I think the time has come for me to start sharing some of the stories from my pet sitting adventures. I'll begin with my current charges: Maggie and Janie. Maggie is a little spunky papillon mix and Janie is a big lab-ish something-or-other. In the grand tradition of dog family dynamics little Maggie is the bossy alpha and big Janie is a gentle goofball. They also have a gorgeous black cat Sheeba that suffers the presence of plebeian dog creatures with poise and grace.
Maggie and Janie are foodies There isn't a food-related subject that they are indifferent to. Every time I go to make something in the kitchen, they follow me and observe. They sit there and watch my every move with the same interest as my culinary academy graduate ex would watch Iron Chef. They are curious about the end result and the process. If there were a "call and vote" option for them, they would totally do it. In a way it actually makes the insufferable cooking activities more fun for me. It's like I have my own private cheer squad. I can almost hear their thoughts... "You are putting an egg in your spinach??? This is so amazing! I wish I had an egg in my spinach. You are a food goddess and we worship your every move!"
Seeing how my feelings towards cooking are similar to my feelings towards root canals (as in let's get through this process as quickly and painlessly as possible and never think about it until we actually have to do it again), having the girls there does make things more fun.
|Sheeba completely mortified by Janie's affection|
|Janie (left) and Maggie (right) cheering my cooking efforts|
For meals all four of us sit down together. I sit at the head of the dining room table, the cat Sheeba sits on the table facing me, and the dogs sit on either side of my chair. While the dogs' interest in joining the festivities is purely gastronomical, Sheeba the cat is actually there for a chat. She enjoys her privileged position on the table since dogs aren't allowed there. My ranking in her eyes is higher than the dogs' probably because I am allowed at the table as well. We aren't equals in her eyes, but at least I don't embarrass her like the dogs do by barking at the mailman. I think Sheeba views me the way a millionaire views some worker bee - she knows I try hard and she almost respects my effort. The dogs in her eyes are just free-loading idiots who don't even aspire to be cool and sometimes (oh gawd!) even chase her.
At night big Janie is supposed to sleep in the crate but she doesn't want to. Dogs are amazing manipulators. I consider myself pretty immune to their efforts, but Janie puts on such a sad face that I don't have the heart to drag her in the crate by force. Now sleeping with two dogs in the bed is tricky. You have to establish the boundaries right away. I recommend splitting the bed into human side and dog side.
At first I tried the "I take the middle half and dogs get the two quarters on either side" technique. In the morning I felt like that one really awkward tetris piece- you know the one that doesn't comfortably fit anywhere no matter how you turn it. The dogs were sprawled out on either side, and any time I had to turn and disturb them they sighed in a very dramatic fashion.
The next night I split the bed into East vs West wing situation and the night went relatively disturbance free. I represented the prosperous West while the dogs were in the more densely populated East. Since their side was missing formal leadership Maggie tried to usurp the power and started the morning by humping her sister's face. Let me tell you, nothing gets you out of bed faster than humping you are not a participant of. I think I may have stumbled upon a new alarm clock idea. It's a little difficult to execute but very effective.
Janie and Maggie spend most of their days sitting on the back of the couch in the living room and keeping an eye out for trouble. After all every passerby is a potential Stranger Danger alert. They do that while I it in a chair and write about their funny adventures.