another babysitting gig

We must appear trustworthy.

Another 6 month old came through the door yesterday early morning, equipped with food, toys, blankets, and enough treats to keep her content until her parents return late in the night.

Presenting furbaby Dazy:

water consumption is a messy thing

Beautiful, isn’t she?

I have been around Dazy since she was a wee golden retriever pup who drove her parents and everyone else nuts with her baby ways. She pouted, jumped up, ate anything in sight (and the more expensive, the more she needed to chew on it), mounted and humped, with no obedience at all as she attempted to rule her new pack. It was enough to frustrate even the most patient of people. Her parents have worked so hard and now she has impressive manners and can even understand and respond to many English words – off, leave-it, in, up, down, good girl. I sometimes (often) forget and say words to her that she doesn’t understand, and as she stares at me with big eyes and expectation, I’m frustrated that she’s not responding. I have to remind myself continually that at the end of a day, she’s a puppy who understands things in dog-ish. You’d think I’d remember that since she a) still eats everything in sight, b) gnaws on disgusting beef parts (penis!?!) and, c) barks – but she’s so adorable and cuddly that I forget she’s a different species. Overall, her parents have guided her to be a well adjusted “pre-teen” who is very well behaved around humans and dogs. When she needed a furbaby-sitter, I was the first with my hand in the air to take her.

At 8:30 yesterday morning, Dazy went from chaotic excited to see me to a panicky whimpering search when she realized her mom had left. The first hour was split between investigating every inch of our place, finding stray receipts, the bathroom garbage kleenex, and everything you don’t want a puppy to eat, and then returning to front door to see if her mom was back. Once she was settled, I changed into my scruffiest and she and I set off for the off-leash dog park. The one nearest us is an amazing tract of land with acres of field, forest, pathways, and water. It has nirvana for every dog – water lovers, ball retrievers, sniffers, runners and is a doggy hotspot. I’ve gone twice with Dazy & her mom, and the natural scenery as well as seeing psychology of dogs in action intrigues me so much that I adore going. Dazy’s mom has pointed out the finer points of dog and puppy breed behaviour and socializing while Dazy frolics with the dogs we come across as we walk. Off leash, the dogs check each other out, sniffing and if they hit it off, wrestle and chase each other until their owners call them to continue onward. Dazy, being the young puppy she is, sometimes gets “told off” by older dogs that have no interest in her attempts at cajoling an older dog into chasing her. A strong similarity can be drawn between children on the playground feeling each other out by age & personality with these dogs together off-leash – except for the dogs’ eating rocks and sniffing butts… unless things have changed drastically since I was last on a kid’s playground.
always on the move

Dazy was fantastic as we made our way through the park. She was responsive, sociable, submissive to older dogs, and gentle with smaller puppies. Her impatience was funny at times – she’d stand and wait for me as trained, nearly vibrating with frustration, and once I was closer to her, she’d do a check-in (eye contact) and head off, full speed in circles. I’m also really glad I’d been to the park before because when golden retrievers play together, they bare their teeth and wrinkle their noses, growling and using their mouths to play – to the uneducated (me before meeting Dazy!), these friendly family dogs take on a rabid Cujo demeanor that freaks the hell out of me even as I now expect it. It also dawned suddenly that I was alone with Dazy in a huge park with dozens of dogs and strangers. What kind of silly bravery is this? What if something went wrong? What if she pissed off the wrong dog and got hurt? Dazy came full speed as soon as I called her and lapped up a treat, stayed for a pat, and headed off again, looking back at me with her doggy grin and my worries faded. Even being a puppy, she’s so good.

Tired & wet and (the human among us) very cold, getting Dazy into the house proved to be a chore – did you know that puppies can get so played out that they can’t even get OUT of the car? Poor thing – but she’d have her revenge. As the day progressed, we got personal experience of hair-pulling puppy antics. Dazy’s sixth sense is spooky – if anyone leaves the bathroom doors open even a crack, she’d high tail in, nose directly into the garbage and into high speed kleenex chewing before any of us could figure out where she was off to. She lapped spotless every unswept corner in the kitchen, and tried to dig her way through the linoleum. She was good with leaving most things when told, including knitting, with one exception: my small ficus plant. Something about it entranced her, licking the dirt and leaves, and dragging saliva mud on the carpet as she’d try to back up each time I’d make to actually come over and physically pull her away. Insane puppy weird need to consume things not meant to be consumed. As we went for a walk around the block later in the day, she found and had to have fished from her jaws: tar paper, plastic bags, more kleenex (is it a magnatory dog-kleenex thing??), a paintbrush handle. On the adorable I-get-why-puppies-are-wonderful side, she did adorable tricks for frozen beans and raw carrots, cuddled on the couch as she convinced us that yes even at 55 lbs she’s a lap dog. We wrestled and played, and she made us giggle as she carried around her favorite stuffed animal, following us diligently wherever we went.

As she was falling asleep on the living room floor, her mom drove up and Dazy suddenly had the energy to try to dig her way through the front window to greet her family. With a quick lick and rub for each of us in the house when her excitement came under control, she was out the door and on her way home, and our house was again a quiet human-only zone. Quiet. Boring.

This morning we had breakfast in the living room in peace, haven’t been drooled on once (except by The Husband) and my plant hasn’t been harassed. We miss Dazy terribly.

Tonight we’ll see her again at a friends’ Easter Supper. And of course, after our day of dog-love, we all want a dog in our household. A baby and now a dog – good lord, I hope we’re not asked to babysit an orangutang next…

Happy Easter!

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