Monday was my last day of dog sitting. Don’t take it the wrong way if I say “Thank God.” It was fun, but of course we are strangers who don’t follow the routine exactly and so every animal expressed their concern about the (in my opinion miniscule) adjustments to their schedules in a variety of ways. It kept me on my toes and a little nervous the whole time, wondering who would do what next.
The dogs, waking up in a bedroom with no people in it (and being unable to tell time) thought that 5 or 6am was morning. Obviously, as the people who were usually in the bed were not there and so must be up and around already. We tried simply staying in our bed one morning and letting them wander the house for a bit, bit that too was a bad idea. I guess not all dogs desperately ask to be let out in the morning, but still find a place to relieve themselves. Thank goodness they have no carpets in their house.
After their breakfast they settled in for their post meal naps, the blonde out in the garden and the redhead near my feet while I read architecture magazines and enjoyed the sunshine. She got up at one point and I assumed she walked over to where the other dog was sleeping to get in the shade. But I couldn’t see either of them because of the charming, ancient stone shelter situated close to the house. She was gone so long that I thought I should check on her…and she wasn’t there. Yikes! Again, the thought of losing an entire animal, especially their favorite one, made me feel a little sick. OK, terrified.
I looked at the two dogs, blissfully panting with little smiles on their faces, and I could tell the redhead was thinking “That was pretty cool.” I decided not to brush them yet again, but to open my motherly eyes in the back of my head. That one taste of freedom and independence will inspire further escapes. She actually didn’t try to wander off again, thank goodness. She moved on to something all new and exciting. She was really getting in touch with her inner dog . Suddenly she started digging at the bottom of a probably hundred year old tree like she stood a chance of uprooting it. Silly dog. And of course, dogs are single minded enough to remain focused on the current fascination for hours. No matter how many times I tried to distract her, yes even tried to bribe with another biscuit, she kept going back to that tree. Finally I sat next to her at the bottom of the tree and held her back from digging. We didn’t leave the tree, but we tried very, very hard not to dig.
When her husband drove me back to town he remarked that the redhead was so relaxed and calm, very unlike the dog they left. But he seemed happy about it. I told him she might be just extremely tired from her two long journeys this morning. I described the second solo walk and he said that she never goes off on her own. That she must be finally feeling that their home is her home. I told him about the digging. I had to, he couldn’t possibly miss the pile of dirt she created. Again, instead of concern he was excited. That’s what her breed does, they like to dig! She is really getting comfortable with their home and her life there and he was thrilled. He looked at me like I’d done something magical, which I didn’t. He also mentioned the coming trip in August with excitement.
I’m torn. Yay, I will have work. But it has been almost overwhelming. I had to stop and remind myself that next time I won’t be wearing the cast from hell and Leif will not be working elsewhere. It will be August, when Florence becomes an oven and tourists go to the coast instead. And so we will get to be in the much cooler mountains in a quiet and beautiful place. With two furry friends, two witches familiars and a nightingale in an olive tree.