Some friends of ours went out of town for an extended weekend last weekend. They were going to board their dog and, knowing how much they love their pet, we offered to take the dog for the weekend. I remember the level of anxiety I had while boarding my fur baby in the past and knew that it’d be a huge relief for our friends if they knew their dog was in loving hands. Besides, I love being able to help, when I can. We were happy to do it.
Day 1: My friends took off on their journey before I got home from work, so they left me a key to pick up their lil’ guy on my way home, which I forgot to do. This isn’t going good already! After a long and grueling 10 extra minutes, where I’m sure the dog was sitting there looking at his Timex and wondering just where the hell I was, I arrived to pick him up.
I don’t like going in people’s houses when they’re not there. I always have some weird scenario in my head like there’s going to be a wiring short or something similar at the precise time that I set foot in the house and the place will burn to the ground and the absent homeowner will think I caused it. Alas, I was able to get in and out quickly without any devastating damage to the house.
I get home with the guest dog, and our family dogs lose their flipping minds. It’s not often that my dogs get a playmate, so they were very excited to have another dog in the house. You’d have thought I let a squirrel loose. They were all over the place, running, knocking over pictures, up the stairs, down the stairs, running laps through the dining room, kitchen, living room, then again. But, when I got them outside, the play area shrunk. As soon as we were outdoors, all that action took place right up under my feet. We have a very large backyard. They wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to play wherever I was standing or sitting all weekend. No worries. I was just glad everyone was getting along. That night, much to my surprise, the dogs all slept snug in their own respective beds … until we fell asleep. I woke up with all three dogs sleeping in our bed.
Around Day 2, I notice that the guest dog apparently has separation anxiety. Dude kept his eye on me constantly. Anywhere I walked, anything I did, he was right there. Even when he was sound asleep, he’d wake up as soon as I moved. He had to have been sleeping with one eye open. It was a little intrusive. I mean, a guy’s gotta have some privacy, y’know.
There was an awkward moment, after I got out of the shower. I was getting dressed when I noticed that the guest dog was in the room. As I quickly covered myself, a panic fell over me. My friend’s dog just saw me naked! I immediately felt like a horrible person: “Oh, my! What will my friends think of me!? I didn’t mean to let their dog see me!” As I looked into the dog’s eyes, I could tell what he was thinking: “Hey, ya got anything to eat around here?” After all, it’s a dog. He didn’t care.
That’s how the weekend went. I stressed a little too much over all kinds of little things: “Are we feeding him at his usual times? Are we feeding him enough? Does he like the food? Where do we let him sleep? Does he prefer inside or outside? What’s he thinking about right now?” It’s all a bit much. I tend to overanalyze things sometimes.
After the weekend was over, my friends came to get their dog and told me they had a great weekend. They clipped the leash on their dog’s collar, said “thank you” and were on their way. It was at this moment I realized that caring for the dog was much like caring for someone’s kids: As long as they’re fed, kept alive and generally out of danger, you’ve pretty much got it covered.