Friday, 6 April 2007

The Baby-Sitters

I put it down to our friends, Philip & Claudie, who went away for "three days" and left their hunter/retriever cross, Vicky, with us for a week. They share our doctor and are on very chatty terms with her. So are we, for that matter, so our doctor gets to hear all our dog stories and the Travails of Nala. All this chatting has evidently led our doctor to believe we are suckers because last week we got a telephone call from a strange Englishwoman who said that Dr. Martin suggested we might stand in for her dog sitter who suddenly became unavailable.

I suppose Dr. Martin is right: we are suckers. The EW and Rosie came to visit.

Rosie is not a prepossessing dog. She is a ten-year-old mess. She weighs in at 10.2 kilos (22 1/2 pounds) when I figure 16 to 18 would be more in tune with health and the state of her legs. She has also been shaved on her back and side to remove two old-age bumps. Her legs look funny. She is some kind of terrier, whose designation immediately slipped my mind, and I can't find her listed anywhere. Norfolk Terrier is as close as I can come, but I'm sure that's not what her owner said because, whatever she said, I remember that, just before the word "terrier" sounded, I was thinking, "Big dog; she'll jump the fence." But, no, she's little, she's old and she's arthritic, so how much trouble could she be? We agreed that everyone seemed to get along, so we made arrangements for Rosie stay for the week over Easter. (see comments: she's a Border Terrier. I knew that.)

When Vicky arrived for her week, Nick promptly took to his bed with whatever was going around at the time, and I got stuck trying to handle three big, active dogs. This time, it was I who got sick. Poetic justice -- but only for two days. As Rosie didn't seem all that thrilled to be here, if whining is any indication, I took her and her rug upstairs and let her stay with me. Today, when I got up, I told her she didn't have to leave the bedroom, but I was taking her rug.

After half an hour I went upstairs where she was hovering, waiting for me to return. "Come, Rosie," I called, as you do. Rosie wasn't coming. I tried several times -- authoritatively, wheedling, chirping -- and finally picked her up, carried her down the stairs and, with great difficulty, pushed her outside. (She always wants to be on the other side of whichever door is closed, so I have decided she can scratch the outside door.)

Later we piled into the car to go to the village and go walkies. Rosie, I learned, does not heel, so I let her off the lead. Nick had already told me that she's pretty nimble. Rosie kept trying to recross the river. Rosie kept running into people's gardens. Rosie went into one of our neighbour's fields (just as he arrived) and wouldn't come back. Rosie never even looked at me all the time I was screaming myself hoarse.

Eventually, the penny dropped. We shook the keys behind her back. We clapped loudly behind her back. We shouted at her behind her back. Our two, who normally couldn't care less, kept turning around from their advance position to see what was all the fuss was about.

What it is is Rosie is deaf. We have to assume Rosie's owner doesn't know this or she'd have mentioned it. But, really, she's no trouble.


  1. One of my faithful readers (I pay them) informs me that Rosie is a Border Terrier. That's it!

  2. I had the same thing happen once when I was dog sitting for friends. They had never noticed that the dog was practically deaf because they gave her so much attention and thought she was just spoiled.

  3. Really, you don't think her owners knew she was deaf? Maybe when it comes on slowly it's harder to notice.
    I agree with the Norfolk Terrier, maybe. She' a generic Small Furry Dog.

  4. Oh I meant Border Terrier. I just woke up after a 740 round trip drive in the snow, my brain hasn't caught up to the rest of me yet.