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My View: Dog-sitting for a night is good enough for me

By Judith Whitehead

They say there is a first time for everything. Well, my husband and I recently experienced something new.

We had a cat in our family for 16 years. After she passed away, we did not replace her. Our children are grown and have moved out on their own, and the house and our lives are much more “spur of the moment” today.

So when my husband brought up the idea of getting a little dog, I was very reticent to take him up on the offer.
Recently, our son and his wife asked us to watch their dog overnight. Their pug is a low-maintenance breed. I was hesitant to agree, but said we would give it a try.

Their pug is very well behaved, and very much attached to my son and daughter-in-law. Therefore, he needs frequent attention.

I did not know a lot about pugs and their behavior going into this, but I quickly learned.

After several minutes of standing by the door waiting for his owners to return, he gave up and settled for us for the time being.

He decided to sit in the kitchen, where the food is made, and started making a strange sound. I called my son directly only to find out that is how a pug cries. That only made me feel worse.

I prepared his supper as directed only to find out that when we ate our dinner, our food seemed to appeal to him much more than his food.

His happiness in life appears to be based around sleeping and eating. He is a solid body of encircling meaty wrinkles.

How would we know when he has to do his business outside, I wondered. After he sat on the couch snuggling next to me with his stuffed bunny, as he does with my daughter-in-law, I realized he had to go outside when I got a whiff of an unpleasant odor.

My son brought the dog’s little soft bed to our house, and told us to put it on the floor next to our bed at night. I immediately wondered if we were going to be in trouble, because the dog is used to sleeping in their bed with them.

I looked forward to going to bed that night, because I was tired from the stress of the day with our little guest. I proceeded to get into bed and quickly found out that he did not want any part of his own bed. He wanted to get into ours.

He paced the room, making his little pug sounds of breathing, snorting and crying for a while until I realized I needed to go to the guest room if I was going to get any sleep.

We placed towels at the end of the bed but the dog still protested. Finally, my husband relented. The pug promptly got into our bed and fell asleep in my spot until his morning tinkle time.

Since our house is not 100 percent dog-proof, I dared not leave him alone for one minute and was housebound for the weekend. I felt responsible for his well-being and did not want anything bad to happen on our watch.

When my son and daughter-in-law returned from their weekend getaway and came over to pick him up, he was ecstatic to be reunited with them. He began running in circles around them and licked them clean.

After this adventure, I think I have reinforced my thoughts on taking on our own dog. We were glad to have him, and equally glad to return him to his family.

At this stage in our lives, I enjoy my freedom and the ability to make spur-of-the-moment plans. So we will continue to enjoy being his “grandparents” and enjoy our visits in their home.

Judith Whitehead, who lives in East Amherst, thinks her pet-owning days are over.
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