Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2016:
David and I are house, dog, and cow sitting again, this time for three weeks while our friends go Down Under to visit Auckland, New Zealand and Perth, Australia. Here is a brief account of our first four days.
Thursday Morning: Spike’s people left for Dallas in the wee hours of the morning, so David and I left home extra early so we could let Spike out for a brief run before tethering him by the patio. My fears of having to chase him across the field, frantically waving his leash in one hand and a doggy treat in the other, were unfounded. After about twenty minutes, he showed up at the back door and submitted docilely to his daytime limits. I left him with assurances that he was a good dog and that we would be back as quickly as possible.
Thursday Afternoon: Unfortunately, it takes a while to find space for Kitty’s carrier, litter box, bed, and toys. (She is NOT spoiled – we didn’t take her Kitty Condo.) By the time we added a small cooler of perishables and two bags of food, there was little room for toiletries and clothes for David and me. With a full trunk and back seat, and the Keurig coffee maker on the floor between my feet, we headed for Alba as the sun moved toward the western horizon.
Friday Evening: It’s a good idea to tether Spike before dark. He is a creature of the night, and once the nocturnal critters begin to wake up, he may not be seen until morning. Dusk had fallen by the time we made it to the ranch, but he had been restrained in one way or another for thirty-six hours with only a short recess, so I held my breath and released him. It was a pleasant surprise when he returned less than half an hour later and lay quietly on the patio until bedtime.
Friday Morning: We left EXTRA early this morning – Wildcat breakfast at the church at 6:30. David took Spike directly from the barn to the patio. Thankfully his tether is long enough to reach most of the yard in case he needs to potty.
Friday Afternoon: I finished up at the church before lunch, so after our daily visit with our friends at the Senior Center and a handful of errands, we made it “home” by mid-afternoon. That left time for a nice long dog run before we left for Home Group Bible Study. It also gave me some time to visit with Kitty. She has settled into the garage well enough, but it’s obvious that she misses being with us. She purrs loudly when we come to visit and allows us to pet her and even pick her up for much longer than usual. She has curled up in my lap for a few minutes when I sit on the floor with her. I just hope her affection continues once we return home.
Saturday Morning: We had no schedule on Saturday, but I still woke up around 7:00 am. I immediately headed for the barn to let Spike out for a day of freedom. Apparently he was more upset than I realized about the disruption of his usual schedule the last few days. He had left me two gifts – rather large ones – on the cement floor of the barn. I used a large number of paper towels to clean up said gifts, and since I couldn’t figure out a better place to put them, I walked the quarter mile to the road and deposited them in the trash barrel by the gate. Spike ran circles around me all the way there and back, and at least one of us thought it was a great way to begin the day.
Saturday Afternoon: I used some of my time organizing our stuff which seemed to have grown and spread. It was during one of my straightening sessions that David declared that we were not house sitters – we were squatters. We stop by our own home every day to check the mail and pick up a few more things we forgot. We will probably have to rent a truck to transport all our belongings back home when our three weeks are up. Either that or our car will look like one of those covered wagons in the old western movies with everything we own stuffed inside and tied onto the outside.
Sunday Morning: In spite of a half day of freedom on Friday, a full day on Saturday, and extra bologna and doggy treats, Spike was still out of shorts. He left me another gift this morning. I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but his generosity did not put me in the proper frame of mind for church.
Sunday Night: We had a quiet Sunday afternoon. Spike and I made another trek to the trash barrel with the trash from his early-morning deposit, and Kitty and I sent some quality time together. Spike surrendered to the tether willingly and went to the barn later without a fuss. I told him before he retired that, while I appreciated the thought, I did not need any more of his gifts. Just in case he didn’t get the message, I think I’ll let David go to the barn Monday morning.