Monday, January 07, 2008

Dog sitting

Just about everyone in my office has a dog, it seems like. Most have a couple. Also other assorted pets. Our family seems to be commitment-phobic and has nothing more than a pair of gerbils, which cleaning and finding a place when we are away stresses us enough. Lily and I want both a dog and a cat or two, and trust the gerbils will be okay if we put a rock on the top of their cage.

So Cate asked us to dog-sit Basil on Saturday, and we of course said yes. I looked at it like kind of a dry run, and the experience, in retrospect, was hilarious. None of us, me, Dave, or Lily, knows anything about dogs but we all rushed to tell each other what to do and what was wrong and what was the next step.

We all bundled up to take Basil for his evening walk, for instance: I doubt any of us wanted to go out but it seemed fairer to share the onerous task. Also, we kind of all felt like we were in it together. We just took him to the turnaround at the top of Marian and then back to the corner of Laurel, and I don't think he did a single bit of business.

Later he whimpered on and off, and we figured he missed his humans. But we let him out a couple of times anyone on the long leash that Cate had left us and he promptly walked into the snow and sat down. He loves the snow, apparently, and was quite happy just to sit there. After awhile Dave went out to get him because the leash was wrapped around a tree. But he was still pretty content.

When I turned out the light he was snoozing on the floor by our bed, and in the morning he was on Lily's floor. In the morning he totally whimpered again, but this time it was because he kept seeing squirrels and he was dying to get them. I let him out on the leash and again, he lay in the snow. Never did a bit of business.

After awhile the three of us bundled up again and took him on a long walk around nearby Laurel Park (check it out; it is cool!). Lots of business, now, and Dave and I critiqued each other's business-picking up technique . . .

All three of us panicked when we saw cars, even if they were going 10 miles an hour three blocks away. Lots of, "Look out, hold the dog, give me the leash!!!!" etc. Ditto when we saw other dogs. Turns out Basil is very friendly, if the other dog is, and loves to say hello, but we just didn't know him that well at the time and figured it was bad form to return a battered dog, or to batter a neighbor's dog.

Eventually we all left. Other than trying to leave with us, he seemed to be adjusting okay. Cate and family came to get him in the afternoon and we've agreed that we know Basil and Basil knows us a little bit better, and perhaps he understands that his people will be back for him eventually, so maybe it would be okay if they want to try it again some time.

I sense a dog in our future? I gotta say, having to walk a dog in the evening when I'm warm and cozy is not going to be fun. But I suspect the benefits will outweigh the business.

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