My husband and I enthusiastically offered to keep my sister-in- law’s dog at our house while she and her
husband attended a wedding further North.
Mollie is a Shetland Sheepdog. I think technically she’s considered a Blue Merle, but she’s white with
markings on her head and cute as hell. She looks like a cotton ball on very tiny legs. She’s also very
ladylike which is a sharp contrast to our 18-month- old Boston Terrier, Beans. They’re the Beauty and the
Beast of the K9 world with a large dose of hyperactivity thrown in. We found ourselves yelling at Beans
more than usual simply because of the contrast in styles.
This translated into pretty much every doglike behavior. When Mollie drinks, her little pink tongue juts
out quickly and quietly with not a drop left on the floor to show her efforts. Beans sticks his whole face
into the bowl, slurps loudly, and trails water all over the house. Sometimes he wipes his face on the cat’s
head, which is hilarious! Oddly enough the “Cat From Hell” doesn’t seem to care.
When we let the dogs outside to do their business, Beans took off like a bat outta hell and popped a
squat almost immediately. Mollie delicately worked her way down the stairs and was immediately
assaulted by Beans who apparently wanted to help. We started taking them out separately in deference
to Mollie’s feminine sensibilities. We also fed them separately. This was not because the dogs have poor
mat manners but because the CFH always horns in.
Beans wanted to play non-stop. He loves to share a tug toy with anything that moves and was constantly
offering Molly the other end of a rubber ring, which she declined. Beans has amazingly strong jaws and
can tug with a great deal of force, in fact I don’t even play tug with him. Mollie preferred sitting on our
laps and looking pretty, understandably so. But there was an incredibly sweet moment near the end of
the visit when Mollie went into her crate, came out with a fuzzy toy, and offered one end to Beans.
Beans gently took the other end and played “tug” on Mollie’s terms. Beans may be obnoxious but
apparently, he’s not stupid. Maybe that’s why my husband and I are so goofy in love with this dog.
With guest pets, much like children, there is always the issue of different homes, different rules. Mollie
is fed treats; which Beans is not. Mollie barks a lot more than Beans. During Mollie’s visit, Beans’ default
was, “when in doubt bark with the other dog because there must be something going on that I don’t
know about.” This created the effect of Beans hoping around, barking his fool head off, with a confused
look on his face.
Mollie’s people came back for her on Sunday night and I’m sure she was glad to see them. She’ll be back
for Thanksgiving and I’d like to think Beans and the CFH will be glad to see her. I’m not so sure about
Mollie, but I hope she enjoys the change of pace if nothing else.
Thank you for visiting.
This week’s blog is dedicated to my K-9 friend Beau Call, who is now sniffing butts in doggie heaven. He was a good and faithful servant. The pic with this post is not Beau, he was much more dignified.
This week I address the challenge of pets and houseguesting.
I would like to thank my veterinarians from Ashland Veterinary Hospital (ashlandvethospital.com) for providing me with their expertise on the subject.
First of all, don’t travel with cats unless you have to. My vets agree with me on this one. Cats are creatures of habit and generally don’t travel well. You’re always welcome to disagree with me, but you’ll have to wait until I’ve staunched the bleeding from my last trip to my sister’s with my cat!
That pretty much leaves dogs, and I must say that some of our best guests have been dogs…I’m looking at you Puddles.
Suggestions for the Guest:
- You are responsible for your dog’s behavior at all times.
“There are people who think their dogs will never do something aggressive…and they do. Even the nicest dogs will snap.” The Ashland Vets advise keeping your dog on a leash while indoors, especially if there are children or other pets in the host’s home. They say that by erring on the side of caution you are protecting your dog as well as those they come into contact with.
- Make sure your dog is up to date on all shots and medications recommended by your vet and find out about the environment where you will be staying. You may need preventative medicines that aren’t necessary in your home area.
- Don’t assume it’s OK to bring your dog with you as a houseguest without checking. This has happened to us.
- Ask permission once to bring your dog. If the host says “no” for any reason, please don’t press the point. That creates an awkward situation for the host.
- Put your dog’s kennel or ground pad in the guest room along with his toys and dishes. Feed the dog in this area and leave him there when you can’t watch him. This will prevent what the Vets call “resource guarding.” Rawhide is a common source of resource guarding.
- Pick up your dog’s poop from the host’s yard and let them know where you have deposited the load so the host isn’t surprised when they take out the trash.
- Don’t let your dog dig in the host’s yard.
- Dogs that jump on people and furniture are not cute to anyone but their owners. Another good reason to keep visiting dogs on a leash when inside.
- Exercise the dog so it is calmer indoors.
- Don’t ever blame the host (or the host’s pets) for your dog’s behavior. Remember, you have created this situation.
Suggestions for the Host:
- I repeat my number one Best Practice for Hosts, “Your ultimate responsibility is for the safety and well being of the family and household you have created.” If you have any reservations about hosting a pet, it is your job to say “no.” You are not required to provide a lengthy explanation. If you provide specific reasons they can be countered with comments such as, “Oh, my dog is hypo allergenic.”
- If you decline to host a guest’s pet, offer alternatives such as a local kennel or veterinarian that boards. “I’m sorry we can’t accommodate Ginger at our home, but I’ve heard good things about ____________.”
- Warn your guest of any issues they may have with a pet at your home. For instance, you may have an aggressive or elderly dog who does not play well with others. Or, your apartment is on the 21st floor and the elevator is slow. You get the idea.
- If you agree to host an animal try to relax and enjoy the visit. Right Puddles?