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Adventures in Pet Sitting #PetSitting » Jolana Malkston
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Jun 232016

Our home has been dogless since April 7th when our fur baby Dickens crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. MG and I miss the little guy so much. The house feels so empty with just the two of us rattling around in it.

We hesitated at first when our Number Two Son asked if we’d pet sit the family’s three-year-old Golden Doodle while they were on vacation. We weren’t sure how we’d feel with another dog in the house, but we eventually agreed.

The last time we pet sat Buddy, we also baby sat the grandkids too. The Princess, eldest of NT’s four children, did the honors taking care of Buddy. The Princess fed him, kept his water bowl full, let him out to answer the call of nature, put him through his obedience training, and took him outside to play and get some exercise. She did all the work so we didn’t take notice of his schedule or of what a bundle of energy Buddy was. Dickens did. He spent a lot of time avoiding the rambunctious Buddy.

This time around, it was just Buddy and us. His people dropped him off on Friday morning on their way to Niagara Falls. They left his bed, his food and water dishes, his food, his treats, his rawhide bones, his leash, and his cowbell on a cord.

That wasn’t a typo. Buddy really has his very own cowbell. It hangs on the doorknob of the door into the garage, which leads to the back door to the yard. Buddy was taught to ring the cowbell by bumping it with his muzzle whenever he needed to access the lawn in order to periodically deposit bodily waste upon it.

As we soon discovered, Buddy doesn’t ring the cowbell only when he has to go potty. He rings it at other times too–like immediately after his family left without him. He rang it so he could go outside and look for them. NT mentioned before he left that Buddy does that at home because he’s afraid he’ll miss something, and he might do it after they leave.

That he did. He rang it, and rang it, and rang it. Did I mention that the clang of Buddy’s cowbell is loud and maddening? We lasted approximately thirty-five minutes before we removed it from the doorknob when Buddy wasn’t looking and hid it. That may have been a mistake, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We never really noticed before how much Buddy loves to bark, and bark, and bark, and bark. Our neighborhood’s annual garage sale took place on Saturday. Cars and pedestrians traveled up and down our road for most of the day. Buddy barked at them for most of the day. In keeping a watchful eye on these interlopers, Buddy gifted our windows with original nose art creations.

Buddy's Nose Art

Buddy requires lots of attention. You could say his is needy, but that would be an understatement. Buddy gives new meaning to the word needy. Once you start petting him, you’re not allowed to stop. Should you stop, he lets you know that is unacceptable. He is not above climbing into your lap and getting right in your face to issue his demand for additional attention.

Back to the hidden bell. MG put Buddy out after dinner Sunday evening. Buddy did his best imitation of a lawn sprinkler but nothing else. MG went down to the family room (it’s really the man cave) on the lower level to watch the Tigers’ game on the big screen TV. After a while, I heard MG pitching a hissy fit. I didn’t think anything of it. He always pitches a fit when he watches the Tigers play. So, I didn’t think anything of it until MG came up the stairs with smoke coming out of his ears. He announced in colorful words I cannot repeat that Buddy soiled the family room carpet. Uh-oh. I realized Buddy had no way to let us know he needed to go outside. We hid his cowbell. I mentioned that to MG, and stated that it was our fault, not Buddy’s. It did nothing to improve MG’s mood. He insisted on accusing Buddy of being a bad dog. I was more charitable, but then I could be. I didn’t have to clean up the mess on the carpet. I’m still not allowed to bend or twist.

Even though MG had been his favorite from the start–MG was able to get down on the floor and play with him–Buddy sought refuge at my side while MG continued to rant about pooping dogs. How could I be angry at that little guy with the pitiful pleading look in his eyes. I’m a card-carrying softie, and dogs figure that out almost immediately.

Pleading Buddy

NT and family got home just before dawn on Monday, and he came by to collect Buddy on Tuesday afternoon. Buddy went ballistic when his master walked in. Buddy was so happy to see him, he just about leaped into his arms–from a standing start.

After they drove off, the house returned to its former state, empty and very quiet, but not for long. Buddy will make a return visit next month when his people take another trip. When he does, you’d better believe we’re not going to hide the cowbell.

  4 Responses to “Adventures in Pet Sitting #PetSitting”

  1. Buddy is such a cutie! I can truly relate to all of this. The two cats our son gifted us with before he moved West are the neediest cats I’ve ever known. They follow me around and must be involved in every activity. I am never lonely. Having taken care of my daughter’s dogs many times I know how they act when their people are gone. Fifi is especially full of crazy energy and must be walked every day. Best sight of all: my husband walking a Pomeranian while I push a dog stroller for the elderly Caesar while walking Foo Foo and Olive, the Chihuahua. What we don’t do for the furry ones.

  2. The closest I can come to something like this was when my wife (before she was my wife) rented a no-pets apartment but agreed to pet-sit a friend’s Siamese cat without telling her landlady. All went well until we found the Siamese was in heat. The landlady kept apologizing for all the tomcats gathered at the building’s front door. “I don’t know what’s bringing them here!” Turns out the Siamese got up in the upstairs apartment window and must have signaled, “In here, boys!”

    • That’s so funny, Paul. It has the elements of farce in it. In fact, I can see it as an episode of “I Love Lucy” with Lucy and Ethel hiding the cat from the landlord and their husbands until: “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

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