Dogs are fascinating creatures. They’re constantly doing silly things that leave us laughing or shaking our heads in amazement. They bring us joy, keep us company, and cheer us up when we’re sad. At times, they also aggravate us and cause us headaches. Yet, for a dog-lover, taking the good with the bad is simply par for the course.
I fall into the dog-lover category, and I’ve had my fair share of both good and bad. Throughout my life, I’ve often been charged with the task of dog-sitting, which is a task I’ll happily volunteer to do anytime. Dogs have a way of bringing a smile to my face, so I’ve never minded spending some quality time with them.
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Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
My most recent adventure in dog-sitting included a total of three dogs: Leo (my dog), Maggie (my parents’ dog), and Ciara (a family friend’s dog). These three have spent a decent amount of time together over the years, and they get along splendidly for the most part. Leo and Ciara run around and play, while Maggie barks and bounces occasionally.
Along with this incessant playing, the dogs like to explore the woods regularly to check for rabbits and squirrels and whatnot. Since this is Maggie’s home territory, she usually takes the lead. She also constantly pushes the limits on how far she wanders away from home, while the other two happily tag along. Leo is usually the first to show up outside the door, shortly followed by Ciara, with Maggie bringing up the rear.
You can imagine my surprise then, when I looked outside and saw Maggie’s face staring at me through the glass. I got up to let her in and returned to my comfortable spot on the couch. Not five minutes later, I heard Leo’s pitiful “let me in” bark, and I repeated the actions I took for Maggie. I figured Ciara would be along any moment.
After about ten minutes had gone by, I decided I had better go call for her. Our neighbors down the road also have a dog, and I was concerned she had decided to hang out there rather than return with Leo and Maggie. I waited awhile, thinking she’d appear at the door any minute.
A Long Night
When dinner time came and went, I began to worry. Ciara isn’t one to skip a meal, so her absence was surprising. After thoroughly questioning Maggie and Leo regarding their afternoon activities, I decided to go in search of Ciara. I scoured the woods, then warily took to the ice out on the lake – all to no avail. Finally, it had grown too dark to see, and I was forced to turn back.
I curled up on the couch, hoping she’d turn up sometime during the night. I tossed and turned, unable to relax knowing she was out in the cold somewhere. As soon as the sun started rising, I was back out in the woods searching for her.
It wasn’t until dinner time that she returned from her adventures. Other than some mud on her paws, she didn’t have a single scratch on her. She was reunited with her owner, who sent me a picture of Ciara passed out on the couch the next day. Wherever she’d been and whatever she’d been doing, she was one tired pooch.
The Bonds that Tie Us
Not all dog-sitting adventures are negative. In fact, most of them are lovely. When I’m dog-sitting, I like to observe how the dogs interact with one another. Watching dogs play and explore together is both intriguing and entertaining. The different dynamics one observes fascinates me in the same way people-watching does.
Leo is most often the subject of my observation, seeing how I spend the largest amount of time with him. I’ve watched the different sides of his personality come out depending on which other dog he’s interacting with at the time. With my old roommate’s dog, Lucy, he would play until he dropped. With my brother and sister-in-law’s dogs, Dexter and Ruca, he prefers to play for short bursts. My favorite dog to watch him interact with, however, is Maggie.
I mentioned earlier that Maggie is my mom and dad’s dog, but really, she’s the family dog. From the day we got her until the day I left for college, Maggie had been my best pal. When I decided to get my own dog, I was a little worried she might think I was replacing her. She didn’t seem too keen on his presence at first, but she seemed to accept the fact that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Since then, they’ve become the best of friends. Leo brings out Maggie’s playful side, while Maggie brings out Leo’s adventurous side. I’ve often come into a room to find the two of them engaged in a heated match of tug-of-war or glanced outside to see them wandering around on the ice. Together, the two of them have had many adventures.
Watching Maggie and Leo bond has been a wonderful experience for me. I’ve seen them go from respecting each other’s space to sharing a dog bed even when they each have their own. It brings me great joy to watch the two of them interact, and I look forward to each visit.
Always an Adventure
Dog-sitting is always an adventure because no two dogs are the same. For the most part, however, they can be lumped into general categories. You’ve got your lazy dogs, your foodie dogs, your “I need constant attention” dogs. Then, of course, you’ve got your outliers – the dogs who are a little wonky and can’t quite seem to figure out how to be a dog. Whatever category they fit into, there’s no doubt dogs know how to keep things interesting.