Posts Tagged ‘dog-sitting’

Misadventure in dog-sitting, 2019 edition

July 13, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
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!

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 7

July 18, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 18, 2017

I’ve already told the story of how, during the week or so I spent dog-sitting for friends in Northern Virginia, I went to play pinball on Tuesday night and headed back to the house earlier than expected because I was disappointed by the games on offer.

What I haven’t yet explained is why I didn’t go to (as I call it) Massive Marvin’s on Monday evening, when I’d originally intended to visit. There were two reasons: A self-induced fiasco of an early-afternoon walk and a mild panic following an early-evening outing.

The dog and I headed out at 10 minutes to 1 p.m. The day before, workers had cleared away a bunch of vegetation on the property where I’d encountered the possible poison ivy vine on Saturday, so I wasn’t concerned about exacerbating my rash. Nor was I worried about losing something vital — at least, not at first…

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 6

July 11, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 11, 2017

After lunch on Saturday, the dog and I began walking along the street away from the W&OD trail. Soon after leaving the O—s’ house, we were on a narrow sidewalk abutting some overgrown bushes. I noticed R— approaching a suspicious-looking tendril protruding from the greenery, but before I could do anything, the dog brushed against it. I hope that’s not poison ivy, I thought to myself.

It may or may not have been poison ivy, but something I touched was. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had two itchy red patches. One was on the inside of my left elbow; the other was on the inside of my right wrist. To be specific, the latter patch was just below the meaty part of my hand that contains a bunch of the muscles that seem to help me move my thumb and make a fist.

These areas would bubble up over the ensuing week. Despite my touching the inflamed skin minimally, the rashes opened and began weeping. The poison ivy rashes expanded around their original territory, albeit slowly. Fortunately, aside from a few very small red patches that appeared near the bottom of my rib cage around Wednesday, the rash stayed confined to those two initial areas.

Still, the urge to scratch was powerful, especially over the early part of the week. I applied some cortisone cream and took regular naps in order to distract myself. I also regularly self-medicated with samples from the O—s’ container of Breyers chocolate truffle ice cream. (When they returned, I told them I was checking their desserts for quality-control purposes.)

To be concluded continued

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 5

July 10, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 10, 2017

With this, my fifth post about the eight or so days I spent dog-sitting for the Os, I will now begin to discuss what I actually did with the dog in question.

My ward was a very cute, sweet-natured six-month-old pup named R—. Her human adults departed around 10 in the morning of Friday, June 23, after which I spent most of the day lolling around the house fiddling with my computer. I let the dog out on her run a few times as appropriate, but otherwise we engaged in minimal physical activity.

On Friday evening, I stopped entertaining the notion that I was going to shower and dress and spend any time around other people. Instead, shortly before 7:30 p.m., R— and I headed out of the house for a stroll on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The W&OD, a 45-mile-long paved former railroad line, stretches from a spot roughly two miles west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside of the District of Columbia to a point near Monk’s BBQ, a restaurant in the rural community of Purcellvile, Va. Part of the trail runs near Mr. and Mrs. O—’s home.

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 4

July 7, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 7, 2017

As I documented exhaustively in my previous post, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rerun that I watched on the evening of the last Monday in June had a subject in common with the Star Trek: The Next Generation rerun that I caught on the following evening. And, as it happened, that Next Generation episode had something in common with the DS9 show that I saw on Wednesday night.

Wednesday’s outing was titled “A Simple Investigation”; it opens with two thugs murdering a visitor to Deep Space Nine for reasons that remain unclear until late in the episode. The victim was planning to rendezvous with a woman named Arissa, whom Odo, the station’s shape-shifting security chief, has a flirtatious chat with in the bar. After Arissa is caught attempting to break into confidential Deep Space Nine computer logs and then into a closed office, she reveals to Odo that she is fleeing from a powerful crime syndicate. He resolves to help her, and the two launch an unlikely romance. (Odo had never before been intimate with a solid woman.)

The reason I mention any of this is that “A Simple Investigation’s” main guest star was Dey Young, who played one of the chief colonists in “The Masterpiece Society.”

I won’t belabor the point — it’s just that that’s the kind of coincidence that I find absolutely delightful.

This brings me to the end of my television reminiscences from my dog-sitting stint, but I’ll be back soon with a few notes about the actual sitting-on-dogs part of the dog-sitting.

(Note: I’m just kidding about that sitting-on-dogs thing.)

To be continued

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 3

July 5, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 5, 2017

Author’s note: The following post contains spoilers for the fifth-season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Dr. Bashir, I Presume,” which originally aired in February 1997. MEM

I mentioned in my previous post that, quite by chance, I picked up my viewing of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Masterpiece Society” right around the point where this YouTube clip that I’d happened to watch recently came to an end. That wasn’t the only coincidence in play, however. As it happens, this episode had some commonalities with the ST:DS9 episode that I’d seen the evening before.

