For this post to make sense I should probably mention that I’ve been afraid of big dogs since my teens. I was babysitting on a dark northern BC December night and the family Dalmatian bit me. I thought maybe I was getting over it, when a Great Dane jumped up on me and knocked me to the ground about 5 years ago. I used to say I “wasn’t a dog person” or “dogs are stupid, cats are so much smarter” and while I think those things, I was purposefully avoiding the truth: big dogs make my skin shrink a size and my navel pucker. Small dogs are annoying. Big dogs are terrifying.
We have, in our tight-knit community, a google group in which we can communicate amongst ourselves. Often the posts are things like, “Anyone need an ugly, yet still working, lamp? It’s on my porch.” or “Does anyone know a good . . .” pediatric dentist, hairdresser, sushi place, etc. But the most frequent posts are “can anyone help us with . . .” posts. One such e-mail was sent out early last week asking if anyone was willing to dog sit (and feed two bunnies) for two days. I felt no guilt at all in hitting “delete,” confident that in a community with 40 families and 32 dogs, there would be a dog person willing to take up the call.
Much later in the week, the e-mail came again, this time with a slightly desperate tone – turns out there’s only ten or so families staying here over the weekend of the 4th, and I suspect most of them are doing triple dog sitting duty. I hit “reply” and offered that “we” would walk the dog in question, and feed the bunnies. My plan was that Jonathan would walk the dog, while the children and I fed the bunnies. Plus, I reasoned, it’s an 800 sq. ft. apartment. How big could the dog be?
Turns out, she’s a Mastiff who weighs almost as much as I do, and both of my children could ride her like a pony.
I must admit that I just about said, “No. I’m sorry. She’s a freakishly large dog and she makes me want to curl up in a fetal position.” Only, she didn’t really. She didn’t bark. She didn’t jump up. She just stood there, solidly, looking around. So I got my instructions on how often to walk her, and how to attach her Gentle Leader
and what makes her skittish, and bravely told the owners to enjoy their weekend with family.
Well, I haven’t seen the bunnies. Jonathan and the children have cared for the bunnies, because I am, inexplicably, taken with this enormous dog! She is gentle and a little cowardly and there is something surprisingly delightful about her. The only down side is that she poops, so I’m learning the poop scoop tricks, which bring me back to the harsh light of reality about owning a dog of any size.
I still have no ambition to own a poodle, pug or cocker spaniel, and the thought of a Great Dane continues to threaten loss of bladder control. I am not a secret dog person who has just discovered a passion for canine care. I am, however, prepared to admit that this one dog has proven a marked exception to my personal anti-dog policy. In fact, when her people get back, I may just find a reason, once in a while, to drop by and take her for a stroll; and I am telling her humans that I would be willing to be her guardian in their stead any time.
Oh. And Jonathan and the children will feed the bunnies.