Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Dogsitting – Chapter Four: Muskoka by Debbie the DogLady

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

This is the final post of Debbie the DogLady who lives in Toronto, Canada and posts about travel, music, life and of course dogs. I have chosen four of her dog sitting adventures to share with you and in this post we meet Muskoka a labrador with a taste of cigarette butts and socks…


Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born. This is a continuing series.
(Click HERE for more chapters)

Chapter Four: Muskoka by Debbie the DogLady

Muskoka was a massive yellow lab and a first ever dog for his owners, Rick and Janet. They travelled a lot, so, he stayed with me quite often.

A wonderful guest indoors; he didn’t bother with the other dogs much and was perfectly house trained. You can imagine how important this is to a dogsitter! (It’s one of my stipulations, but some people actually lie about it. )

Outside was a whole different story, however. Muskoka had a fetish. Anything he saw on the ground was immediately swallowed, no matter what it was. Kleenex, lost gloves, even cigarette butts. Shortly after he was dropped off one day, I took him for a walk and he immediately threw up a large pile of them. Disgusting!

One wonders how this was allowed to happen. My best guess is that somebody dumped the contents of their car’s ashtray on the ground and Muskoka’s owners weren’t paying close attention. You have to watch these “garbage hounds” like a hawk, at all times! Even still, sometimes they’re so quick, nothing can be done about it. Muskoka caused me worry on a couple of occasions; once by swallowing a glove and another time, a broken tennis ball. Down the hatch they went, before I got a chance to fish them out of his mouth. Fortunately, in both instances, he regurgitated the objects within hours. You can imagine my relief!

He wasn’t always so lucky. A few years later, Janet told me the story of their family’s frantic Christmas. Muskoka had swallowed a sock and they were expecting to find the expelled remains, as usual. Nothing was forthcoming however and a few days later, the poor dog refused to eat, (alarming on its own!), and seemed to be in pain. An X-ray revealed the sock, coiled around his intestinal tract and emergency surgery was performed immediately.

Thankfully, he did make a full recovery, but, started gaining weight. I suspect his owners were giving him too many treats, in order to break him of the sock habit. That part was accomplished, but it came to the point where just walking would cause severe breathing difficulties. I always try to be honest with my clients, albeit diplomatic. My concern was for Muskoka’s health and I gave Rick and Janet some suggestions to help him lose weight, (prescription diet food and no more of those 50 calorie a pop “Marrow Treats”.) To their credit, they took this advice to heart. Muskoka’s next visit was about 8 months later and he was a svelte and handsome Dude, with plenty of energy.

All was well for a long time, then came the unhappy news that Muskoka had injured his right knee and needed another operation. Sadly, he wasn’t quite the same after that, (similar to most of us with gimpy knees), but, the weight stayed off and he was otherwise a normal Lab. As is often the case, his left knee started to go too and a few more years went by, with him hobbling around. It came to the point where he could barely move and wouldn’t eat. Dogs are often adept at conveying the message that they want to go to their final rest. Rick and Janet heeded the signs and said one final goodbye to their boy when he was 13; that’s 80 in human years.

Tears were shed by all. Muskoka had been coming to my home since he was a mere lad of 18 months. On a happy note, it was less than a year later that Parker came into the family. A grand nephew of Muskoka, he had similar facial features, but, a completely different personality.

©Debbie the Dog Lady 2012

About Debbie

Hello from Toronto!

Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet. Let me entertain you with memoirs, photos, travelogues, creative writing pieces, music galore and so much more.

I was born in Germany, now living in Canada. My mother was German and my father, Canadian of German descent. They met in 1953, during his first posting to her homeland, following a tour of duty in Korea. This makes me an “Army Brat”.

I speak English, German, some French, a little Italian and a smattering of Spanish. I love music, travel and of course dogs.

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My thanks to Debbie for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to explore them further.. Thanks Sally.

21 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Dogsitting – Chapter Four: Muskoka by Debbie the DogLady

  1. My dog, Dot is also a garbage hound. Probably because she had to end for herself when she was very little. I have to constantly watch her. However, she doesn’t eat things like socks and gloves, only anything that could be considered food. Muskoka sounds like a lovely dog and I’m sure she was missed by her owners and you. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Okay, you had me at “Muskoka was a massive yellow lab.” We’ve got two excellent yellow labs right now. Jake is eight—the smartest dog I’ve ever owned. Lulu is five and is perhaps the most demanding dog we’ve ever owned. She loves to bark about anything,, but particularly if we’re not paying enough (in her mind) attention to her. Any tips for this? I keep waiting for her to grow up, but maybe this is the final product, ha-ha! They love chasing the ball or anything else we toss for them. Jake was a chewer in his younger days, but he leaves his chewing exclusively for food now. He has never turned down a meal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I read about Jake and Lulu and enjoyed your photos. 🙂 The common wisdom for training a dog is to ignore bad behaviour and reward the good, but that might be difficult with incessant barking. For some dogs, a little shot of water from a spray bottle could work, but I’m thinking Labs probably like that! 😀 They are definitely food-obsessed and most of them love the fetch game. This is the most popular breed in North American and likely also in the UK. Thanks for reading Muskoka’ story. Glad you liked it! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Pad Thai, Book Marketing new series, Big Band Sounds and all that Jazz | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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