Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And Then There Are My Two

This bittersweet picture is a snapshot of a working dog's life. This was taken during the search of the World Trade Center rubble in 2001. This dog is taking a much needed break after working with his (or her) partner. The conditions were horrible and the work was dirty, painstaking, emotional and physically exhausting. But still, a cozy place for a nap was found among the ruins.

 And then, there are my two.  I never realized how high maintenance they are until this week. I'm in the process of preparing to go out of town for five days. Part of this preparation  is arranging care for the dogs. It's always a huge stress, but this time, my sister is taking care of them. I had to type out some information/instructions for her, so that she knows what to do. After I typed it up and emailed it to her, I re-read it. Then, I realized that my dogs are a lot of trouble! How did that happen? I'm the most low maintenance person on the planet. How did my dogs get so complicated? Of course, I'm also a Type-A, over thinking, perfectionist, worrier to an extreme that no one else can compare and part of that involves stressing about leaving the dogs at home with someone else to take care of...

Here's an excerpt from my email to my sister:

To Take Care of Dogs
"In general, they get fed once in the morning and once in the evening. Buddy gets enough food to cover the bottom of his bowl (blue) plus a little more. Dingo gets enough to fill his bowl (black).
Because of their age, the most important thing is that they always have access to fresh water. Please make sure their bowl is always full. It’s on the floor, next to the TV stand.
Typically, they need to go outside more than twice a day, but on the days you can only go in the morning and then in the evening, just try to make it so that they don’t get left too long without going outside. If you come at 7 am, then try to be back by 5-7pm, etc. That will be pushing it, but when you come in the evening it’s to feed them, let them out and then put them to bed, so just use your best judgment. I’ll leave some cleaning supplies out, just in case they have an accident.
Here are the most important parts of taking care of them.
They are not allowed upstairs. They have never been up there and they don’t even try.
 The two nights you spend there, you can sleep downstairs on the couch so they are with you or I will make sure Lucas’ bed is ready for you to sleep in.
Always leave the downstairs bathroom fan running with the door open. It helps to muffle noises from outside, which cuts down on their barking, especially to fire engine sirens. If they start howling in the middle of the night, it will scare the crap out of you. Please leave the fan on during the day, as well.
When you put them outside, you have to supervise by standing out there (sorry).  If you don’t Dingo will attack the back fence and the dog on the other side. It’s very stressful and it will freak you out because he turns in to Cujo and will not hear a word of your screaming to call him back in the house. (rock on)
Please make sure there is never anything on the floor that would be harmful for the dogs to eat. Dingo is just like Bubba and is constantly scrounging for crumbs. Chewing gum can kill the dogs, so if you see any, please pick it up.
When you feed them, you have to wait until Buddy is finished before leaving. Otherwise, Dingo will go and steal Buddy’s food. Sorry.
If you are hanging out at our house for a while and feel like they want to hang outside for a change, just hook Dingo’s collar to the “stay home stick” in the yard and make sure to give him a little thing of water near-by and they will be fine for a bit, as long as you are there. If he’s tied up, he can’t attack the fence, but he can soak up some sun.
Buddy is scared to death of the hardwood floors, so he will not go out of or come in through the sliding glass door in the kitchen. You have to use the one in the dining room.

When you are gone, just leave all the blinds closed tightly. It helps keep the house cool and prevents the dogs from losing their mind every time they see a squirrel or the 100 cats in our neighborhood." 
So, when I looked at my instructions to my sister for taking care of my dogs for five days and then look back at the picture of the exhausted dog who worked all day digging through rubble and then laying it's weary body on the only (hard) bed it found, I immediately felt a rush of relief (ok, also embarrassment) in that I could just let it all go, knowing that they will be fine, even if things don't go the way I'm planning or even if they are left alone for while, they will be FINE. If that working dog can do what it does every day and live to see another day, my high maintenance four legged babies will too. 

A big, huge thank you goes out my sister, Jessica for taking on the care of my high maintenance dogs so I can go on my trip knowing that all will be well at home.

I hope...

(shh..just between you and me. I know it's for the best, but let's be honest. I'm a Scorpio and this advice is SO hard to live.)

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