The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Taking care of dog, brings back memories

I have been known to moan and sigh over my children being grown up and gone. I frequently think longingly of bygone days when they were little and the fun we had. It’s a classic case of selective memory.

But it appears I have stumbled over a cure. I’m dog sitting. Suddenly, I am not alone. I have been abruptly thrown back to the days of raising toddlers. Unlike my very capable husband, this roommate can’t fix her own dinner, can’t leave the house without an escort and would really, really like to spend her day in my lap.

If I am eating something, she wants some. If I am moving, she wants to romp. If I sit still, she becomes a warm, fuzzy attachment that makes me feel guilty when I have to detach her and get up. I am shadowed wherever I go. If I pause, she is quite content to sit and gaze at me longingly. Much like my children, she’s also pretty cute, which makes it all that much tougher to ignore her pleas. Sad, puppy eyes have a lot in common with sad, toddler eyes. Both are famous for melting your resolve.

These days, I tend to make several spontaneous stops on my way home from work. I’ve also been known to stop and yak, if I run into a friend. Mid-errand, mid-conversation or as I admire that pair of shoes, I now suddenly feel like I left the baby parked by the curb. It’s still startling to remember someone is impatiently waiting for my arrival at home. This someone very probably needs, and absolutely wants a little trip outside and some food. It’s also a bit embarrassing to be so sharply reminded that I have become just a tad spoiled and self-indulgent, since my chicks left the nest.

I will admit, though, this particular pup is far tidier than my kids used to be. She eats all her dinner without coaxing and she never argues about bedtime or television. Unlike my adorable children, she never has to be driven to a play date or school and she can be left for a while without a babysitter.  And to my great delight, unlike previous dogs I have owned, she is too short to leap up and snag the cookies, the chicken salad or the burritos off the counter. In fact, she’s about the sweetest dog I have ever met, which makes the new drill pretty painless.

We are adjusting to one another, this fluffy new boarder of mine. She is getting accustomed to hanging out in my backyard. I am slowly getting better at remembering I have something to do besides stumble to the bathroom sink, when I rise in the morning.

And I will even admit that being greeted with such unrelenting enthusiasm can be rather pleasant and possibly addicting. Excuse me, but someone seems to want her hair brushed. And she won’t shriek if I hit a tangle.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who really doesn’t mind the feel of a wet nose. Contact her at [email protected].