As mentioned previously, I was recently forced to renovate my basement. And it’s 98% complete– they just have to come back to 1) attach the bathroom heater to the wall, 2) put a strip of baseboard inside the bathroom cupboard, and 3) put a piece of something between the bathroom door and the hallway.
So when the phone rang last Friday and call display told it me it was my reno guy, Ray, I was all set to hear that he was coming by to finish the job.
“I’m sorry I haven’t had time to come by and finish the bathroom,” he began. “And I won’t be able to come now for about a week and a half, because we’re taking the kids away for March break.”
“Fine,” I said, having heard worse in my life. “Call me when you get back.”
“Well,” he said, “I was wondering if I could ask you a favour. Would you mind taking care of the dog while we’re away?”
Friday, Sabbath eve, not a lot of notice… “When are you leaving?”
So Ray brought Chestnut to meet Our Best Friend, and while Chestnut trembled and shook, Our Best Friend sniffed, wagged his tail gently, and lay down on his bed. Chestnut was clearly anxious and submissive, and I was quite sure of one thing– the girls would hate her. But I said yes anyway. Because I love boxers, and because if I said no, she’d be home by herself for 12 days, with someone “popping by” to walk her twice a day. Besides, it never hurts to have a renovator in your debt.
Sure enough, the minute they came home from school, there was shrieking and demands to know “where this ugly dog came from.”
The Oldest and the Middle Child hate the shedding. “Her fur is on my iPad– and she doesn’t even come near my iPad!” The Youngest One didn’t mind her so much until she found her favourite stuffed animal slightly chewed and missing an eye. Meanwhile, this insecure purebred kept jumping into their beds, winding herself around their legs, and crying every time she felt ignored. Yes, she’s a needy little bitch.
Okay, it hasn’t been perfect. Yesterday she got out and we chased her through three back yards before we caught her. When I was away at school last Wednesday, Chestnut apparently took a dislike to Kate, my lady who “does,” and growled so fiercely The Middle One had to shut her in a bedroom. The same thing happened when my friend Glory came by today, but it was obvious to me that this was pure fear, not aggression. She was growling, but her whole body was shaking, and she was trying to disappear into my legs. I brought Chestnut over to Glory, talking softly and patting her gently, until finally she sniffed enough to decide Glory was okay. Then she covered her in kisses and tried to climb in her lap. Aggressive? She’s such a chicken she won’t go down the stairs.
And she reminds me of Cocoa, the most maladjusted yet loving foster dog one could meet. Again, I have 55 pounds of dead weight spread across my bed every night. And unlike Our Best Friend, who likes to cuddle for a few minutes then go sleep on the floor, Chestnut stays the night.
She leaves next Wednesday, and I’ll have lots of laundry and vacuuming to do… but she’s brought the girls a new appreciation of Our Best Friend, who sheds in easy-to-remove clumps and is, as the Oldest puts it, “fluffier.”
Maybe I should have said no. Maybe I have enough on my plate right now, with renovations and school and Passover coming. But when it comes to animals, I’m just a sucker for punishment.
And really, who could say no to that face?
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