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Friday, December 13, 2013

More Dog-Sitting Than You Can Shake a Stick At!

Golden girl.

The recent lack of posts has had nothing to do with a lack of things to say or lack of photographs to post, but a lack of time! I have a third mushroom post (see one and two here) that's about 75% done, but since it's about weird fungi, it's taking a lot more research and some days you've got other things to do besides research fungi, you know? The other reason is that I spent more than three weeks dog-sitting. I've been home for a week and a half now and have caught up on resting and laundry and Christmas stuff, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what three weeks of dog-sitting looked like.

Goldie is hoping that Mr. Gorgeous will play with her.

I actually looked after two dogs (and a cat) during that period, all from different households, with some overlap. Managing two dogs from different households is a lot of work, but when a client has a family emergency, I'm going to make it happen so they don't have to worry. Fortunately, the two dogs in this instance, Mr. Gorgeous the Collie and Goldie the Golden Retriever, live very close to one another and get along fine. Still, it's one thing for Goldie to come around to Mr. Gorgeous' house to play ball on his property and another thing to actually spend a lot of time together, especially since Mr. Gorgeous is feeling old and stiff and achy and crotchety these days, but Goldie was respectful of his house and while she never gave up hope that he would play with her, she was able to give him his space. I knew he was okay with her when he would conk out on his side and fall sound asleep within just a few minutes; Goldie took much longer to settle in his presence. They walked well together, thankfully, and if you want to feel like a boss, walking two large dogs that a) are not your own and b) don't live together is one way to do it! Mr. Gorgeous did get a bit jealous that Goldie was always getting to ride in my car (not knowing, of course, that she was being taken to her house to be left out in her own yard for a couple of hours) because riding in my car usually equals extra special walks for him, so I did have to make sure that he got to go on a few rides, too. I spent a lot of time running hither and thither to make sure the needs of all parties were met, but I think it worked out well. A typical schedule looked like this:

Mr. Gorgeous following Goldie around. He was certainly interested in her, but he's stiff these days and his balance is poor, so frisking with another dog is out.

Wake up at Goldie's house, let Goldie out, go to Mr. Gorgeous' house, let him out and feed him breakfast, go back to Goldie's house to prepare for the rest of the day, let Goldie out, go to my own house for a couple of hours to get things done, go to Mr. Gorgeous' house before sunset to feed him dinner, put Mr. Gorgeous inside, go to Goldie's house, feed her dinner, eat my own dinner, bring Goldie to Mr. Gorgeous' house, walk dogs together after eight, leave Mr. Gorgeous in the house and take Goldie back to her house, sleep at Goldie's. (I'm so thankful that I had sufficient energy to be able to do this!)

Mr. Gorgeous and Goldie settled in my vicinity. There was a fair amount of competition over me, but it was all done in a well-mannered fashion and I made sure to spread my attention around equally. Goldie is on her pillow from her own house--it helped her know where to be when we went inside Mr. Gorgeous' place.

Mr. Gorgeous got the ball this time! And he was SO proud of himself! 

I looked after both dogs at the start and end of my time with Goldie. On one of our last days together, it worked out best if I could transport both of them in my car. Early on, I wouldn't have attempted this, since I can't police them while driving and I didn't know how possessive each one was of the back seat, but I felt confident enough by the end that I felt safe driving the two of them the third of a mile from Goldie's house to Mr. Gorgeous'!

They look like buddies in this photo, but really they're just in tolerant proximity. A relationship of tolerate proximity is just fine with me!

But between the bookends of Mr. Gorgeous, most of my time was spent with Goldie, and Goldie is a delightful dog. First of all, she's cute as a button and very photogenic. I think the shape of her ears and the way the fur grows on them make her look like a little girl with pigtails. She is extremely playful, but balances that out with super mellow energy around the house. She is also the quietest dog you'll ever meet: over the course of three weeks, I heard her bark twice! She's friendly, respectful, doesn't get into trouble, and is a nice companion to have around. Her one drawback was that she pulled like crazy when being walked on a leash. I say "was" because I trained her up to walk with a head halter during our time together and after a couple of days of resistance and a lot of string cheese, the concept clicked for Goldie and she started eagerly thrusting her muzzle into the loop of the Gentle Leader when I held it up to put in on her. In addition to walks, we went several times to the local dog park where she got to chase balls and chase dogs and have a grand old time. But much of our time together was spent quietly. I'd sit on the floor every evening and brush her coat until it turned to finest floss and a certain amount of time was spent gently scratching her under the chin, both activities she enjoyed greatly. When I was absorbed in other things, she'd curl up on her bed and sleep.

Sweet Goldie.

Enjoying a good gnaw on a stick.

Goldie's alert and wagging wiggle means she's anticipating something good.

One of Goldie's very favorite things to do is roll around on her back on top of a toy. I have so many pictures of her wriggling away, back legs pedaling, having a grand old time.

She spent so much time rolling around on her ball in the grass that she ended up completely soaked!

This photo captures what happened when she opened her mouth while giving her toy a good shaking!

When the weather was fine, we played a certain amount of fetch and keep-away in the yard.

And the weather WAS fine for much of the gig. We got hit by a cold snap that brought in freezing nighttime temperatures, clear skies, and unusually colorful sunsets. Despite all the dog-sitting, I also managed two trips to my favorite wooded park, taking more than 800 mushroom photos as well as some great shots of chickens and other farm animals. The mushrooms and farm animal photos will be the subject of future posts, but here's one of ice and a few of the sunsets.

I mentioned that I also was looking after a cat during this time. I have no pictures of the cat because the cat was invisible. I didn't once lay eyes on the Invisible Kitty during the six weeks I looked after him, coming around every four days to put out more food, refresh his water, and clean the litter box. It wasn't until after his owner returned from abroad and dug him out from his hiding place that I got see that he was a handsome, if shy, white cat. Since he lives next door to Goldie, I didn't have to travel far to check in on him, but it was one more thing on the agenda. I'm pleased to say that, while tired, I was able to handle all this pet-sitting (and a gas leak!) and didn't even have a crash after I got home. (It helps that I sleep well at Goldie's house.) And speaking of home, this is how my own dog felt about my return…

I'll wrap this up with my favorite photograph of Goldie having a swell time with her toy; I think it sums up her personality quite nicely!

And if you think Goldie's a cutie-pie, you're in luck! I'll be taking care of her again in January, so there will be more photos of this spunky little gal in the near future.


  1. Gorgeous pictures, and that Golden is the spittin' image of what ours looked like. Lovely!

  2. Such lovely pictures! That Golden Retriever is gorgeous!