Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tales of a Dogsitter - Little Dog Day

There were 13 dogs when I got up this morning at 7AM; my six plus two old English sheepdogs and their sister LeLu (senior yellow lab), three Schnauzers and Boulder, a wonderful big black terrier mix. Shortly thereafter Forty-West arrived for day care – 14 in the kitchen waiting for their breakfast of organic kibble with a scoop of oatmeal mixed with eggs and a banana, all covered with homemade organic Greek yogurt.

It’s a process preparing bowls and some dogs are more patient than others. RockDog is so excited he can’t sit still causing the other not-so-patient dogs to begin whining and wiggling. It’s contagious so very soon there is a pack of 14 excited dogs creating mayhem at the food counter, pushing and shoving each other and me. I stop long enough to run the offenders out to the deck where they can wait for their breakfast, away from the food. Ahhh, now back to some semblance of order in the kitchen. It takes much longer to actually prepare the food bowls than it does for them to clean them, especially the labs and English cocker. No sooner do I set the bowl in front of their slobbering jaws when presto, it is inhaled. How do you guys do that? It’s like you breathe it in.

The task then becomes to separate the chowhounds from the slower, I-like-to-enjoy-every-bite eaters. I shove the finished crew into the bathroom or back deck to allow for the others to leisurely pick at their breakfast ensuring there is no cause for snarling or worse yet, a snit. Crowd control, that’s what it’s all about at mealtime.

Around 1 PM Maisey arrives, a black Scottie from Montana totaling fifteen and still counting. At 3:00 PM I drop the Sheepdogs and LeLu off at their house reducing the count to 12. At 5:30 Forty-West is picked-up for the day and Oliver, an adorable Cavalier Spaniel from Bend, Oregon arrives – mentally I note, one leaving, one coming still leaves 12 for the night, one less than last night.

Like magic the swinging doors at TBTB has produced a pack of small canines with one exception - Boulder, who tries very hard to appear small in the new crowd. He gets down on the floor and rolls over for them to sniff until their hearts are content. He is a gentle giant.

The roster of the day looked something like this: Boulder, Bear, Mikey, LeLu, Gracie, Tigger, Joe Moore, Forty-West, Maisey, Oliver, WoodBoy, LucGoose, ZipDoodle, RockDog, Ms. Anne & BunBun Roush. With this many dogs, especially since now we have small ones, I do have to make a list so I can be sure everyone comes inside after the evening walk.

The big dogs take up mucho space in the house but they are easy to spot on the trail. The little dogs are harder to see when they are all buzzing around the tundra but they do yip more and require lap time. Some such as Oliver insist on sleeping on the bed with my six dogs and me. Everyone finds a spot on the bed leaving the pillow by my head open for Oliver to settle in. All in all, I love both the big and small dogs alike. I really don’t have a preference. Life continues to be a howl at TBTB Dog Camp.

Yip! Yip! or Woof! Woof!
Depending on what day it is. ☺

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