the pet sitting book

About a year ago, I made a pet sitting book for Maddie.  Originally it was for two girls who worked at our vet.  They were going to be staying in our home and we wanted to make sure we had all the commands and rules and what Maddie can and cannot eat written down.

My mom has taken to Maddie like white on rice.  Maddie feels the same way.  To Maddie, Mom is “Mimi” and we go to “Mimi’s House.”  To Mom, Maddie is her “grand-puppy.”

Before I delve into anything more, you all must understand my mom.  A self-proclaimed Flower Child (aka hippie for those born after the 60s) whose motto is to ‘go with the flow.’  If you don’t know her, you are never she if she’s being sarcastic or serious.  Oh, and she loves a good debate.

Because of this undying affection the two share, Maddie went to stay at Mimi’s House while we went on our trip to Utah and along with numerous toys and treats, I brought the pet sitter book.   I updated it to make sure all of my points were visible and clear.  I wouldn’t say it was harsh…my mom would say it was written by a paranoid dog parent…but I wasn’t sure how my two younger brothers (Troy, 13 and Mason, 16) would handle a dog. 

I think I had “NO BONES OF ANY KIND, EVER”  written down and highlighted a few times.  Also amongst the list of to do’s was,  “Maddie must SIT before going outside, receiving food and getting a treat” and “NO TUG-OF-WAR” and “no human food other than peanut butter, plain yogurt and carrots.”

Last night when we went over to my mom’s to pick Maddie up, Troy was first to see us and instead of “hello,” we got, “I think we un-disciplined her.”  In my head all I can picture is Maddie, covered in mud, barking at everyone and running amok over every piece of furniture within leaping distance. 

We make our way upstairs to the kitchen, my mind preparing for the worst, where she’s eating quietly.  No major infractions.  I see my mom sitting at the table with a few family friends and the first thing she says to me is, “We had A LOT of fun with that book.”  She threw a wedding shower for a friend’s daughter that afternoon and they all apparently had a go with the pet sitting book – finding and blurting out what they perceived was the most ridiculous.  The only response I could muster was, “She wouldn’t be such a good dog without all those rules.”

I think my comment went unheard and she continued on about how she remembered to have Maddie ‘sit’ before going outside the first few times…and then she’d have her go outside without sitting…remembering the command after Maddie bounded out the door and then chased after her, hands waving in the air, yelling, “We forgot to sit!  We forgot to sit! We have to sit! Come back!  Start over!”

Eventually she just let her out.  No sitting required.

Maddie, I think, prefers the free-spirit attitude where it is not so quiet, where she doesn’t have to sit all the time, where tigger can go outside with her and she can play and get muddy all she wants. 

On the way home, Maddie sat in the backseat, pouting.  We could hear an audible “humpf” coming out of her mouth every few minutes.  When I’d turn around to check on her, she’d be staring off into the distance.  I swear she was running through the week of freedom, memories of her bounding through the backyard on a perfect sunny day, complete with birds chirping, a water sprinkler running and an unending silver platter of peanut butter.

When we’d make eye contact that faraway look disappeared, the realization of where we were going coming in like an ominous black cloud.

Maddie would look away, dejected.  Her happy thoughts of the past week replaced with, “Shit. Back to Alcatraz.”


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