The first day, Friday, went very well. I almost forgot to go over that morning, but remembered by 9:00 or so. No harm done. But Zeus, a beautiful German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, looked pretty mournful. I asked him if he wanted to come play with Lola, whom he'd met the night before, but he just cowered on his bed in the master bathroom. "I'll be back this afternoon," I promised as I pulled the door almost closed--just the way I'd found it when I arrived.
True to my word, I came back after work and brought Zeus over to our backyard. Lola was ecstatic. She circled Zeus, did lots of sniffing (I won't say where), and basically dogged his every step. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)
|Lola on Left, Zeus on Right|
Zeus endured her enthusiasm patiently as he methodically explored the backyard. On the way back to the neighbors' house a couple hours later, I marveled at how well behaved Zeus was on the leash. Not only was there no pressure on the leash ever, but he also stopped and waited politely whenever I fell behind.
On Saturday morning, all still seemed well. I mounded up the food in Zeus's bowl and watched with satisfaction as he gulped it greedily. Next, Allyson and I played with the cat for a few minutes before heading off to Ethan's football playoff game (more on that later).
Everything was wonderful until Sunday afternoon, when I was hosting a little gathering for my missionary friend, Melissa. While I sat and nibbled meatballs and finger-sized desserts with my friends, I sent Bill over to pick up Zeus for a playdate. Noting that he was gone an exceedingly long time, I figured he'd put his feet up on their couch and was enjoying the peace and quiet.
When he returned without the dog nearly an hour later, I mouthed, "Where's the...?"
He just shook his head, pressing his lips together tightly, as he passed through the living room. Once the party was wrapping up, he beckoned me to the kitchen and quietly debriefed me.
"That dog is SICK," he informed me.
"Oh no! What's wrong?"
"There was crap and puke all over the bathroom, and some in the bedroom too. That's why I was gone so long."
"Oh no! You had to clean it up?"
He shrugged. "Well, I couldn't leave it there, could I? I wiped everything down with bleach spray and put the dog in the backyard until the fumes dissipate."
[Is my husband a saint, or what? But if you've read this blog long, you already knew that.]
Back at the neighbors' house that evening, I thought about how Zeus had polished off two full bowls of food each day. Was I overfeeding him? Elizabeth had assured me that he self feeds, so I should just give him a full bowl. Maybe he was overeating because he felt insecure without his owners, I reasoned.
I gave him just a tiny bit more food and closed him in the bathroom, this time shutting the door tightly. "I hope you feel better, Zeus." I called over my shoulder.
This morning there were four more piles of diarrhea in the bathroom. Ugh! I needed to run an errand before work, so I put Zeus in the yard and left the mess to deal with later.
About 3:30 this afternoon, later rolled around. I took a deep breath of clean air and asked Bill for pointers on cleaning up the mess, which thankfully was limited to the bathroom tile this time.
"Just mop it up with paper towels and spray the heck out of it with bleach spray," he advised.
I thanked him and asked if he could run to the store for me to pick up some cream cheese I needed for the meatball sub casserole I planned to make with leftover meatballs from yesterday's party.
"The store?" Bill groaned. "I don't feel like going to the store."
"Oh, and the bank," I added. "I didn't get to go on Friday because of Veterans' Day, so we need money before you can go to the store."
"Never mind," Bill grumped. "I'll go take care of the mess and you go to the bank."
I tilted my head and studied him, my eyebrows scrunched in disbelief. "You mean to tell me you'd rather clean up dog crap than go to the bank?"
He shrugged. "I don't feel like going to the bank."
"Suit yourself," I said, traipsing off to the bank with a spring in my step.
While I was in line at the bank, my cell phone rang. It was Bill. "Did you say you were feeding the dog out of the little bag inside the big plastic bin?"
"Ye-es," I answered cautiously.
"The one with the picture of the cat on the front?"
I put a hand over my mouth and rolled my eyes up at the ceiling. "Oh my gosh..."
"The bag that says, 'Specially formulated to prevent hairballs'?" he continued.
"No way. Oh my gosh."
Now for all you dog (and cat) lovers out there, be assured that I do realize this is NOT funny. Not at all. I don't think either Bill or Zeus saw any humor in the situation. But I couldn't help laughing at myself, howling actually, right there in the teller line. "I swear it said dog food when I looked at it on Friday," I choked out as tears streamed down both cheeks. "I just don't understand how-"
"You are something else, woman!"
"I gotta go," I said. "Talk to you later."
The two tellers in earshot were intrigued, so I told them the whole sad story. All three of us laughed ourselves silly. "Oh that poor dog," my teller said ruefully.
"Yes, poor dog," I repeated, thinking back to how I'd been congratulating myself for winning Zeus's trust--all the while trying to poison him with cat food! (Speaking of the cat, Charlie scarcely ate any of the dog food I mounded up in the bowl. Hopefully she suffered no ill effects.)
After eating some of his actual food (the big pieces of food in the giant plastic bin, as opposed to the tiny pieces of food in the little bag), Zeus seemed quite chipper. He stayed with Lola in our yard until Shawn came for him just before dinner.
Shawn listened to the whole story quite graciously, but I rather doubt I'll be asked to keep those pets again. Can you blame him?