At the grand age of fifty-seven, I had no idea I would be trying to find and hire a sitter.
But instead of looking for someone to look after my child, I am looking for one who will stay with the dogs while we're away for awhile.
It's become a roaring business...this pet sitting. Pet walkers, pet sitters, pet runners...the list goes on and on, with merchants taking hold of the idea that pets can substitute for children and running with it, by opening huge centres for doggies daycare, pet foods and accoutrements.
And I am grateful for it...the people who do this work are angels, in my eyes, and quite possibly, in my dogs' eyes, as well.
There are kennels and then there are kennels. The boxed in dog, the one who is not allowed to socialize, the one who is not exercised...this dog is not a happy dog, no matter what kennel owners say to the owner who might call to see how their pet is faring.
And the dog carries memories...certain actions will trigger the dog's recollection of a time when he was left behind at a less than perfect kennel. Certainly not a spa, as I once thought of them.
I know, because this is what happened to Lucky.
He was thin as a rail, when he returned to us, after a month in an unknown, to us, kennel. Always a sensitive dog, his sensitivity had now become outright fear. He now trembled at the slightest thing. We had worked with him, over the years, calming him and teaching him that the World was not such a scary place. We succeeded, for the most part, notwithstanding Thunder and fireworks.
But, at the kennel, he tried to chew his way out. He chewed through a sheet of plywood. Lucky has never chewed anything, not even a juicy bone, for long. I feel he must have been beyond desperation.
It is amazing what lack of attention and exercise will do to a once perfectly mannered dog.
He is returning to us, our Lucky. The fearful look is leaving his eyes. Although he is not completely relaxed or peaceful for long these days, he is getting better...he is slowly forgetting. And opening his big heart to us once more.
So. I hired a pet sitter, and a very organized, loving lady she is. I could not bear the thought of Lucky, even with Nate along this time, being encased in a small enclosure, reminding him of a time which seemingly had no end...
Our sitter will sleep here, will exercise and feed...doing all the things a responsible dog owner does for their pets. She met both dogs yesterday; the instant they met her, they were in love. She gives massages, she knows all the spots a dog might have that needs a scratch, she knows about belly rubs.
Nate let me know, later, that I had done a good thing...and praise from old Natey is rare indeed.
Both dogs, you see, know we are planning a trip. They can tell. Especially after receiving a bath. And we talk about it between ourselves, talking about Graydon and Bree, the route to the Coast, the time in Vancouver. We bring out the suitcases. They read my mind...they see the pictures of the stores I plan to shop in, in their own minds.
And nowhere, in the visualizations they are receiving from me, are two dogs, a red and a black, included.
As the sitter and I took them out, both dogs behaved impeccably. Both marched down to the lower bench, side by side, did their business, sniffed a bit...but the instant I called, they marched back up to me, again side by side. As if they were putting on a show.
I've certainly never seen them do that.
I had told the sitter they were terrors, chasing any and all movement in the bush. About not coming to me, when they were called. A host of complaints, but those dogs were on to me. They behaved as if they were children who, mischievous at home, stay at a friend's place and become models for childhood.
I imagine she will have no difficulty with these two, since, just by her presence, just by the energy she was giving them, they behaved like they were trained to the hilt.
It's one of the few times I have seen a dog whisperer at work. And it is a wondrous thing.
After she left, Nate put his big head on my knee, and with eloquent eyes, told me this was the right thing to do, this time.
And I agreed. With gratefulness in my heart to the Powers-That-Be, those guides and guardians who look out for me and mine, and from whom I had asked for aid, I will look forward to the freedom this sitter gives us.
Isn't it amazing. When I remember to ask for help, the solution is found. And I've found I don't have to do much more than remember to ask, to pray for an answer...and then leave it in Spirit's hands, not worrying or thinking about it further.
Having total faith the problem will be solved. That's the ticket.
So, leaving the dogs in the best hands possible, I will enjoy all those visualizations I've had of greeting my family and shopping in choice stores.
All thanks to a sitter...and Spirit.