Posts Tagged ‘family dogs’

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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Chronicle of a phantom gas leak

June 14, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 14, 2017

I was sitting in my parent’s family room with my Parental Unit and the dog Friday night when the three of us heard a chirp!

This, of course, is one of the minor nuisances of modern life: A gadget with (usually) a dying battery starts emitting plaintive noises, which will continue until either the battery (usually) is replaced or the power supply fails altogether.

When the chirp! repeated itself, I heaved a sigh and decided to go looking for the ailing device. I stood in the front hallway near the stairwell, but the detector there didn’t seem to be the source of the chirping. I went into the kitchen and held the stand-alone carbon monoxide detector to my ear, but that didn’t seem to be the origin of the noise either. I moved from spot to spot on the first floor, ears pricked, and I even went to the top of the staircase on the second floor. But the chirps kept coming, and I still couldn’t ascertain the source.

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Soap thief! A dog story

January 11, 2017

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

The other day, over the phone, dearest Parental Unit told me this story about Lucky the dog.

On a recent Wednesday morning (that is, last Wednesday morning), my parent was scheduled to get a blood test but was considering skipping it because P.U. had been feeling poorly for several days.

Still, in an effort to make the appointment, my parent soldiered onward and got showered. Alas, P.U. emerged from the shower to find that Lucky had gotten herself into some trouble.

My parent had evidently left the door to the walk-in closet slightly ajar, enabling Lucky to get her ever-hungering jaws on a brand-new bar of soap.

P.U. noticed the empty box in the bedroom and immediately (and understandably) assumed the worst — that the Labrador retriever had consumed an entire bar of soap.

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The blogger, the dogger and the peanut-butter jar: An Everyday Mystery™ brought to you by MEMwrites.wordpress.com

June 7, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 7, 2016

Sometimes, we stumble across an Everyday Mystery™ but we never learn what really happened and/or why. This isn’t a whodunit kind of thing — it’s something more pedestrian, like What happened to that cat that kept meowing in the middle of the night? or Why was that driver signaling for a right turn as he made a left turn from a dedicated left-turn lane? or Was that person waving at me, or at someone behind me? or Did that person see me trip and flail my hands, or did she think I was waving at her? (A secondary mystery in the case of that last, um, case, would be And which possibility is more embarrassing for me?)

Sometimes, however, we stumble across an Everyday Mystery™ and we do learn what happened and/or why. Such was the case about two weeks ago while I was dog-sitting my adorable sister, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever.

Lucky’s (and my) Parental Unit has a long-standing practice when the dog is being left at home: P.U. gives the dog a treat. My late sister, Sunshine the all-American dog, got an edible thingamabob that was shaped like, and probably marketed as, a stick, so we took to calling this parting gift (as it were) a see-you-later stick.

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More walking notes (in which I get in some gloating while I still can)

May 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 24, 2016

As regular readers know, I’ve had a few informal walking competitions this year with my Parental Unit and my niece. But, using the theory that life is a competition, there has been an ongoing contest amongst us ever since my niece acquired her Fitbit. And currently, I’m pleased to announce, I am in first place.

The reason for this is simple, and wholly unsurprising: It turns out that caring for an energetic dog entails a whole bunch of walking.

As noted in my previous post, my parent recently flew west to visit my niece and her family, and I am dog-sitting. On Wednesday, the day of P.U.’s departure, when I didn’t handle the morning walk, I got in 11,080 steps. The following day my motion tracker counted 12,839 steps. I topped 15,000 on each of the following two days before falling just shy of that mark on both Sunday and Monday.

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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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The neglected glass of water, the kitchen table and the confused doggie

January 26, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 26, 2016

I visited Ye Olde Parental Home, a.k.a. YOPH, in late December and early January. In a phone conversation with my Parental Unit yesterday, I was told an anecdote which I found amusing, and which relates to that visit, and which I herein communicate to you, the valued reader of the MEMwrites blog.

When I departed the house this month, I apparently left a glass of water sitting on what I will call the kitchen table. This piece of furniture is rarely used when company is absent from YOPH, and so my parent left the glass there for two weeks or so.

However, the other day, my parent was using the table to (apparently) do some paperwork. At one point, the Parental Unit made a sweeping motion with an arm, inadvertently knocking over the glass and getting water everywhere. My parent, surprised and angered, shouted out my name: Matthew!

The family dog, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever, heard this and perked up. Was Matthew here? When did he arrive? Where is he? She started searching the house for one of her favorite people. He’s not on the first floor. I’ll check his bedroom. He’s not there either. Where is he? Where’s Matthew?

I wasn’t there, of course, but it was adorable that she thought so. Confused dogs can be so cute!

A short anecdote about walking the dog

January 8, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 8, 2016

One afternoon late in December 2015, my parental unit, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever and I were strolling around my parent’s neighborhood.

My parent has hired a trainer to conduct regular sessions with Lucky. This is by necessity: Lucky is an energetic eight-year-old who weighs more than 60 pounds and is by far the largest canine my parent has ever had custody of. In turn, my parent has trained me how to work with the dog.

Usually when I walk with Lucky, I’ll hold the end of her leash with my right hand and some treats in my left hand. In cold weather, my right hand is typically gloved. My left hand is not, because I don’t particularly like to get the nice Italian leather gloves that Lady X bought for me on one of her international trips covered with dog slobber, no matter how much I love the dog. (Also, I find it difficult to prevent Lucky from taking more than one treat from my begloved fingers.) Often, I’ll grip a portion of the leash loosely with my left hand.

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