Saturday, July 24, 2010

Abby Road

Summer being what it is, vacations happen. This year, I am dog-and cat-sitting for a friend of mine. I met Hobbes a while ago and he's one cool cat, but I'd only heard about Abby. Thursday, I got to meet her and Friday I began taking care of her.

This is Abby.

Abby 003

Please note the slightly guilty expression on her face. Believe me, she should be wearing it.

Abby is a fairly geriatric weiner dog. She's got cataracts so she doesn't always see as well as she would otherwise, but her nose works just fine. Since she got to meet me before her people left, she recognized that I was okay but treats me as a polite stranger.

On our first day, I came in the door and called for her. Nothing. Her mom had blocked off the livingroom and closed all the doors to the bedrooms, the bathroom and the family room - so there were limited places she might be. I looked. I called. Nothing. Then I noticed that the door to the utility room was ajar. I stuck my head in - no Abby. I was at a loss. Then I realized that the board blocking the livingroom off was not sitting square and discovered that she had managed to push it just enough to squeeze through. Uh-oh.

First I noticed Abby's mom's work bag in the middle of the floor. It's a very nice leather bag - surrounded by pens and bits of paper, slightly chewed (the papers, not the bag). Then I saw the pillows on the floor. And Abby peeking at me from beside the sofa. Poor baby. I started talking to her as I picked up the bag and papers and put them up high, then returned the pillows to the couch. She didn't move. I called her to come out to the kitchen with me, but she was going to guard that front door no matter what. Well, at least until the food rattled into her bowl...

I closed the utility room door, replaced the livingroom blockade, snugging the chair up a little more closely and turned my attentions to other duties of dog care. Fed the cat and gave him new water on the front porch. Hobbes was easy. He was my friend as soon as I opened the food container. Abby? She never let me touch her, but that's okay. She doesn't know me.

Perhaps the next day.

Next day - nope. Again, Abby was MIA when I arrived. The utility room door was ajar and the barricade to the livingroom pushed aside. Obviously, I understimated little geriatric weiner dog! The pillows were on the floor again, but she hadn't gotten into anything else. She'd pushed a lampshade out of a box and made herself a little bed in it. I set the room to rights again, swept the floor as she watched, then tried to figure out a better barrier. She ate and drank and spent as much time lying on the livingroom floor as possible. I let her. I think she felt comforted by being in there.

I brought my lunch and ate it at the table. I bribed her over with a tiny piece of hamburger. We were on friendlier terms after that and she let me scratch her ears.

After changing the potty papers and giving the back room a quick mop, I set about devising new barriers. I noticed the vaccuum cleaner in the hall and it was heavy when I picked it up - so that joined the chair at the livingroom barrier board. And I moved the trash container and another board to block the utility room.

As I looked down the hallway, I noticed something not right about the bathroom door.

Apparently Abby had tried to get in there too and failing that, pulled a strip of the door off.

I wonder if I brought her a chewy if that would help her pass the time until I come by again?

As I was getting ready to leave, she indicated that she wanted to go out the back door. Eager to have one less pee to clean up, I let her. Apparently she usually goes down the steps, out into the yard a very little way, does her business and comes back in. Not today. She started trotting off around the corner of the house - so I followed her. She didn't head for the gate - she went to the front porch and stood expectantly in front of the door. I picked her up (which she allowed!) and carried her back.

She really loves her family and I guess I'm not much of a substitute in her mind. I come, I feed, I clean and try to coax her into being petted. I spend time chatting to her and she mopes because I'm not her mama. There's been a thaw today, so maybe tomorrow will be friendlier.

She's a very sweet girl.


mariposa said...

Thanks for sharing this! I enjoyed reading it. I think, as time passes by, she'll get to be friendlier to you. Who knows? :)

I'm trying to save Fun Monday and just posted themes 'til end of August. I am inviting you to join Fun Monday again. See you!

Jan n Jer said...

Aaawwww she looks so sweet. We don't realize how hard it is on pets when they are left in anothers care while their owners are away.

Anonymous said...

She is a pretty girl. Our dog growing up hated being left alone. My parents second dog was a dachshund mix. Nice dogs.

I imagine she'll warm up soon!