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Could this little guy last six days with Lauren?

I’ve agreed to watch a friend’s dog while she’s out of town for six days. But here’s the glitch: I’m not all that fond of dogs. A self-proclaimed cat person, I’ve had cats (not to mention several parakeets and a handful of fish) all my life. I like low-maintenance pets. Quiet pets. Pets that don’t eat things they shouldn’t. I’ll admit it.

The whole cat person/dog person dichotomy aside, I love animals. My eight-year-old self once rescued a stray dog by feeding it hot dogs out my bedroom window. Black Sabbath, as we named her, eventually became Sadie, my grandma’s pet for nearly ten years. (Obviously, Grandma wasn’t a big Ozzy fan.)

I’ve never taken care of a dog alone before, but I figured hey, I’m doing such a bang-up job helping with my significant other’s kid, dog sitting oughta be a walk in the proverbial park. Well, I thought this until I was informed that little Koozie chews everything she sees and likes to sleep in the bed. My late cat Prada (god rest her adorable little soul) wasn’t permitted to sleep in my bed so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be documenting my days with Koozie here, so check back to see if she’s alive how I’m doing.

UPDATE: Koozie’s owner informed me last night that our initial agreement was that I’d dog-sit until Sunday. My “three-day challenge” has been upped to six. Doggie prep begins tonight. Stay tuned.

Day One

Koozie is here; she stares at us a lot. We’re sitting on the couch watching Idol and Koozie won’t stop staring. It’s kind of awkward.

Koozie’s owner gave us the run down on when she eats, poops, sleeps, plays. She gets food at night, a walk in the morning and after work, and apparently enjoys when you hide her bed. It’s a little hide-and-seek sort of game.

Jason has started watching Undercover Boss (oh lord) so I’ve decided it’s time to take Koozie for a walk. After a bottle of wine, it’s challenging to leash up the dog for a walk in 30-degree weather.  But nonetheless, we persevere.

Koozie on the couch

"I'm on the couch. Victory is mine."

Things that I’ve learned: that the big blue plastic handle on Koozie’s leash contains a mechanism that prevents her from going into the street while pooping, and it’s impossible to look attractive while taking your (or someone’s) dog for a walk at 12 a.m. I’ve got on pajama pants and a parka. I don’t wear pajama pants in public. Jason doesn’t fare any better.

As I type this, Koozie is on the couch next to me. We set out to not let her on the furniture. Dog has won this battle. We’ll see what tomorrow holds. I’m still not sure how this getting-up-in-the-morning-and-walking-her thing is going to happen.

Day Two

Jason left early this morning for Seattle (hate him) so I’m officially alone with the dog. Surprisingly, Koozie slept all night without barking/eating any of our possessions, although around 6:45 a.m., I was cursing our hardwood floors because all I could hear were her nails clicking every time she moved.

Even with a cheap wine headache, I managed to drag myself out of bed to take Koozie on her morning walk. She’s jumping around, clearly excited; I tell her to calm down and that it’s too early to be so chipper. Yes, I’ve donned the same outfit as the previous night: pajama pants and a parka. The shame of looking terrible in public is starting to wear off. I’m now nodding at other pajama pant-clad dog owners as if in mutual understanding.

We’re doing a couple laps around the apartment buildings. I politely ask her to move it along. She doesn’t. Finally, success. Back in the apartment, Koozie watches (seriously, what’s with the staring?) as I make coffee. I explain the process to her and she seems intrigued.

I feel bad shutting her up in the bathroom, so I give her the bigger bathroom — the one with the separate jacuzzi tub. (Side note: We’re also trying to rent out our apartment so I may drop in a few details in case you’re interested. Did you catch the hardwood floors mention? Yeah, they’re nice.)

toilet paper

Please do not eat.

I’ve removed all objects that may tempt a chewing fit; I’ve heard that dogs enjoy eating toilet paper so that’s gone, as are any of my makeup products. I can’t risk her ruining anything from Sephora. That shit’s expensive. Hopefully, when I return this evening, everything will be as I left it. Hopefully.

Day Two Continued

I walked in the door and it was quiet — a little too quiet.  For the most part the bathroom was just how I left it, with the exception of one casualty: the bath mat. Of course! The bath mat. Why didn’t I think she’d chew on that? But cest la vie, we were planning on getting rid of it anyhow.

After Koozie’s evening walk where she met a little boy who appropriately explained that he liked cats better (be still, my heart), we chased each other around the couch a few times and she walked around on my yoga mat. Not sure what it is about that purple mat, but just like Jason’s son, Koozie was drawn to it. While I was jumping in the air like a fool to my Jillian Michael’s workout DVD, the Kooze was sprawled on the other side chewing on her bone.

yoga mat

My yoga mat now smells like dog.

It’s been nice having her run around like a crazy; makes me miss my Prada.

Day Three

Apparently all of my apartment-for-rent mentions paid off because we had people come view it this morning! I told Koozie to be on her best behavior, which of course, she wasn’t. The couple arrived around 9 a.m. and Koozie wouldn’t stop barking. I apologized profusely. They must have been dog people because they asked what kind she was. My answer? A white dog. (I have no idea.)

Success! They want the apartment and want to keep the paint colors. Koozie and I go for a spirited walk — I learned that there’s a small button on the leash handle that keeps the leash taut so I don’t have to hold it down the whole time. Such advances in the dog world.

