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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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37. That Dog Sitter Is Mine

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I was presented with a dilemma  when I needed a sitter for sir Oliver, half December when we have a golden wedding anniversary. It’s a party that will take up the entire afternoon and evening and where we cannot bring sir Oliver with us. While payed dog sitters only offer their services during the day, and we cannot think of someone in our nearby area that would be perfect as a sitter for sir Oliver.

A few weeks ago when we had the men of the foundation visiting us, I asked them if there exists some sort of a group of people with lab Beagles that could act like dog sitters for each other, since such people know the ins and outs of such dogs. Unfortunately they did not know of such a group.

One of the men asked us during that visit if we have someone in our nearby area that possibly could be a sitter for sir Oliver. My daughter has some friends that just have new puppies. One is away a lot herself and the other is physically disabled and has difficulties walking. Then there is a neighbor that has a quiet old dog herself, who we could ask. So the one man said, ask the neighbor first and if things do not work out I will be your sitter.

When he spoke those words,  inside of me I was cheering, this man had already walked with sir Oliver. Sir Oliver was really calm with him and not giving any signs of being afraid. This man  knows all the ins and outs of lab Beagles. In that moment I decided he was the man for the job.

However I saw it as socially incorrect to say to the man that I rather had him as a sitter than my neighbor. So in the last weeks we have been watching the neighbor how she is doing with her own dog and if she gives us the impression that it could work out. My daughter and I were looking at the pro’s and cons and came to the conclusion that the cons were not really acceptable. They leave their front and back doors open for long periods and their back and front yard are not closed of. So when her 4 year old would open the door and sir Oliver would go and have a look, he might go outside and it would be practically impossible for them to catch him or call him back.

So the idea of asking the neighbor to be our sitter for a day was more a frightening idea than anything else to me. And besides that I didn’t want her to say yes to help me out and maybe not being sure about it. So I had already quite a worst case scenario in mind. At the same time I didn’t want to call the man of the foundation while I had not tried to ask my neighbor as agreed. I didn’t want to ask her and say yes, while I rather had the man as my dog sitter.

To lie about asking the neighbor and making up that she had refused or was unable to be a sitter that day, did cross my mind a few times. I didn’t think that was a cool option. I also remembered that the man had said, when you have no good feelings about letting the neighbor be the sitter, call me. So my daughter arranged a phone call and we explained the man that we had looked at the pro’s and con’s and that we didn’t want the neighbor to be our sitter and take more responsibility than she possibly would or could take.

The man said right away, no problem, he already placed the date in his schedule. I was so happy. Now I could relax at the party, knowing that sir Oliver is alright. The man already spoke about walking sir Oliver together at his address and then leave as smooth as possible. So he had given it some thoughts as well.

Although I was really happy I also felt manipulative, since I had been thinking up all kind of scenarios in my mind to get to the point that the man would accept the task. While in reality it was only asking him to do it, he had already agreed a few weeks ago to do it. It was all in my mind that I thought I needed to ask my neighbor and I had to be honest and tell him exactly why the neighbor would not do the task.

In my mind I gave the man far more authority and it felt like I had to explain myself while all I had to say was: I need your help. How simple can things be? And how difficult can I make it for myself when things are howling in my mind? This whole event made me realize and commit myself to live more within simplicity, without the frills of the mind. Simply tell this man that I like him to be our sitter in the moment that he offered his support. I already saw that he would be the best choice, so why bargain for something less. And why make more out of a situation where things are not so complicated at all? Next time I will be open and communicate and not let myself be directed by what I think society or others would think about it. There will always be a plan B which is maybe not the best plan, but what is there really to lose?