A Day In the Life of a Petsitter – 5 Dogs and a Bad Fall
Okay, so I’m petsitting these five dogs, Maggie, Max, Angel, Harley and Princess. (I will post their pictures in the next couple of days.) I am also doing overnights with them – some may call it house sitting, but I’m there for the dogs. We have a king size bed and every night all five dogs clamor for their spot, which I share. With difficulty, I try to imagine how their parents both manage to find a place to sleep (people parents, that is).
This evening I’m carrying my stuff between the car and house. I have one bag slung over my shoulder containing my laptop and over the other is a bag with various bottles of my make-up remover, moisturizer, shampoo, etc. – you know, all that girly stuff – and I trip. I have no idea how it happened. Did I step sideways on a rock? Or trip over a garden hose? Not that I remember. My ankle buckles and – it happened too fast. But I go DOWN and I go down HARD. My first instinct is to try to catch myself, but I’m carrying about 30 pounds extra weight over my shoulders and my computer – eeek. My hand stretches out to catch me, but the bag with my laptop starts falling down my outstretched arm . . . So instead I crash all my weight (which is not insubstantial) on my knees. My right knee slams into the corner edge of a stepping stone covered with gravel – yes, it IS as painful as it sounds. Every vertebrae up my back to the base of my skull is now compressed by the jarring collision. (I think I’m now two inches shorter.) My jeans are torn through the knee. I somehow managed to skin some meat off the palm of my left hand, but I don’t remember touching the ground.
The dogs all come running out the doggie door to greet me and discover me on the ground. At first, they are excited and think I’ve started a new game. By this time I’ve rolled onto my back (got to get off that knee) and I am moaning, almost in tears. Now they realize something is wrong. I drag myself limping into the house with all five critters circling around me. This house has a freezer full of ice bags (the kind used for injuries – not the kind you put in drinks) so I grab one for my ankle, one for my knee, a huge one for my back and I stumble towards the small loveseat closest to the door.
While up til now I’ve been talking about the fall, this is a story about the dogs. I wish you had been here to catch their reactions. A description of the dogs is as follows: First is Maggie. She is the eldest at around 11 years old and about 50 pounds. She is a mix between a Sharpei and a yellow lab (?? obviously a wild guess). She is funny looking but makes up for it in a gentle, sweet personality. Max and Angel are siblings from her litter nine years ago, but are a lot bigger than Maggie (weighing about 85 pounds each) and look like Maggie’s great love may have been a Brittany Spaniel or a Pointer (or both). Though they are siblings and have similar looks, their personalities couldn’t be further apart. Max always moves softly and slowly and has this “please love me” look in his big brown eyes. Angel was Not named for her personality and is every delivery person’s worst nightmare – but you have to get to know her. Next is 5 year old Harley. He’s looks like a possibility of a black Chow and a Australian Shepherd and weighs maybe 70 pounds. Shy and often nervous, he’s intelligent, fun and very tender once he‘s become your friend. Lastly is Princess. Her description is easy because she’s a 2 year old brindle Pit Bull. Lots of playful energy, about 60 pounds of pure muscle, Princess has a short attention span – unless it involves food.
Now that you’ve met all five dogs, you need to hear their reactions to my fall. Here I am, slouched crossways on this tiny loveseat with ice packs covering half my body. All the dogs congregate around me. Maggie, the little ol’ mama, says “Are you okay? What happened?” Max is standing over her with his nose almost touching mine, “oh, I am so sorry you are hurt. So sorry, so sorry. You are hurting. I want to make it stop. How can I make it stop hurting?” Angel comes over and sniffs my knee, “Who hurt you? Let me at ‘em. I’ll make sure they never do that again.” (I think Angel is a hit-dog for the mafia.) Harley tries crawling up in my lap so he can give me a comforting hug. Ice packs begin to slide off my leg, which scares him and he runs off. (Don’t worry, he comes back.) And Princess, tail wagging bounces onto the scene with “what’s happening? What did I miss? Are you okay? Oh, there’s hardly any blood. Let me kiss it and you’ll be fine. Now where did I put that chewy bone I just had?”
It’s not long before being scrunched up on the love seat really gets to my back, so I slowly move to the big sofa in the living room. I recognize the need to stretch out and prop my leg up to avoid swelling. All five dogs accompany me into the next room.
Maggie quietly lays down on the rug near my head. Max, leaning over my face, nose almost touching mine is so concerned he’s beginning to drool on me. He is still saying “I am so sorry you are hurting, so sorry. How can I make it stop?” So I tell him, “get me a glass of water and a couple of aspirin,” but I sputter with a mouthful of dog hair. (Now where could that have come from?) His frustration of not being able to get that for me comes out like “Raaaww rawww oooh rah” which makes Angel start growling (not the vicious type, just vocalizing), which brings Princess bounding onto the couch “what‘s going on? What did I miss? Can I play too?” (on my leg, of course), quickly followed by Harley, who knows I must need a hug. However, my yelp of instant pain caused by two dogs now sitting on my wounded leg, scares off Harley and Princess decides she likes it better on the floor where she thinks she left her chewy bone.
Tears welling up in my eyes, I calm everyone down and assure Max there’s nothing he can do. Finally quiet, I look around me as I lay on the couch. They are all there within reach, laying near, concerned that I am all right – except Angel who is a couple of feet away, laying on a bed by the front door, guarding it to make sure no one comes in to hurt me. I realize that I may only be their “Aunt Judy, the Furry Godmother,” who takes care of them when Mom and Dad are gone, but they love me and the feeling is more than mutual. Suddenly, I realize how much better my hand, ankle, leg and back feel – all because of them.