Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Hope Springs Eternal Doggie B & B

Skipper is visiting our house this week month.  For some reason, my friend Heidi thinks that she is allowed to leave town for a month every summer and go visit people that she loves.  It's really quite ridiculous that she takes her sweet children away from me (and my kids) and then leaves her dog in their place as if he is an adequate substitute.  It makes me cry at the beginning of every summer when she makes the big announcement that she'll be leaving for the month of July, so this summer she didn't actually come right out and tell me.  In May and June I kept asking her for how long she'd be going away and she kept saying vague things like, "not as long as usual" and "would you like some more sangria?"  By the end of June, though, she really had to nail down Skipper's reservation at the Hope Springs Eternal Doggie Bed & Breakfast, so she let it slip that she was going for three whole weeks and didn't really know yet when she'd be coming home.  She acted like she had told me several times already when I came flying at her with my fingernails.

So we've got Skipper, Heidi's old chocolate labrador.  Skipper sheds a clone of himself every day:

That's just from the morning sweep.

Skipper is a very good barker and also snores like a freight train.  He has to sleep in Grandma's room when he's here -- it doesn't bother her, because Grandpa snores at almost exactly the same decibel and she's used to it.  She's leaving on Tuesday, so I have to bring in a replacement to sleep with Skipper (Dez).  For his first several visits to our house, Skipper would not eat out of his dog bowl.  It was the bowl he eats out of every day at his house, but for some reason he wouldn't eat out of it here.  We had to pour the food on the floor to get him to eat it.

Whatever he was afraid of (the broom, maybe?) must have been deep-seated because he really loves to eat.  The first time we kept him, he convinced us to feed him three times one morning.  He whined for Grandma to feed him when she got up at 5:30, and then acted like he hadn't been fed at 6:00 when Joe got up, so Joe fed him again.  And then when I got up at 6:30, he followed me around the kitchen, pausing to gaze longingly in his empty food bowl at each pass.  I assumed he hadn't been fed yet and fed him again.

This may be why my eight year old weighs 100 pounds.

It's quite surprising, really, that Heidi continues to trust us with her dog, given my family's sordid dog-sitting history.  Have I told you about the time that we house-sat for our next door neighbors and watched all their pets for them?  By week's end, their dog and their pet rat were dead.  The snakes survived only because neither of us would touch them.  The dog was not our fault.  The rat, however, met an untimely end when Flamingo Joe let it run around out on the neighbor's screened-in porch and it ran behind the built-in brick barbecue and got caught in a rat trap.  Oh the irony.

Heidi knows these stories and yet still thinks we're capable.

Last summer, Skipper was nearby when Campbell almost got eaten by an alligator, but Skipper was fine.  Trust me, I checked him all over.  Regardless, when Heidi's husband came to pick him up two days later, Skipper had a triangular gouge on the inside of his leg.  My blood ran cold when I noticed it that morning because I had no explanation for how Skipper had gotten hurt.  It took ages and ages for that injury to heal, but the important thing is -- and I tried to help Heidi see this -- Skipper was ALIVE.

Yet it doesn't matter at all that Skipper was not actually touched by the alligator -- Heidi and her husband always refer to Skipper's wound from that summer as the "alligator bite."

I'm pretty sure Heidi has blamed me for each of Skipper's ailments since I sent him home injured last summer.  That pesky staph infection, she believes, must stem from the non-alligator wound, not to mention the weird skin thing that for a while was making his hair fall out.  I don't think she can blame me, though, for the fatty tumor on his side.  When Heidi's husband dropped Skipper off with us last week, he also left three vials of pills to give Skipper.  Grandma Elsie has been faithful in giving Skip his pills every day, but I don't know what will happen to the poor guy when Elsie leaves for Durango on Tuesday.

Maybe Heidi should come home early.


  1. OK, first off, you have a black dog so some of those hairs could be from Campbell. Second, what do alligator teeth resemble? Triangles maybe? Thirdly, Oh crap! Grandma Elsie leaves on the 19th???

    I would like to see a recent picture of Skipper to prove he is still alive please. LOL

  2. No worries, Heidi, your dog is still alive. I made him stay inside while I took care of that snake situation earlier.


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