Misadventure in dog-sitting, 2019 edition

July 13, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
July 13, 2019

I’ve spent the last nine or so days dog-sitting in (depending on your point of view) the greater, middling or lesser Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. This prompted one rather comical episode.

On our Tuesday afternoon walk, more than a day after the area was subjected to dramatic flash flooding, I— wriggled out of her harness and lay in a damp spillway on the side of the road. Five or 10 minutes later, she wriggled out of her harness again and plunked her entire body down in a muddy patch next to a sidewalk. The previous evening, mind you, I’d tightened her harness because it seemed a bit loose.

The incident with the mud patch prompted me to scold I—, because I knew this would likely make me late for the 6:30 p.m. poker game I’d been hoping to attend. Little did I know!

When we got back to the residence, I awkwardly tethered I— to a lamppost by the entrance while I put the other dog, R—, inside. Then I took I— into the backyard, found a hose and began trying to wash away the mud on her legs and underside. I— squirmed away from the water, much to my annoyance.

One issue with the place where I’m staying is that it’s almost impossible to get from the back yard to the front door without walking through a low-lying patch. Since, as mentioned, it had recently rained, there was no non-muddy way to take the dog around the house. As I’d forgotten to unlock the back door, I had to secure I— on the deck, walk around the house and go in through the front door in order to retrieve the pup.

I—, one of two dogs whom I took care of in July 2019.

I—, one of a pair of dogs whom I took care of in July 2019.

Once we were back inside, I toweled off I— but felt that she was still too begrimed to let wander around the house unsupervised. So I took the dog upstairs, led her into the bathroom and closed the door. After some unsuccessful coaxing, I lifted I— into the tub — this bathroom has one of those bathtubs with sliding glass shower doors — stripped down to a T-shirt, and started running the water.

I— continued squirming away from the water. At least in this case, as opposed to our backyard hose-down session, she had the excuse of being in a space with sound characteristics that likely struck her as unnatural.

When I— seemed mostly clean — there was a dirty spot on her breast that resisted my scrubbing — I opened the door. She scooted right out without assistance and soon lay down on the bathmat. I doffed my T-shirt and began showering.

At this point, I had yet to feed the dogs. Once I emerged from the shower and checked the time, I abandoned any hope of making the 6:30 poker game.

I later realized that the impromptu doggy bath — the first one I’ve ever administered, incidentally — had worked out for the best. By virtue of resting on the bathmat, I— managed to clean off the stubborn dirt that had clung to her breast. I haven’t spotted any mud stains on the carpeting.

This has been by far the stickiest situation I’ve faced in my current dog-sitting assignment. Less than a day remains before the dogs’ people begin returning. Let’s hope my luck holds out the rest of the way — fingers crossed!

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