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50. A Little Homesick

Sir Oliver's Granny

This weekend was the weekend sir Oliver had to be taken to our dog-sitter. It was as exciting for me as for sir Oliver, only my excitement took place before the event and his during his stay with the dog-sitter.

We picked this couple to be our dog-sitters due to getting to know the man and seeing him being so calm and sweet with sir Oliver. It was one of the man of the foundation we got sir Oliver from, that did a house call to see if all was going fine with sir Oliver.

At the end of the morning this Saturday, we brought sir Oliver to the dog-sitters. We put up his dog bed in this strange house and sir Oliver started investigating the living room. The plan had been, to go for a walk with sir Oliver and the man, and then half way the walk leaving the man and sir Oliver to go home. Since sir Oliver was quite calm and sniffing around the living room we decided to sneak away without a walk first.

During the day I had moments where I did think about him wondering how he was doing, though it was never with any anxiety or worry. I had seen how this man was behaving around our dog and that gave me trust and peace to let go and enjoy my parents 50th anniversary.

Around 10:30 PM my daughter and I went to the dog-sitters to collect sir Oliver. My daughter called the couple to let them know we were on our way. The woman was home and the man was walking sir Oliver. So we parked the car and went to their home. My daughter heard sir Oliver’s name tag tinkle. And when we looked back we saw the man with sir Oliver.

We all went in their house at once and sir Oliver was super excited to see us again. We came back! We didn’t abandon him! Or at least that was how I explained his excitement. The couple told us that sir Oliver had a bit of a hard time after we had left that morning. He had been wheezing and crying and then when the couple was nice and sweet he made the best out of it.

The man told us that sir Oliver had been sniffing at a certain car that evening, so he was curious if that was our car. And indeed it was, so sir Oliver is able to tell which car is the one he travels in. And then he spotted us, only by scent, and tracked us down at the front door of the dog-sitters house.

These sweet people didn’t want to be paid for their services, so I made them my homemade chocolates. Lucky enough they could appreciate the dark chocolate with almond paste filling. They even offered to dog-sit sir Oliver again whenever we needed it.

The moment we started to collect all sir Oliver’s belongings to get ready to go home again, sir Oliver got a bit nervous. To let him know that he was allowed to come home with us we did put on his harness and leash, as a sign for him to know he was going home with us.

After being a little homesick he had been having a nice day and we found out that sir Oliver is a bit of a womanizer, since he only liked the woman to pet him and get him ready to go outside. The man however was good for the walks but not to touch him or do anything special with him. That is exactly what we experience in our own household with my partner. So a bit of a relief for my partner that sir Oliver behavior of being afraid and cautious with him, is not personal. Sir Oliver might have had bad experiences as a test animal with men in general.  Simple a point to work through for sir Oliver and we as his caregivers.

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46. Traveling

Sir Oliver's Granny

We had to travel to visit family and we decided that it was a great moment to introduce a different home to sir Oliver. So far he only has been in our home and only a few people came over to see him, therefore it was time to expand his world, and see how easy he is with traveling.

The day we took him home things were quite confusing for him. All of a sudden he was with strangers and in a car. Then we travelled a bit by car with sir Oliver all within a 10 to 15 minute travel time. We really didn’t know how he is on longer car trips.

Last week at the vet’s we bought some car sickness pills. So an hour before traveling we gave him the pill with a bit of food. I took him for his afternoon walk while the rest of my family packed the car. It’s almost like traveling with a baby. We took his dog bed, blanket, toys, food bowls and food, his leash and harness. My daughter was already joking that she needed a diaper bag for all sir Oliver’s stuff.

After exactly an hour that sir Oliver had taken the pill we left for an hour and 15 minute drive. On the way there he wasn’t able to sit in a comfortable way and he was panting and trembling a lot. Even though he did decide to lay down after a while. I knew he wasn’t car sick, but he isn’t used to long car drives either. He’s never trained as a pup to be in a car and to learn to enjoy it.

When we arrived we let him out on a lawn next to the parking lot, to make sure he would not pee in the house out of anxiety or being overly excited. Just to be sure he would not do any thing on the wooden floor of my family. The first time I brought my first kitten home, he climbed the lace curtains and basically destroyed them. So that memory had come up, now I was bringing home my daughter’s dog. Even though I knew nothing bad could really happen.

Sir Oliver was really relaxed in this new environment, he already knew the smell of the family that lives there, maybe that helped. After exploring the entire penthouse he slept on his dog bed and ate his dinner like normal. We took him for his evening walk in this unknown city, sir Oliver was really excited to be able to sniff new scents, following new trails and he was pulling the leash as never before.

I did not do the stop and stare to the sky method, he is doing very well on it at home, now he was just so overwhelmed with new things and excited that I didn’t want to stop after each few steps we did.

An hour before we thought we would leave we gave sir Oliver his car sickness pill, to make sure his car drive back home would be as nice or nicer than on the way there. With again a bit of food he had no problems taking the pill. And it almost seemed that he got a picture of what was going to happen. He jumped into the elevator and didn’t seem surprised about the feeling of going down. He almost jumped into the car as if he new what the drill was, but the car is a bit too high for a Beagle.

On the way back he didn’t pant and almost no trembling, he slept in between my daughter and I in the back seat. I really would love it if traveling by car would not be a problem and be able to take him to places.

After coming home we went straight onto his night walk. When finally home, he went to bed in his own dog bed with my daughter and he slept through the entire night and was even a bit sleepy the next morning. Although he had been having fun, it was as well a lot of new experiences he had gone through. I really enjoyed bringing him along and gradually expose him to more and more things. Sir Oliver is quite a social dog, so he deserves it to expand his world step by step. And we expand with him on his and our journey to life.