The Man and His The Bear-Wolf Dog

It had been a long week, and it was time for my coworker friend, Hannah, and I have to have our weekly Friday Chipotle lunch date. As we walked over, we talked about the different frustrations we were having within our team and the projects at hand. Needless to say, it had been a long week/month/year. And you know what they say — Chipotle burritos only ever help situations.

We decided we both needed a break, so we got a table inside instead of heading back immediately to eat at our desks. As I was scraping the guacamole off the tin lid with a tortilla chip, I glanced up at the man paying for his meal. The man had physical disabilities and was being closely followed by his service dog. The dog’s vest which stated his occupation was the only reason we knew it was a service dog because, from the looks of him, he could have been some sort of inter-species, bear-wolf hybrid. We were so mesmerized by the dog and his sweet disposition, neither of us could focus on eating our food!

As his human got situated, the bear-wolf dog roamed around the Chipotle, greeting other customers, until he found the only piece of carpeting in the restaurant — right in front of the soda fountain and all the utensils. No one cared that he was very much blocking them from getting what they needed. It was the lunch rush hour in a busy corporate area of town, but I think everyone’s mood lightened with the presence (and size) of the bear-wolf dog. He certainly made us forget about the stress in our office for 20 minutes.

Hannah and I talked about this dog to our other coworkers like he was a mythical legend we would never see again. It might have been a “you-had-to-be-there” kind of experience because no one we told seemed as enthused about this dog as we were. I mean it might also help to know that on our breaks, we would send each other available dogs on the Oregon Humane Society’s website, even though neither of us can get a dog at the moment. Point is, we were obsessed and never forgot about the bear-wolf dog who took a nap in a Chipotle.

A couple months later, I quit my job and the week that followed was a roller coaster of relief, rage, and sadness. Hannah came over to my house almost every other day the first two weeks I was gone. On one of those days, I took her with me to run errands at the grocery store down the street. We finished our shopping and were set to leave the parking lot when I yelled, “HANNAH. Look. Who. It. Is.” It was the man and his bear-wolf dog getting into their van. Were we seriously getting starstruck by a dog? You bet we were.

Flash forward to this past weekend, when she and I were having a co-work session at Starbucks. Both of us were heads down in our laptops and books. With my ADHD, I can’t help but look up every single time someone opens the door. Most of the time, it’s pretty distracting, especially if the place is busy. But I looked up as the door once again opened, and whispered to my friend, “Hannah… just be cool.” She slowly looked up to see that our favorite bear-wolf dog had just come in with his human. Both of us — dead.

Instead of being the creeps that we normally are with this dog (it’s a little bit of a problem), his owner sat next to us in the coffee shop and we actually talked to him instead of taking secret pictures of his service dog. We found out the dog’s name is Nico and he’s only 2-years-old. Nico stood next to our table as we cuddled his face then, again, he laid down on the only carpet in the store which of course was right in front of the door.


I know he’s not our service dog, but he always shows up wherever we are when we need him. He’s my favorite and I look forward to our next encounter 🙂

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