Granddog-sitting has its challenges - and rewards

February 17, 2019

Make no mistake about it – dogs love it when their human parents go on vacation and leave them with a babysitter. They know about the enormous guilt these parental units feel, at least from the gossip by the other mutts around the dog park.

Every day one of those parents will bring up the dog’s name, picturing them sad and lonely at the end of the driveway, instead of at the bottom half of the house they are chewing away.

Dogs aren’t sure what guilt is, but apparently it involves a lot of presents when the parental units return home, especially those environmentally friendly green stick bones.

Normally these are forbidden, because they produce enough flatulence to fly a weather balloon.

Both the dog and the sitter know, from the return conversations, the vacation involves a lot of pina coladas, midnight cruises and the song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

This time, I am the sitter and the black Lab senses there will be no baby talk, happy hour starts at sundown, and lights out by eight o’clock. Those are the rules!

OK, so we start the first day with me stumbling out of bed, tripping over unfamiliar designer furniture and cracking my head on the door jamb so my brain jostles from side to side like an NFL lineman, and then eventually exhibits signs of a concussion later when I cross the George Washington Bridge.

The Lab and I head down the steep steps to the first floor; he leads the way, leaving just an inch between us so I don’t pass him.

Fortunately, I’ve driven a lot on Route 1 on summer Saturdays, so I’m not intimidated by the thought of any sort of collision.

We reach the bottom and I open the back door, where the dog launches himself like a failed Chinese missile at a cat sitting down by the stream. Of course, it is made out of concrete. Concussion No. 2!

Next, I go into the kitchen to make some coffee. Now this is a “smart kitchen,” meaning every appliance has a password. I stand in front of the refrigerator, the oven and the sink, repeating birthdays, numbers and names. Nada! Eventually, the dog opens everything with his paw.

Aha, I spot a schedule on the wall. It lists tasks for running the household, like feeding the dog and playing pre-programmed music for his digestion.

I feed the dog anything he wants and change the music from New Age waterfalls to the type of music played during an emergency appendectomy, which is the kind my generation is used to. I think he likes it.

Now we are off to the park for exercise. Here the Lab jumps on every woman, child, medically handicapped person and orphan.

At least that’s what I heard, since I was busy reading the National Enquirer, where there was a very scientific article on aliens working in the government. Anyhow, it’s time to leave; some of the rocks are bouncing off the car. That’s enough exercise, anyway. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a concussion.

Next, it’s back to the house where I see a visit to the vet is on for the afternoon. This can’t be good. But to maintain serenity, I pack autographed pictures of Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin as treats, and call an Uber driver for drop-off and pickup.

And yes, mercifully sundown arrives.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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