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…

Prologue…

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.

Connect to Debbie

Blog: https://thedogladysden.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbieDoglady
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Debbie.D.Writer.Photographer/

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.

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Dogsitting – Chaper Three: Max 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 third 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 Mad Max, an under exercised Border Collie with mischief on his mind.

Prologue…

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)

Image Wikipedia commons

Chapter Three: Max the Border Collie by Debbie the DogLady.

Max, a weekday client for several years, was a hyper Border Collie with a neurotic owner. This made for a neurotic dog as well, earning him the nickname “Mad Max”.

It was my task to take him out while his owners were at work. Without that diversion he became destructive, or as his “mom”, Joan once said: “If Max ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. Somewhat of an understatement! Picture mangled shoes, bedspreads, throw rugs, etc. Max even knew how to open dresser drawers and destroy socks, underwear and anything else he could find.

Border Collies are at the top of the intelligence scale and without proper training and exercise they become frustrated, even frenzied.

In the beginning, we walked to the local park, (deserted at that time of day), to play “Fetch”. Max was completely obsessed with this game and could go on for hours if allowed. The hard part was getting to our destination. He would turn into a raving maniac at the sight of another dog and practically ripped my arm off a few times!

In a bid for self-preservation, I opted to drive him elsewhere and found a lovely little green space that was largely undisturbed. Good compromise! Max got his exercise and my arm remained intact.

One day, I found a note from Joan . “We have enrolled Max in Flyball and there’s a box set up in the basement. (Dogs push on the box to release a tennis ball: “It’s All About The Box“.) Could you please go down and work with him a little?” At that time, I was still recovering from a badly broken ankle and the cast had only been off for a couple of months. I thought it best to take Max to the park first, then come home and give it a try. As I slowly and unsteadily made my way down the winding staircase, Max hurled himself at me from behind and I went flying into the drywall at the bottom. It was as if he were a bowling ball, knocking down a pin!

Panicked thoughts flashed through my mind; especially concerning the recently broken ankle and my bad knee from a previous injury, (yes, also dog-related; stay tuned for that chapter). Fortunately (!) my head bore the brunt as it hit the wall, leaving a large, jagged hole. This had a stunning effect and I couldn’t move right away. Max just stood there looking at me, head tilted as if to say: “Well, aren’t you getting up?”

Other than a slight headache, I was, thankfully, still in one piece. The wall, however, did not fair so well. My first thought was that Max’s owners would be upset with me and terminate our relationship. Silly! It was their dog who knocked me into the wall; certainly not my fault. When writing the note, I included the bowling ball comparison, in hopes that a little humour would diffuse any annoyance on their part. I even offered to split the cost of the repair. Silly again, but, that’s just the way I am. Fair to the point of being ridiculous, sometimes.

Joan called me that night, apologizing profusely and asking me over and over: “Are you okay?” It occurred to me then that, had I been hurt, she would be liable, so I’m sure she was relieved by my affirmative answer. Her husband repaired the wall shortly thereafter and the incident was never mentioned again.

Joan told me of her plans to adopt a baby and become a stay-at-home Mom. My concern was that Max and baby wouldn’t mix well. Joan admitted similar thoughts and vowed to “keep an eye” on him. In my mind, this was insufficient, but, I kept my mouth shut. After the baby arrived, Max still went out with me twice a week, for a couple of months. Luckily, he bonded with the baby and became a more gentle dog around him, although very protective.

One day, Joan left a note saying she could no longer afford to pay for Max’s outings and that we would stop at month’s end. I was saddened by this turn of events, not only from a monetary standpoint but, also a personal one. Max and I had become good buddies, plus he needed regular exercise to stay on an even keel. Hopefully, Joan would keep it up.

While driving through the area a few years later, I spotted Joan with her son and Max, walking to the park. Max would have been 8 or 9 years old then and seemed calmer. He was also chubbier, but that can happen to the best of us. Much to my delight, he recognized me and wagged his tail furiously. Good to be remembered and nice to know everyone was doing well.

©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.

Connect to Debbie

Blog: https://thedogladysden.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbieDoglady
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Debbie.D.Writer.Photographer/

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.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Dogsitting – Chapter Two : J.J. The Dalmatian 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 second 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 J.J. The Dalmatian who sounds quite the character.

Prologue…

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)

J.J. the Dalmatian came into my life for a brief couple of years.
His antics earned him the nickname “Brat Prince” and a special place in my heart.

J.J.’s “Dad”, Bob, was a very busy man, juggling a public relations firm with a young family and a cat. Whatever made him decide to add a Dalmatian into the mix? He obviously had little understanding of the breed and opted to keep J.J. confined to a crate for much of the day, (because he tormented the cat). You just DON’T put a Dalmatian in a cage and expect life to be hunky dory once he’s let loose! No surprise that J.J. would run amok.

