Last Sunday and Monday were logistically complicated in our household. The Spouse decided to attend to some computer event in New York, which entailed leaving Saturday night and returning early Monday evening. The kids were off school Monday, while I was not– and my school is two hours away, with class again on Tuesday, necessitating an overnight stay. So what to do with three kids and a dog all day Monday, when I leave early in the a.m.?
The kids were easy. As they had no desire to get up at 7:30 on a vacation day, we parcelled them out to friends for sleepovers starting Sunday night and carrying through all day Monday. All that remained was the dog.
Our Best Friend has only stayed with Kate, our “lady who does.” He lived with her for almost a week before she successfully foisted him on us, and she babysat him a handful of times before her life circumstances changed and we had start taking him with us on trips. The last time he stayed there, she found him a little taxing. He was “bothering the cats” she said… or maybe she said “driving them up the wall.” I don’t remember so good.
I wasn’t sure it was even necessary to get someone to take him for the day. I wasn’t leaving until around 10:00 in the morning, and the Spouse and kids would be back by 8:00 or 9:00. Still, I felt that ten to eleven hours all by himself was too much. How would you like to locked away alone, unable to pee, for ten hours? I can’t go ten hours without peeing. And he’s such a social dog. He needs people. I couldn’t bear to leave him alone that long, and most of all, he’s not used to it. So I asked My Dearest Friend to take him for the day.
My Dearest Friend certainly owed me the favour. We’ve been babysitting Blackie at least twice a year (and often more) for eight years; we’ve been babysitting Blackie and Duke together for three. So I didn’t feel awkward asking. As My Dearest Friend lives half-an-hour from me by car, I decided that, like the girls, he should go on Sunday; if I brought him over on Monday, it would add an hour of driving to my already long day.
I dropped Our Best Friend, with food and leash and all, around 2:30 in the afternoon. He knew something was up. I heard him barking as we walked back to the car, but hoped he would settle down. I dropped the Youngest at her sleep-over, and the other two and I went to the mall. While shopping, I got this text:
Your dog just snapped at me
Uh oh, I thought. I texted back, “What happened exactly? He’s prone to fear aggression.”
My daughter’s friend’s mom rang the door bell. And she is afraid of dogs. So I took him by his collar to bring him in the kitchen and he turned to bite me. Then he did the same to E when he tried but E told him no and then he let him hold just collar but not bring him to the kitchen
“E” is MDF’s Significant Other; he has a St. Bernard, and is no stranger to controlling a large dog. Pulling Our Best Friend by the collar is a huge no-no that I’d mistakenly neglected to tell MDF about; you can pull Duke and Blackie to Timbuktu without a problem, and she often does. I felt terrible. I phoned and offered to come get him, but she refused, saying Our Best Friend must have thought it was me at the door, and only got upset because he wasn’t allowed to go greet me. I left him there, but with huge misgivings.
I texted her the next night from out-of-town, telling her The Spouse had called and would be at her place in 20 minutes. I, meanwhile, was cuddled up with a purring cat at my friend’s house. She texted back,
My cats aren’t purring. Terrorized. I have had to keep them away from OBF. Who’s been attacking them. He goes completely insane every time he sees them move
Oh, crap, I thought. Now I was really sick. Kate had said he “drove the cats nuts,” but they never got hurt, even when she left them alone while she was at work. I assumed “driving them nuts” was an attempt at play, not destruction. But his behaviour here was so bad, MDF paid her son $10.00 to take Our Best Friend for walks so the cats could catch a break. My guilt knew no bounds.
The Spouse retrieved the dog, thanked her (I assume), and went on home. I told him to give her $10.00, but he forgot. I apologized by text, profusely; she texted back,
It was fine. Not such a big deal. Dont worry about this. Please
But I can’t help worrying. I know both My Dearest Friend and the cats survived, but obviously he can’t go back there. This is what you reap when you don’t have the time or money needed to train a dog effectively. I love Our Best Friend, but I don’t love that he’s still anxious and reactive. I hope I don’t need a dog-sitter again soon. He’s got nowhere to go and I’ve got no one to ask. Another little piece of stress in an already stress-filled life.
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