Living with Cats Is a Poor Rehersal for Dog-Sitting


There are times when you find yourself in situations where you are flooded with apprehension and anxiety. You wonder, “ How will I possibly endeavor to make it through this?” You may even find yourself becoming irritated at the person who placed you in that situation, only to take a step back and realize that you had a big part in getting yourself into that uncomfortable position.

My most recent example of this convoluted situation involves taking care of a dog. Growing up, I have never had a dog. In fact, even when my friends that had dogs, I wasn’t in the neighborhood long enough to get to know them all that well. For a time, as a child, I was actually scared of bigger dogs. I eventually became comfortable with them, and even to want a snuggle or two, but I’ve never been in a position where I was taking care of a dog. This goes double for taking care of a dog SOLO.

Even as a teenager or adult, I’ve never been asked to look after another’s dog for more than a few hours, and that was more-or-less on a passive level. None of my past relationships had an active roll in the family dog’s life, and so I did not either.  Did I mention that I grew up as a cat person? Yep- totally a cat person.

If this does not prove how much of a cat person I am, then I don't know what will.

If this does not prove how much of a cat person I am, then I don’t know what will.

So when my fiancé asked me to dog-sit the dog that he and his ex share joint custody over while he was away for a week, it was natural that I would be flooded with apprehension and anxiety. What if I do something wrong? What if something happens to her on my watch? To heighten the situation, this sweet dog has a terminal illness and has gone blind. So she is completely dependent on the humans taking care of her.  But I agreed to take care of her on my own, because sometimes you just have to face your own negative feelings (and it doesn’t hurt that she is so freaking sweet and adorable that you just cannot say “no” to her face.)

This face defies any chance of "No" being said. It's a good thing she's never unreasonable.

This face defies any chance of “No” being said. It’s a good thing she’s never unreasonable.

Well, the week is almost up, and I am happy to report that the dog has been very patient with my learning curve.  She has been training me to notice when she needs to do her business (as slow as I have been in picking up her cues, she’s only had one big accident), and that I spend too much time on the computer (I needed a new power cord anyway).

No really- I wasn't going to use that cord at all this week. Seriously.

No really- I wasn’t going to use that cord at all this week. Seriously.

I’ve also learned that I am willing to sit outside in the cold for hours so that she can sniff the dirt and enjoy sleeping on the grass.

So yes, I started out this week in a situation that I was not entirely comfortable with. But I was reminded that if you embrace those situations, and make the most of them, you can wind up making a new (and sometimes fuzzy) friend. Plus, now I can never say that I have not dog-sat.

(Were she a parrot, I’d seriously have no idea what to do- except perhaps, “Don’t let the cats eat her.”)