Pen & Ink Possibilities: Pet sitting isn't all it's cracked up to be

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By Kirsten Laskey

I’ve always been a daydreamer. And of course what is envisioned inside my head is far different and much easier than coping with reality. I became all too aware of this fact when I volunteered to care for my sister’s five-month-old Pug, Bailey, while she and her family traveled to Florida for a few days.
I had met Bailey on numerous occasions and just like the rest of my sister’s family, I fell in love with her. It’s hard not to — she is really adorable. She has a tiny, stocky body and quick-moving little legs. Her coat is khaki colored, but her creased and wrinkled face is black, with smudges of black on her velveteen ears. Bailey’s eyes are bright and when she wags her stubby tail, which lies in a tight curl, it is as though her whole bottom is swaying.
Because she is a puppy, Bailey fits in your lap when she takes a snooze, so I love it when I visit my sister and Bailey curls on my lap and slumbers. I love how I can pick her up and fit her in the crook of my arm.
When I learned that my sister and her family would be taking a vacation to visit our grandparents in Florida, I immediately volunteered to take Bailey into my care.
It was not just because she is sweet and cute; I offered to sit for Bailey because I figured it would be a cinch. She’s a small dog — how hard could it be?
Very hard — as it turns out.
The ride to my apartment was easy. Bailey sat obediently and politely in the seat, but when I brought her up into the apartment, she immediately went to the bathroom on the carpet. This was just the beginning of the many times I had to spray carpet cleaner on the floor.
I took Bailey for many walks and clipped the leash to her collar so she could do her business outside, but it didn’t seem to matter. Bailey preferred my apartment carpet.
This called for me to watch that puppy like a hawk. I became Bailey’s shadow. She was not allowed to leave a room unless I was there with her.
Besides the bathroom business, Bailey was not fond of being in her crate. She voiced her displeasure repeatedly and clanged the thin bars of the cage in hopes of an escape. When Bailey yelped at midnight one day, it led me to relocate her to the laundry room at my parent’s house so she could yowl to her heart’s content without disturbing any neighbors.
It wasn’t a total headache, however. Bailey looked pretty cute scampering around with chew toys that are pretty much the same size as she is and I laughed the first time she fell asleep in my lap, snoring like an old man.
It was just far different than what I had imagined. In my mind, Bailey would simply rest blissfully in my lap and calmingly reside in her crate when I went off to work.
My imagination never revealed any awful stench greeting me when I walked through the door, the first sign that Bailey couldn’t wait for me to take her outside to relieve herself, or constantly having to order her to remove her front paws from the upholstery on the living room chairs or the coffee table.
My fantasies of pet sitting did not come true, but while stroking Bailey’s soft fur or watching her attack a pink chew toy, I realized the reality was good enough.