A peek into the whole new world of temporary dog ownership:
I was a little worried about Schatzi’s barking – John said she barked a couple of times when he left for work on Monday, but no angry notes or messages when I got home, so I guess it’s OK. The Same Names, who live across the hall, said she only barked two or three times when John first left and that was it.
She goes completely mad with joy when I get home, bouncing around and squealing and licking my face and unable to contain her utter rapture at my presence. I am beginning to realize why people have dogs, even when they live in an apartment. It’s the ego gratification. All you have to do is go home, which you do anyway, and you are greeted with the enthusiasm of a celebrity stalker spying his/her victim in the famous flesh. But with all the joy and everything, I could hardly get the dog’s leash on. However, no barking.
It’s a whole new world, walking a dog, especially a pit bull in post-dog mauling case San Francisco. Some people get nervous as we approach them, and I try to keep Schatzi close to me and as far away as possible from the stranger, just in case. Some people do want to pet her, so I let them.
Then there’s the etiquette of approaching other dogs. Even those of us with rental dogs soon learn that if a dog sees another dog, canine politeness requires at a minimum a perfunctory butt sniff. Still, I feel that I should ask the dog’s attendant if it’s OK first, particularly if they are walking one of those teeny dogs that could all too easily be stepped on unnoticed. They always say yes, probably because their dog is the exact same way, even if almost invisible.
The challenge of the entire endeavor is not lessened by the storms we have had ever since she arrived (and which are scheduled to go on through next week, giving me a very unpleasant El Nino flashback), making poop removal even less enjoyable than it inherently is. I’m sure others have noted this before me, but really, it’s impossible to do this without thinking that if aliens were to observe you, they would think the dog was the superior being. If nothing else, the dog is in charge. You have to walk it, or risk the stinky destruction of your lovely home, and you have to clear up the results of persisting in feeding it, or risk alienating your [rich and snotty] neighbors.
They say every man has his price, and I am surprised that mine turned out to be so low: $300, which is what it would have cost to board her and have someone else clean up the poop. Seems out of character for me to do it myself instead of paying someone else to do it, which is my usual solution to the unpleasantries of life, like housework.
But it’s not utterly unrewarding. There is the ego boost of the joyful welcome when I get home from work, and Schatzi has now established a routine of curling up on the bathmat while I have my bath and read “The Box of Delights” (me, I mean, not her. She is dumb as a post – or a Bush). She is already good about not going in the bedroom – we have forbidden it to her so our cats have their own “territory”. So far she hasn’t chewed anything up or peed in the house or anything, but “so far” is only a couple of days. So far.