goD Spelled Backwards is doG. Therefore, timmaddoG, I’m Not a Pet Person.
Okay, I’ll admit my little Rent-a-Pet, cats- and dog-sitting deal was fun the first week. If you recall, my roomie is away for what is now seemingly foreverrrr.
Anyway, I walk SashaMoto—I renamed her—twice a day and/or take her for hikes. I brush her fur morning and night and give her t-r-e-a-t-s and feed her and poop-scoop after her while traffic rolls by. I take her for car rides while she sits quietly in the dog-blanketed back seat. Have you met SashaMoto? I ask all wherever we went. And when I come home on days I can’t take her with me, she wags her tail and her whole bottom sways. She dances in circles and makes cute moaning sounds.
And the cats, Buddy and Kitten, are both sleek and black with green eyes that match the patio set seat cushions where they sun themselves during the day. In the evenings, they come in purring, press up against my legs and mew in the cutest, almost inaudible squeaks, climbing and kneading on me while I try to read on the couch. And all this animal love seemed sort of fun.
Did I say this was fun for a week? Oh. Well, that might have been a fib.
It was fun for about four and half days.
Because then the weather got hot and having Rent-a-Pets became a bloody nuisance.
I can’t always take Sasha with me—the car is too hot to leave her in it or I’m too paranoid to leave the windows down or some destinations aren’t “dog appropriate” or there’s no place with shade to tie her up. Or I’m simply too paranoid to leave her alone (read: seemingly abandoned) in areas where there is shade.
Introduce new Rent-a-Pet feature: Guilt!
Because after spoiling Sasha with attention, affection and adoration for days, she’s become a spoiled brat. (Let this be a lesson to all my past and future boyfriend/s.)
So now, every time I put my shoes on, here she is moaning excitedly and annoyingly, with her bum wagging and her ears perked. And here I am, shoulders slumped trying to reason with a dog.
I’m sorry, Moto, my appointment will take too long, and there’s no where to safely leave you—(prancing)—and it’s too hot in the car and someone will smash my window to save you—(prancing in circles)—and you don’t understand a damn thing I’m saying, do you? No! Stay.
Prancing stops, Anna prepares to exit, dog slumps, tail drops, slinks sloooowly away, gives furtive glance over shoulder with those eyes that say, You don’t love me.
Fucking guilt trip.
A few hours later I return. She’s at the door, tail wagging, prancing, nuzzling me as soon as I enter as though saying, You do love me! Yay!
I take her straight out for a walk—where I happily collect her warm shit in minimally sheathed biodegradable plastic bag—then go out on the deck and brush her and give her a treat, You want a treat, Moto? Good girl, Moto.
She’s a passive-aggressive Prima Dona pooper. She fakes constipation unless “properly” walked.
Now there are guilt trips when I don’t walk her all the way to the beach. And, no, she doesn’t understand, No, you don’t get a treat today because you didn’t listen to me and made me get all tug-of-war with the leash on you and deal with those guilt trip eyes. And, see, there they are again.
And: I just gave you some of the wet cat food. Don’t look at me like I forgot.
And: Now what did I not do? as she looks up at me from her dog bed with those eyes as I type. Those fucking ‘You-don’t-love-me’ sad dog eyes.
Honestly, it’s like dealing with a toddler, except without the squealing (both joyous and less so) and, of course, you can’t leave your toddler at home alone with, you know, two puking cats. Though, really, it’s probably not a good idea to leave your toddler home alone, like ever. (Remind me not to have children. Like, ever.)
And the cats only vomit on the carpeted areas, not the easy-to-clean laminate floors, the delightful creatures they are. And they insist on using the litter box even though I leave the sliding door open all damn day long so they can delicately poop in neighbours’ flower gardens. Delightful creatures.
Cats are like teenagers! They are selfish bastards that ignore you and leave a mess in the room and take take take and look at you with condescending resentment. And yet when they give you a sliver of respect you want to collapse all over them in appreciation.
Fucking mind games.
What was I thinking?
And the fur! Everywhere, every day—sweeping, sneezing and wheezing, and hand washing. I’m down to my last layer of dermis, I swear.
Did I mention I’m allergic to animals?
I repeat, WTF was I thinking?
Did I mention I’ve never owned a dog, and I only had cats when I was wee and MLM (my little mom) or someone else took care of them?
And did I mention that no one mentioned that most dogs aren’t fond of fireworks?
We didn’t go to the epicentre, thank doG, but we’re only a few blocks away so that night, when the blasting started, I was startled by Moto’s skittish behaviour. Ears back and trembling, she scooted straight into my bedroom—where’s she never endeavoured to go—and managed to maneuver herself into the six inches between my bed and the furthest wall from the evil noises. And there she crouched, staring into the corner in a trance, ears back, eyes bulging, rapid panting.
I must say, I never knew dogs had whites in their eyeballs, but there was the evidence before me. I thought of the paper bag trick but doubted I could persuade her to breathe into the bag, Sasha, you’re hyperventilating, girl. So instead I lay on my bed beside her gently stroking her head and speaking soothingly in soft cooing tones.
Who is this girl?
Don’t get all She’s gone soft on us because I had to get tough when she refused to move. After the fireworks end, I try coaxing her out from behind my bed (moving my bed first), but she’s taking full liberty of her I’m-a-Scaredy-Chicken dog card and doesn’t budge (in the hopes of bunking with I’mASucker). She plops down and there she stays.
Come on, Sasha. Come, I say encouragingly.
Sasha. Come! I try the stern approach; I’m the dominant dog.
Not even fucking eye contact.
Come on… Treat?
She turns her head. Away from me.
I try to push her out. She’s a lump. You know, like a when a toddler goes all limp when they don’t want to leave the restaurant/playground/bathroom/anyfuckingwhere.
Now I’m pissed.
Oh, really. I say, hands on hips. Okay. Nodding, lips pursed. You want to play it that way? Okay.
The Vacuum Cleaner.
All I have to do is bring the vacuum into the room and out she goes to her dog bed where she has always slept everyday even when my roomie, who’s not even allergic to animals, is home!
But, by the next day, the vacuum is put away, and all fireworks and trauma are forgotten. Except the part where Ms. Moto forgets that she’s not allowed in my room.
Oh my fucking doG.
I don’t even argue with her this time. I go get The Vacuum Cleaner and park it in front of my door. It is now a permanent art sculpture at the entrance. Sigh.
It’s been over a week, and I’m exhausted and retched with guilt. How the hell do parents do it, especially when you have to take the little beasts everywhere with you?? Um, No, thank you.
So, I’m supposed to house-, cats-, dog-sit for a couple for September/October. doG has a sense of humour, alright.
What have I (re)learned?
It’s not about you, it’s me. I love animals, but… I’m just not that into you, pets. Also, it’s probably a good thing I’m not a parent.
Yes, you can fight passive-aggressive with aggressive-passive (and a vacuum cleaner.)
Cancel pet sitting gig. Check.
Find alternate animal-free accommodation for fall. A-sap. (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)
Here’s my latest elephant journal essays.