the car. He shakes, of course. Then gets in the back seat and shakes some more. Then he hops back in the front as calm as can be. It’s like we do this every day. “Where are we going today, dad? McDonald’s or Wendy’s?”

During the depression, hobos used to paint different symbols on fences or homes with chalk to let other hobos know what to expect. A drawing of a cat meant there was a kindly person inside. Do I have a cat drawing on my car?

As we huddle together in the blinding, relentless storm, I check him for a collar.

I’m in luck. Not only does he have a collar, but a tag and…a tag with an address.

Better than that, I recognize the address: It’s the home of the late and lovely Bettye Elrod – just around the corner from my parents’ home. I know it well. Bettye was a renowned pet lover, I might add. I feel like I’m honoring her pet-friendly spirit.

So I drive Sandy – the dog – home, wait for the rain to settle down a bit. Then I get out and Sandy – reluctantly, I might add – jumps out of the car and toddles home.

So that’s my new business – Dog Uber. Everyone get your dog a Smartphone and I’ll be in business. Watch for me on Shark Tank.

Enjoyed your company Sandy, you were the best behaved wandering dog I’ve ever met, though there’s some cleaning to be done in the car.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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