Sixteen Paws

Dog-sitting can be quite a fiasco. Our daughter and family travel quite a bit and we babysit their three dogs at their home, taking our own Rusty with us. We might stay at her house anywhere from two nights to two weeks. The dogs are quite a mix. Of course, any animal lover knows their pets have distinct personalities. Our “herd” does also.

First comes our ten-year-old Rusty. Of course, his name gives away his color. He hates sleepovers and is not fond of staying anywhere but in his own home, own bed and with his own parents, being us. When we are dog-sitting and intend to run a few errands, even before we’ve reached the car, Rusty has jumped off the living room couch, scrambled through the doggie door, charged down the deck stairs, run to the five-foot fence, jumping over it, swifter than a deer and meets us at the car. His message clearly, “You’re not leaving me here!”

Second, there’s Piper. A seven-year-old lab, a rescue of unknown mix, clearly the slacker of the bunch. Our daughter lives on five acres next to neighbors who own four mules, a horse and goats. Any bray from the mules that reaches the dogs relaxing inside and the three of them charge out the doggie door, scrambling over each other as they bark all the way down the deck steps to check out the mule status as to who did it. Piper? She stays curled up on the couch, raises her head and just watches them tear outside with her soft, dark brown eyes and contrasting tan eyelashes. If she could talk, I’m sure she’d say, “fools.”

Third in line is Rocky, a five-year-old and pure-bread Australian shepherd with black and light gray fur, brown legs with white socks and one blue and one brown eye. He’s clearly the sovereign king alpha of the clan. I do mean alpha. He and Rusty abhor each other and keep a good amount of distance away from each other. More like a big circle. If per chance they mistakenly enter each other’s territory, Rocky’s eyes narrow as if looking directly into the sun and Rusty rumbles a low growl, a ludicrous move on his part, considering Rocky could take him down with one paw behind his back. It’s a stroke of luck Rocky doesn’t, allowing Rusty to continue living in his delusional world of believing it’s him who’s the tough guy. 

Last, but not least, is Milo, their nearly three-year-old mini-Australian shepherd. He’s small and full of personality. A canine Johnny Carson, he has dark and light brown splotches all over his body. Milo’s white legs have a few small brown spots dotting them from his knees on down. His eyes are light blue and constantly scouring the household for food of any color, texture or taste, wrappers included. We’ve all learned to never leave food on the table nor anywhere else within his short stature reaching distance. However, he’s quite adept at using chairs or footstools to reach his goal. A warning: If you leave your plate to quickly grab a glass of water, salt, pepper, etc., before the time it takes to yell his name, your food disappears, like magic. Only it’s not, it’s Milo. But he’s so darn cute with his bobbed tail, he’s quickly forgiven. 

Like I said, the herd of dogs are something else, pure entertainment. Though my husband and I would much rather sleep in our own bed, Rusty included, we are always willing to watch our daughter’s dogs, especially me. It’s a little piece of heaven, being with four dogs, all at one time. And now, as a volunteer, I’m going to get ready to head to a puppy rescue near me. Pure delight!

6 thoughts on “Sixteen Paws

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.