My room is littered with toys in all shapes and sizes. Oversized buttons, deodorant spray tops, a stuffed toy bunny, a stuffed toy bear, a squeaky ring, a needle holder with an obscure shape (broken now) and various bits of other miscellaneous. A jersey of mine has been claimed as a bed and my own dog has not yet moved from her basket, too afraid to surface lest she gets recruited into another crazy game of bounce. My life is in chaos, and it’s all because of him.
I am puppy sitting for friends of mine. They bought it two months ago for a birthday, a skinny little supposed Jack Russell that could fit into the palm of my hand. I had told them when they were agonizing over whether or not to buy the puppy that I would look after it if ever they needed. Three weeks ago they pulled me closer to cash up on that promise. We have a four day weekend here at the moment and they went camping with their family. I didn’t mind, though I knew that it would throw my life into a little bit of chaos. I was given the puppy (called Cola) after work Thursday evening, the hand over reminding me of babysitting my sister’s kids when I was given the puppy’s bed, a list of things to do and a whole bag full of toys to play with. Now the size of a Doberman Pincher, the puppy was clearly only part Jack Russell. The rest was a combination of some kind of short haired miniature breed (probably Doberman Pincher) and Giraffe. It has the longest legs I’ve ever seen on a dog.
I didn’t sleep a wink the first night, though I had anticipated it because of the way we did our puppy hand over. It must’ve been very confusing for Cola to leave ‘home’ with his parents only to be stuffed into the arms of another person whom he had only seen once or twice and taken to her home in the dead of night. My own dog wasn’t impressed (though quietly accepting) and the rest of the house amused but unhelpful. I was on my own.
Friday I had to run a couple of errands for my horse so I took the puppy along to the corporation where I had to buy the rough ingredients that we use in the food mixture that we give our steeds. Cola loved driving and was surprisingly good in the car. He got attention whenever we got out, and slept for the rest of the journey, charging what seemed to be his everlasting batteries. On the farm it was another matter. Knowing that I had to tire him out, I let him run loose while I unloaded the stuff, then proceeded to take him on a long walk. It did the trick, and he was quiet for the rest of the evening.
Saturday I took him to the farm again and his fun increased tenfold. I had to go and collect my horse some distance from the stables. He wasn’t in the mood for the others and chose to graze on the furthest possible point away from us. I handed Cola to my friend Sumi and walked to go and collect him but the puppy went mad in her arms and she had to let him go. He proceeded to walk with me down to where Basjan was grazing, had a bit of a bark and my unflappable horse, and then had a nice run next to me as I rode Basjan back. Halfway back I could see that Cola was tired, so I stopped my horse, leaned over and called Cola over. When he came close, I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and picked him up onto the horse in front of me. I had both hands to hold onto him because I was riding Basjan without saddle or bridle. Cola settled in my arms and Basjan happily proceeded to walk back to the stables. It was clear that Cola was a born horse dog. When we went riding out again, (this time with tack and Sumi) I took Cola along, letting him run alongside the horse until he was tired. Then I’d pick him up and put him on the saddle with me where he’d stay until he got his breath back. When he started squirming I’d drop him again, letting him run with us until he was tired again.
It served to be an excellent puppy power extinguisher.
Cola returns home on Monday and I’ll appreciate the return of my sanity, but I have to admit that I’ll miss him. I’ve been meaning to get a puppy for ages and seeing how my own old dog warmed up to Cola, made me realize that it won’t be as bad for her as I had anticipated. I have realized once again though that it’s a big responsibility. And, it’s a learning curve. I’ve become so used to my dog already knowing everything that she needs to know, that working with a dog that doesn’t know my commands is hard. But, we’re both learning and hopefully he’s having fun while we’re at it.
I know I am.