As I mentioned, in Star Trek, genetic engineering has “been banned by most members of polite galactic society for centuries.” The reasons for this were established in “Space Seed,” the 1967 original series episode that introduced the villainous Khan.

In that show, Kirk and company run across a centuries-old sleeper ship containing Khan and his fellow genetically engineered Earthlings; this group of power-hungry “supermen” were exiled to deep space after winding up on the losing end of the Eugenics Wars. Khan and his associates are revived and brought on board the Enterprise, but as so often happens in these types of stories, their craving for power reasserts itself.

In Deep Space Nine’s “Dr. Bashir, I Presume,” it’s revealed that the chief medical officer of the series’ far-flung Federation outpost was subjected to secret and illegal genetic modification by his parents. The matter is referred to a Starfleet admiral, who tells the Bashirs:

Two hundred* years ago, we tried to improve the species through DNA resequencing. And what did we get for our troubles? The Eugenics Wars. For every Julian Bashir that can be created, there’s a Khan Singh waiting in the wings — a superhuman whose ambition and thirst for power have been enhanced along with his intellect. The law against genetic engineering provided a firewall against such men. And it’s my job to keep that firewall intact.

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 2

June 29, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 29, 2017

Late Tuesday afternoon, I showered, took the dog outside and set out for Sterling, Va., which is a 20 or 25-minute drive from where I’m staying. I was going to — well, let’s call it Massive Marvin’s, a dining establishment that a pair of Internet websites assured me had six pinball machines.

I haven’t yet blogged about pinball, but in brief: I started playing casually sometime last year at the instigation of my friend D—, who’d picked up a pinball jones in 2015 or so; I began developing a true pinball obsession myself about two months ago, which has evolved to the point that I played pinball at five different Triangle venues in the four days leading up to my departure for Virginia.

My phone’s navigation program led me to a nondescript shopping center in a part of Northern Virginia that looked remarkably like every other shopping center that was developed in Northern Virginia in the 1990s. It contained a supermarket, a tool store, a library, an automotive parts store, a few restaurants… The place I was looking for was right by the entrance I’d used, so I found it without too much effort.

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 1

June 28, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 28, 2017

This week, I’m dog-sitting for the Os, friends of mine who live in Northern Virginia. Their home is close to the Beltway — Interstate 495, which rings our nation’s capital — and yet lies more than an hour from the District of Columbia.

I arrived on Thursday night last week, the evening before O pére et mére were to depart for a family reunion in New England. After dinner, I asked to be shown how the dishwasher, laundry machines and TV worked.

After the entertainment system demonstration, Mr. O and I watched a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation on this cable channel, which I’d never before heard of. (The cable channel, that is, not the show.) We happened to tune a few minutes after 9 p.m., and almost instantly I exclaimed, “Is that Matt Frewer?!”

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Retrieving the retriever: Misadventures in dog-sitting

May 21, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 21, 2016

On Sunday, May 15, I called my Parental Unit to discuss my impending trip to the greater New York metropolitan area. At some time during the conversation, my parent told me, “You almost lost your sister the other day.”

“Oh dear,” I replied.

My parent launched into a story about how the P.U. had set down some food to microwave for dinner and got momentarily distracted. It was then that my beloved canine sister, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever, got hold (got mouth?) of the meal and began scarfing it down, as her breed is wont to do.

So Lucky hadn’t really gotten herself into mortal danger, as I’d initially thought upon my parent’s dire pronouncement; instead, she had annoyed her person. Midway through the anecdote, I recalled that my parent frequently used that phrase — “you nearly lost your sister” — when Lucky engaged in some irritating escapade.

I’m P.U.’s regular dog-sitter when a trip is in the offing. That was one reason why I traveled up from Durham this week.

My parent does not really enjoy flying to faraway places but does like seeing people who live there. During an anxious moment the night before my parent’s departure, P.U. turned to me and used the verb to lose in a very different context. “Matthew,” my parent told me, “when I’m gone, whatever you do, don’t lose this dog!”

I reassured my antecedent that I would not.

And yet somehow I did, despite being enclosed in a relatively small house with her.

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Two stories about two family dogs: A blog post featuring two amusing verbal exchanges

October 18, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 18, 2015

I recently had an impromptu visit with my Parental Unit, over the course of which I was told a pair of stories about the family dogs.

I know two dogs that I would call family dogs. (In a few weeks, I’ll get to meet a third such dog, who joined my sibling’s family this year.) The first of these canines was Sunshine, a sweet mutt with a lovely brindle coat whom my Parental Unit adopted as a young pup.

Sunshine the family dog, Aug. 9, 2009.

Sunshine the family dog rests near the foot of her human parent in a home office on Aug. 9, 2009.

Sunshine used to be a tiny creature; she was also a timid thing, at least during her puppyhood. She would frequently crawl beneath the couch in my parent’s family room and hang out.

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