January 27, 2013

Culinary Dog Caresouschefs

You know how it is…early morning, the light just glimmering through the windows, the warm of the bed, the slow breath of rest? It was at that moment this morning when I realized I was surrounded by food. For most dogs, this would be a dream of delight — surrounded by tasty tidbits, morsels of the morning — but as you know by now, I am not your typical dog. I am finicky at times and very particular about the food I eat and who provides that food to me. For instance, I am not fond of the commercial brand Milk Bones. I find them too big and they are hard for my damaged jaw to crunch. I am also not fond of choplickingreceiving treats from people I do not like…certain vets for instance (though not Dr. Geisler…love her and the treats she provides)…or strange men in hats. No treats from them, thank you very much.

But there’s another reason why being surrounded by food this morning wasn’t a dream come true. You see, the food wasn’t actually food. Nope, the food was dogs (were dogs?…my grammar gets twisted at this point). Anyway, snoring loudly under the covers next to Momma Ann was Porcini (like the onthedockmushroom) — the 2 year old French Bulldog who as his name implies is both French and bullish. It took us a bit to accept each other, but now, as you can tell, we’re both sleeping on the same bed and he gets the primo-spot — under the covers next to Ann.

Don’t worry, he didn’t take that spot. I gave it to him…just to be clear.

And next to Porcini, snoring not as loudly but still snoring is Porter named after the steak. Porter (a Frenchie/Boston Terrier mix) and I never had a tussle. He’s easy going and understands that this is my house and my moms and yes, even my bed so he has been respectful and gracious and so we get along just fine.tyson

onthedock2Downstairs, Gretchen is asleep on the guest bed and snoring as loudly as the two the bulldogs is Taro, an elderly yellow lab named, as you can see after the root because his mother is a chef. Taro is sweeter than all of us and he moves his crippled body around our house simply wanting to be close to any human who will have him. Porcini wants to eat Taro and Porter, in defense of his brother makes a similar though not as meaningful noise whenever Taro hobbles near them.

And then there’s me — named, sort of, after a Reuben Sandwich only my moms wanted an easier spelling and so named me Rubin (more Jewish than sandwich)…not that any of us is Jewish, but in terms of spelling, one was easier to remember than the other.

Having this thought — the thought that I am surrounded by food — made me both chuckle and shiver. First, it was kind of funny that we were a house filled with dogs named after food, but I shivered because being a dog dog sitter has been an interesting transition for me. Despite my winning personality on this blog, I sometimes struggle with tongueaccepting others…especially dog others. Going for a walk with new visitors is a good way for me to get to know them and if they leave me alone, I’m pretty accepting.

But for some reasons, new dogs like to smell me and for some reason that is not a gene I was programmed with. Having my privates sniffed by a foreign dog makes me very very nervous and I tend to be a bit persnickety about it all. Take Porcini for instance. That’s all he wanted to do was stick his smooshed face in my behind and give a grunty snorty sniff. Porter, on the other hand, just sniffed me once and walked away. I liked that — Hello and Ignore — two of my favorite words.

Taro, even though he struggles with getting around, got around our house just fine chasing after my bottom.closeup


So this morning, I laid in bed listening to the sound of the food snoring and I thought, “I better get over all of this because I think this is going to be my life for awhile.”

Culinary Dog Care. That’s what I’d call our business if I had a say in it, but at this point, I don’t. I don’t appear to have too much of a say in any of it. In fact, I try to figure out how I got this job. Looking back I realize Gretchen sort of tricked me. First we walked my best friend Monty and that was a blast…hanging out with your best friend and getting paid for it. Then we took on other clients and they were 3amigosfun too. Some have gone — moved away or worse — but some have stayed and new ones have arrived.

Tyson was new a few years back. I walked with his sister, Rosie, first and then with Tyson and because I liked Rosie so much, it was easy to like Tyson. Then we added Woobie, who I’d met out on a trail walk and I loved her immediately. She let me chase her through the woods and there’s nothing I like more than racing through the woods so adding Woobie to the schedule wasn’t a burden.mansion

And then Woobie’s family had to go away and Woobie stayed with us and that’s when Gretchen got the brilliant idea to do dog sitting as a living. I was game at first, I must admit because if my friends like Woobie and Monty and even Tyson were going to hang out with me, it sounded like great fun.

But all the sudden there were dogs coming over that I didn’t really know. Sure, Gretchen does a good job introducing us all by taking us on a walk and letting us hang out a bit, but hanging out and walking is very different than sharing a living space for more than 24 hours. To accommodate my doubts, we benchedpurchased lots of gates and so we block off sections of the house to make certain everyone gets along before we hang out in the house together. Still, it’s weird to have dogs that I don’t know very well share my toys, my bed, and my space.

And if things get really busy, some dogs that don’t really know each other have to share space together. Like Porter and Porcini shared our house with Taro who they didn’t really know and who, it turns out, Porcini didn’t really like. Porter gets along with everyone, but Porcini thinks certain dogs are only goodtaro for snapping at so we had to keep Porcini and Taro separate. Let’s just say, with four dogs in the house, there were a lot of gates and the humans were doing a lot of lifting their legs over the gates.

If that weren’t enough, Momma Ann had a study date with a classmate and invited her into our home…with her dog, Bodhi. Not that I didn’t like Bodhi…I actually really liked Bodhi…but I was a bit overwhelmed at this point and considering another career choice.

bodhiOnly this hasn’t really been my choice now has it?

Gretchen tells me that 1) I’ve been a really good boy with all the commotion around here and 2) that there are worse jobs I could have like not having a job at all. I suppose she’s right. Well, she’s certainly right that I’ve been a good boy though I don’t think I’ve been a “really” good boy…sometimes I got a little snarky. But who can blame me?

So as I type this Sunday evening, I realize I’m a tired boy and after reviewing the week — what with pet sitting AND dog walking — I know why I’m so tired. I’m looking forward to the coming week because I’m the only dog who will be in the house. I think I’ll do my best to enjoy it! You know, do things like hog the bed and pull out all my toys from the toy box and make a mess that’s all my own.

Until Monday,



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