By Bob Deakin
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a dog person. As a kid, I had problems with unleashed dogs, but you didn't tell anyone. They wouldn’t have cared anyway; you were supposed to get hassled by dogs back then.
Anyway, a few days after Christmas I had to watch Ana's dog (Bud) for a few days. He’s a small Yorkie mix and we’ve become buddies in recent months. He’s only two and still rambunctious. He busts it to the door whenever I knock although he does that whenever anyone comes.
He’s a cute little guy and likes to play. There are three young boys in the house so he already has playmates. Still, I make it a point to play with him when I’m there, and I think he likes me.
A Temporary Assistant Breathes New Life
So the family takes a trip and it’s on me to watch Bud. I work from home and live nearby so no problem. A few hours after they leave I stop by to check and he’s happy to see me. I give him a treat I picked up at the store. It’s Beggin, the bacon treat for dogs, and he loves it. It's just as healthy as real bacon.
So I set up my laptop and take him for occasional walks. It’s a fun day, one I wouldn’t have imagined a few years back. I carry the plastic bag to pick up after him and yes, it’s humiliating. To maintain my integrity, I lead him through low visibility areas.
The Reluctant Dog Guy
I’m ashamed for not being more friendly to dogs in years past. I’m not mean, I just avoid them. The way they stalk me at the dinner table doesn’t sit well. Of course, no one else minds, which makes it even worse. I'm the D-bag.
Way worse is the bark. I have hyper-sensitive hearing and a dog bark goes straight through my soul. I know it’s normal, yeah, I know. Lay off. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do. I get it but I don’t have to like it.
Bud barks too and it shrinks the nerves in my brain a little every time but I can’t get mad at him. When he barks he looks at me with puppy dog eyes. He senses someone or some vehicle is nearby and is warning me. Thanks Bud.
You Can Stick Your Head Out the Window, Bud!
Eventually, I need to go home but instead of leaving Bud alone I take him with me. I grab his food and we’re on our way. I let him stick his head out the window along the way, which is hilarious because every dog instinctively does it.
We arrive and he’s in heaven running around and checking everything out. I let him on the back porch and he’s so excited he pisses on the screen. From there it’s more treats. I have Pup-Peroni waiting for him.
For lunch I have a sandwich and he wants some so I share. He wants more but I have to get some work done. I give him a new bone to play with and he's into it but wants me to play - at all times. I sit back down to work but after a while it’s obvious I’m not going to get a lot done.
A Little Help With the Tree?
This happened to be the day I took down our Christmas tree. I removed the ornaments, lights and all, and Bud was all over it. I still got it done but he made it a challenge. Once set, I carry it outside, toss it over the fence and now it’s time to clean up all the pine needles.
Once I get outside I use a broom to sweep them up. Perhaps it was the sound of the straw scraping the ground. He’s all over every stroke, jumping at the broom, my feet, and the needles. Eventually I almost get it done but it takes some time.
It’s Going to Be a Sleep Over
A couple more walks and treats, and I figure there’s no way I’m bringing him back to his place and leaving him, so let’s have a sleepover. Easier said than done. My night involves lots of reading but not this night. I leave him downstairs at bedtime but he ain’t havin’ it.
Bud starts to bark so I bring him upstairs and set up a little bed next to mine. He wants to jump up and sleep on the bed but I have to draw the line. He whimpers, but after an hour calms down and - I can’t believe it - falls asleep.
He looks like a tiny black ball of fur but looks at peace. The baby’s asleep.
The next day is more of the same. I get used to Bud’s antics around the house and it’s a fun distraction from work. I take lots of walks anyway so I don’t mind bringing him. Day three comes and it’s time to bring Bud home. I’m kind of sad. We’ve bonded.
Eventually, I leave him at his place with some extra treats. It’s a new me with a new friend. I never got the dog thing but I’ve made lots of changes in my life. Maybe I get it now? Thanks Bud!