These have been the dog days of summer. Literally.
It began with a simple question.
“Mommy, when is Bailey going to come visit us?”
We’ve talked about it dozens of times, and will probably discuss it dozens more. That’s part of it.
The reality is that one of the hardest parts of leaving the United States was saying goodbye to our big, furry dog-child, Bailey. Bailey, who was once a roly-poly puppy with soft wrinkly fur and velvety ears. Bailey, the reason we bought our first house with an extra-big yard instead of living in a townhouse. Bailey, the gentle giant with a tail like a whip that whacks the back of your legs repeatedly. Bailey, Quentin’s first playmate, pretend horse, cuddle buddy, and backyard companion.
Bailey is a member of our family. However, when it came time for us to move to New Zealand, bringing her along proved to be nearly impossible. You may have heard this story of Johnny Depp’s wife getting caught smuggling their dogs into Australia this past spring. There was a big to do about it being a potential bio security issue. New Zealand operates in a similar fashion. Even if we found a company that could transport Bailey to NZ (we truly tried), and even if we paid them multiple thousands of dollars, she would have to be in a 10-day quarantine and could possibly be denied entry into NZ once she was on the island. Those are hurdles that seem a little high even for our girl who can scale nearly any fence.
My parents graciously offered to take Bailey to live with them where she gets daily walks, constant tennis balls thrown her direction, and grandparent-ly attention. She’s as happy as a clam.
But four weeks in to our time in New Zealand, this question came up.
The adult conversation that followed after bedtime went something like this:
“Just look at these dogs waiting to be adopted.” –J
“No way. We are in no place to get another dog.” –E
“He needs some company.”–J
“How about fostering a dog?” –E
“You never know what you’re getting or how long it’s going to be. Some of those dogs may have been abused.”–J
“O.k. How about dog-sitting?” –E
“How are we going to dog-sit when we don’t know anyone?” –J
Within moments we were signed up as official dog sitters through and online dog-sitting service. We figured it would be really nice to get to know a few families, build some relationships, and have a dog around periodically. It would be all of the fun and none of the commitment. In a matter of two days, we had three dogs scheduled for a total of two solid weeks back to back. And so began the dog days of summer.
First, there was Teddy, a large 8-month-old boy who joined us for Christmas. He sometimes had to be coaxed into going for a walk rather than getting a belly rub. We thoroughly enjoyed him.
Our next week-long companion was Macey, an adorable schnauzer with a sweet personality who would sneak onto Q’s bed during naptime. We sent daily pictures to her owners. At the end of our week with Macey, her owners invited us out to their farm for evening tea. It was a slice of Heaven.
However, it hasn’t all been roses. In between Teddy and Macey, Cody spent one day with us. He was small, with long silky hair and a shrill bark that made Q cry. He didn’t come to his name and tried marking his territory all over our house. When his owner came to pick him up at 7 p.m., I couldn’t have been happier.
“How was our boy?” the owner asked.
“He was just fine—“ I started.
Then, the cute little blond boy standing next to me on the front porch blurted loudly–
“Next time we’re not keeping that dog!”
I still wish there had been a trap door in the front porch for me to fall through at that moment.
Dog days of summer, indeed! 😉