She’s back in the bathroom. I think I forgot to put up the toilet paper. Let’s hope she doesn’t find it.

Day Four

Jason comes home today! To show her happiness, Koozie barked and whined all morning. She appears to only be satisfied and quiet when I’m in the same room with her.

Last night Koozie and I watched basketball (how about them Cavs?) and she really enjoyed getting in my way while I worked out. Example: as I did a sit up, her face was in mine; while doing chest flys, she dropped her bone on my head. Fun.

Other than the bath mat, nothing has been chewed yet, which I consider a victory. She stares at me while I eat. I hate that. I don’t like eating in front of people dogs. Koozie

Right now, she’s scratching on the glass door, which I assume means she wants to go outside. Either that or she’s expressing her disdain for the vertical blinds, in which case, I don’t blame her. The plus side to taking her outside midday is that I’m not dressed as an escaped mental patient. We head out into the drizzle and cold. I’m asking myself why I offered to dog-sit during the worst winter on Dallas record. Somewhere on a mountaintop in Denver, Koozie’s owner is laughing.

Dog definitely needed to go outside. Jesus. I’m very careful to not pick up the poo while someone could be watching. It’s a pride thing. Like back in middle school when my yard would get TP’d, I’d wait behind the bushes until cars passed to clean it up. I lived on a busy street so it took awhile. Once there were forks in the yard. That sucked. But you don’t want the perpetrator driving by and seeing you clean it up. Don’t give them the satisfaction. It’s the same with poo.

Koozie is calm now.

Day Five and Six

I rescued Jason’s son Riley’s stuffed monkey from Koozie’s jaws. She’s got a thing for sneaking into rooms where she’s not supposed to be. Case in point: yesterday there was a two-hour time period where she disappeared. (I hardly noticed.) Jason found her curled up in our bed; not just on the bed, but really in it. Under the covers. Head on the pillow. We need to change the sheets.

For the last two days of Koozie’s stay, she’s had the pleasure of Riley’s company. This of course means she’s endured lots of tight, smothering hugs, being chased around the living room and poked and prodded by his curious fingers. Right now, she’s got the Metro section of the Dallas Morning News on her head. I’d prefer the New York Times but compromise is key for successful relationships.

Riley enjoys taking Koozie on walks. I have to secretly hold part of the leash because if he sees something more interesting (dried dog poo was a big distraction), he’ll let go completely. I tried to explain how letting go of her leash is a bad thing. He started pouting and threw himself in the grass. I then asked myself how I got to be surrounded by two things I really don’t like that much: dogs and children. Life takes some pretty interesting turns.

More than likely Koozie cannot breath here.

After a rousing discussion on what acorns were (the oak nut, not the non-governmental organization, ACORN. That’s a story for a different day.), Riley was back in good spirits. We returned home, this time with an addition to our party of three: a rock that Riley asked me to keep in my pocket. Apparently that rock is also going to the new apartment because he wrapped it in newspaper and placed it the box labeled “kitchen.”

I have no clue when Koozie’s owner plans to pick up her precious pooch. (Soon, I hope.) Until then, we’ve planned a family walk in between episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Chuggington, two of the most irritating children’s shows on the planet. When we go out, I’m guessing I’ll get asked a dozen more times what kind of dog Koozie is. If there’s one thing I can take away from this experience, it’s to be aware of said dog’s breed. A Paris Hiltony blond looked horrified when I said “I think she’s a black lab.” She must not get humor.

My life has not been changed, as some people suggested. I do not magically want a dog of my very own. I really don’t know how dog owners do it day in and day out. Caring for a dog is exhausting. I suppose I draw the line when I have to turn down a happy hour invitation to go home and walk the dog. Me. Turn down a happy hour. Not cool.

One thing I have realized is that I miss having an adorable small creature in my home. Prada may have been a cat, but she always greeted me at the door when I came home from work. And she was definitely friendly to everyone she met. The Kooze would have been so lucky to have shared six days with her. While packing, I found a picture of her sprawled out over a pair of my jeans, sleeping. I showed it to Riley. He said, “Prada is in heaven. We better go get her.” I’m happy that he remembers her.

  1. Brandie Hammontree on Monday 22, 2010

    I’ve had the “pleasure” of having Koozie at my house back when I lived in Wichita… wanna know what “moves” Koozie along? A bigger dog. My dog Lazlo (just shy of 65lbs.) loved pushing Koozie off the patio, into the sliding glass door, down the hall, you name it. The chewing thing, well Koozie did manage to find one of my bras. Some sort of jealousy thing I suppose. Perhaps that’s what the staring may be about….. jealousy.

  2. Angela Hall on Monday 22, 2010

    This is too cute!!

  3. Jason on Monday 22, 2010

    You never said anything about feeding her! Don’t forget that step. I think Matt said to feed her an 1/8 cup of food every 3rd day.

  4. Lauren on Monday 22, 2010

    Oh yeah, I forgot that part. They did say that she needed to lose some weight.

  5. Rachel on Monday 22, 2010

    Lauren, you crack me up. Let me know when you are game for watching Roxie – my 70 pound chocolate lab. =) (JK)

  6. Angela on Monday 22, 2010

    Wow, Lauren. I read this to Delilah and she cannot wait to head to Texas for some Lauren-Jason time! She is super-excited. We were thinking maybe during our next three-month out-of-the-country venture, too. None of this six-day crap. Miss you!