These are intelligent, high energy dogs who need an outlet. I kept my disapproval to myself and accepted J.J. as a houseguest with much trepidation. Hopefully, my own Dalmatian, Tasha, would keep him in line. Before he arrived, shoes and other “chewables” were hidden or put out of reach, just in case.

All went well the first week. There was a daily “playgroup” for dogs at the neighbouring schoolyard and J.J. got plenty of exercise, chasing around with the others.

We loved having two Dalmatians together and it was quite a sight. Tasha at one end of the couch and J.J. at the other, performing their nightly, synchronized cleaning ritual. (This breed is very cat-like.)

Similar to children, dogs are often on their best behaviour in a new environment, until they become more relaxed. This is what happened with J.J., the second week. We had also become a little complacent, assuming he was cured of his destructive bent.

I hurried out of the house one day, leaving a pair of jeans on the bedroom chair. Found them later, on the floor, with the waistband chewed off. J.J. had obviously eaten it! Luckily, this didn’t cause him any gastric upset, but, he was pooping denim for the next few days. We had a couple of similar incidents with forgotten shoes, but it was impossible to stay angry. J.J. was such an adorable clown!

Another time, we had several more canine guests in residence. They were eating dinner when J.J decided he wanted a taste of someone else’s. The dog wouldn’t oblige, so J.J. lifted his leg and peed in the water bowl! We just HOWLED with laughter, all the while trying to scold him. What a statement!

Bob had noticed that when J.J. came home from his vacations, he was much calmer. This prompted him to join the playgroup, two or three times a week. One day, J.J. just bolted! He ran to our house, (halfway down the block), up the front steps and sat there, waiting. Bob made light of it, joking that J.J. wanted another holiday. This continued to happen every time from then on and Bob soon stopped coming. Obviously, J.J. wasn’t so happy at home and wanted to stay with me! Sadly, I never heard from them again.

A few months later, I drove by Bob’s house and there was a “For Sale” sign on the lawn. He had mentioned wanting to sell, in passing, and also admitted that J.J. needed a more suitable home. My hope is that he found one.

©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.

Connect to Debbie

Blog: https://thedogladysden.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbieDoglady
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Debbie.D.Writer.Photographer/

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.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck #Pet Sitting – Chapter One: Luke 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 first 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 it sounds like there were many happy years of fun in the park, and illustrates how attached dog sitters and pet foster mums become attached to their guests.

Prologue…

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 One: Luke by Debbie the DogLady

I first met Luke when he was only 9 months old. What a magnificent dog! A beautiful White Shepherd, (aka Snow Shepherd or Swiss Shepherd), the likes of which I had never seen before. It was my weekly assignment to take him out for some exercise while his owners were work. The first day, he was barking furiously and ready to attack before I got through the door! This was a little nerve-wracking, but I was hoping he would calm down, once he picked up my scent. Our initial meeting had been a few days prior and he had given me a thorough “once over”. With outstretched hand, palm up, I tiptoed in. Luke bounded at me, then stopped to sniff. He looked up as if to say “oh yes, I remember you” and started to wag his tail. Big sigh of relief escaped my lips!

I grabbed the leash from the wall and he started “talking” to me. “Rawr, rawr, rawr , rawr” [~Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go~]. This made me smile. So impatient! We got in the car and headed for the park. There was fur flying everywhere and as the years passed, the old “dogmobile” would house a permanent “Lukehair” blanket, (others’ too, of course, but not so obvious).

Apparently, I wasn’t driving fast enough. From the back seat, Luke leaned into my right ear. “Rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr” [~Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?~]. This continued until we arrived at our destination; quite the distraction!

The dog park wasn’t ideal for Luke. He had a habit of trying to mount other males, some of whom took exception. I looked for a safer venue and found a lovely, mostly deserted green space a few miles away, where Luke could play frisbee to his heart’s content.

This routine went on for years. Luke also enjoyed many vacations at my house. We were forever bonded. ♥ He started deteriorating around the age of 10. First, there was a problem with his spleen and it had to be removed. There were stomach problems, too. I remember once he had a bad case of diarrhea, all over my car. What a mess! The poor boy was so mortified!

After Luke’s human Mommy, Lorraine, began working from home, I only saw him occasionally. She contacted me one summer’s day, when Luke was 13, to relay the sad news that he had cancer. “He’s not suffering and we’ll keep him comfortable as long as possible”, she said. My heart sank, but, I tried to remain positive, for her sake. Told her how much we loved him and that she and her husband were wonderful to give him this chance. Not all dog owners would. There was no further news until the dreaded call came, shortly before Christmas. Luke had passed away peacefully, in his sleep, overnight. Lorraine and I were both sobbing into the phone, as I tried to console her. Losing a client’s dog is almost as heart wrenching as losing my own and this scene has been repeated often, over the years.

Luke will forever remain in our hearts. He truly was one of a kind!

©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.

Connect to Debbie

Blog: https://thedogladysden.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbieDoglady
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Debbie.D.Writer.Photographer/

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.