As it usually does, the whole dogsitting bit seems to have settled into a routine after a while. I get up, feed the dogs, go to the dog park, go do some stuff, come back feed the dogs, go to the dog park, do some more stuff, go to bed, get up, feed the dogs… You get the idea. As I’ve mentioned previously, the dogs have been behaving reasonably well during the last week, and aside from the occasional digging in the dog park there haven’t really been any problems to deal with. I’m starting to get the suspicion that they probably think I’m just a bit lazy though.
Exactly how anyone who manages to sleep sixteen hours a day would consider anyone to be lazy is beyond me, but I suspect that I’m probably not doing a particularly good job of following their usual schedule here. Most of the time they’re going to be out for their morning walk sometime around 8am or so, and feeding probably takes place not long after that. Afterward, the evening walk comes around 5 or so, and dinner won’t be long after that, followed by a couple more hours of lounging around before finally heading off to bed at some ridiculous hour like 9pm or so. Given the fact that I tend not to even be up most mornings until 9 (give or take an hour or so,) don’t usually get around to the evening walk until 6 on some evenings, and go to bed at some ridiculous hour of the night (and don’t even get ’em started on what happens if I start messing around with the big shiny white box in front of the TV,) I’m pretty sure my schedule doesn’t exactly correspond to theirs. Still, they seem to patiently put up with my antics, and are always happy to be fed no matter when I actually remember to feed them (I do try to be at least somewhat consistent with that one though.) Sometimes if I’m feeling particularly unmotivated, I might even forget about the evening walk, but given the fact that they generally don’t seem to be following me around the house carrying a leash in their teeth or anything like that (although I do have to admit that woiuld be cute, in a guilt-trip inducing way) they can deal with that as well. Still, even though they don’t seem to say or do anything to indicate it, I still get the sneaking suspicion that the dogs probably think I’m lazy.
Every time I dogsit over here, there seems to be at least one brief moment where I begin to think that the idea of getting a dog for myself really wouldn’t be such a bad idea. The notion never seems to last more than a few minutes or so, and I always end up talking myself out of it in one way or another (at this point I really don’t think I’m in a position to properly take care of a dog of my own) but I somehow get the feeling that at some point I’ll probably end up with a Beagle or two of my own. For the time being, I like the current arrangement where I get to come visit these two whenever I want, and only occasionally need to take care of them full time. When people ask, I just tell them that I timeshare on a couple of Beagles. Still, the main thing that keeps me from seriously considering dogs of my own (aside from living in an apartment, which is a situation where Beagles generally don’t do well in) is the first few years. Sure you get the whole cute puppy bit, but you also get a bunch of your stuff chewed up, you get messes in places that you’d really rather not have messes show up, you get barking at all hours of the night, and all sorts of other miscellaneous headaches.
Imola and Minardi have definitely mellowed out over the years (especially the last year or so,) but it took three and a half years for them to reach that point, and there are still some areas in which I don’t quite trust them (for example, I’m still pretty sure they’d head for the proverbial hills if I ever let them out the front door of the house without a leash on, and I’m not exactly in a hurry to try the north entrance of the dog park again at this point.) There are other breeds that don’t have those tendencies (for example, my aunt has a Black Lab named Bella who is less than a year old, but you can basically leave the doors of the house completely open and she wouldn’t ever leave the yard,) but at this point, I don’t see myself ever getting any dog besides a Beagle if I do ever get one. In many ways, the personalities of Imola and Minardi are similar to my own. They love to wander around and explore, tend to get easily distracted by things and become single-mindedly transfixed by something that grabs their attention, and have been occasionally known to persist in an inadvisable course of action in spite of knowing better. On the other hand, they’re also (usually) fairly laid back, very loyal, and even though they wander on occasion, they ultimately know where they’re going and get there one way or another.
I have to be honest, taking care of Imola and Minardi (even for a few days at a time) definitely requires commitment and occasional sacrifice to meet the needs of the dogs. In particular, it seems at times like I’m spending half the day at the dog park (although the total time probably amounts to about an hour and a half). At this point, it’s also been more than two weeks since I last slept in my own bed (although half of that is my own fault for driving down to Utah,) and there’s still a couple of days more before I will be able to do so again. Still, I actually don’t mind doing this every once in a while. If nothing else, it means I get to spend time with the dogs, which is always a good thing. On the chance that I ever find myself raising a family (to be honest, sometimes i’m not so sure about that one yet) it’ll probably be good practice.