With one of my coworkers gone on vacation this last week, I spent part of the week as a dogsitter. However, the job got off to an inauspicious start.
We figured I should meet the dog before just showing up one day with no one home, so Caine took me out to meet Padmé, his Jack Russell Terrier, the day before he left.
She barked fiercely and promptly tried to bite a chunk out of my foot. Thank God I was wearing leather shoes instead of flip-flops.
After a few minutes, though, things seemed to reach a tense truce. She actually allowed me to pet her for a minute or two and even licked my hand.
So, I figured things would be good when I returned in a few days. How wrong I was.
Although she never really tried to bite me, the first couple of days of dogsitting were a struggle. I'd open the door (to poop next to the door) and she'd be barking at me. When I reached out to pet her, she'd do one of three things: 1) Snap at me; 2) Retreat; or 3) Shake as if I was about to beat her.
She at least seemed to understand, though, that I was there to take care of her and she'd have to tolerate me if she was going to get to go outside to use the restroom or stretch her legs.
The turning point, though, came when I took my wife along for one trip. In spite of her animosity toward me, Padmé seemed to take to Nicole immediately.
We took her for a walk, which she enjoyed in spite of my presence. For the first time, she even did her duty outside, a habit she continued for the rest of her time in my care.
When we weren't outside, she'd sit on the couch with Nicole, body right against her pregnant belly. Animals seem to have a sense about these things, and we wonder if the pregnancy is one of the reasons Padmé liked Nicole so well. We're pretty sure she even felt the baby kick a time or two.
As the days went on, Nicole got more attached to the dog as well. I know she's never wanted a dog, but she sure took to this one. Maybe it was just motherly instinct kicking in.
As of Friday, though, our dogsitting duties were over. I miss the dog, but don't miss multiple trips to Fillmore every day. I'm sure the neighbors don't miss me showing up at 1 a.m. after work to take the dog out either.
But I asked Nicole Friday if she was suffering from Padmé withdrawal, and she sadly said yes.
I don't need this. I like dogs, but I really don't want one.
Let's hope the baby -- who should be arriving any day now -- fills that need for now.