The phone calls from our daughter, Rachel, had dire news about one of their dogs. Zoe had stopped eating and drinking. Tests said it was cancer. The family was saying good bye.
The emergency veterinary care came just before their family was scheduled for a vacation. The question for us was could we take their other dog for the week. Jadie was really missing her buddy, and they didn't want to leave her in a kennel.
Of course we'd take Jadie. Sunny would enjoy dog company for a change. On their way to Upper Michigan, they would drop off their pet and have lunch.
Jadie is a puggle, meaning she's a pug and beagle cross — cute, a lot smaller than Sunny and with a look that says she is forever ticked off.
Jadie came with food, cheese in a can and allergy pills. 'Just put a glob of cheese on your finger, add the pill and Jadie will take it.' Rachel had other instructions, too. 'Jadie doesn't eat table scraps. Also, keep her away from cat food. I don't want her throwing up for you.'
After lunch, their family piled in their van and headed north. Jadie and Sunny were still getting to know each other, and the cats were hiding upstairs.
I wondered what was going to happen when one of our housecats decided it was safe to come down. Soon, Othello peaked around the corner. Jadie saw him. Barking and hissing ensued. The cat raced out of the room and up the stairs. I grabbed hold of Jadie's collar and shut the doors to the stairs — no wondering any more.
We have a dog pen for Sunny. Usually we take him for a walk, so he doesn't use the pen much. I didn't think I could handle both dogs at the same time, so Bob took Sunny on his leash and I took Jadie on hers.
The little puggle pulled harder than Sunny. She pulled hard enough to choke and cough herself; that was a common occurrence when she walked with Zoe. Jadie was always trying to keep up with her long-legged friend.
I stopped walking and made Jadie stop, too. Then I looked her in her eyes and told her not to pull. Of course, she stopped immediately. Well, not exactly, but the next time she pulled less, and the next day she didn't pull at all — unless she saw a barn cat and got all excited.
We were getting along fine, except for the house cats. They were still upstairs. If Jadie was going to become a forever pet, we would have had to teach her and the cats to tolerate each other. Since she was only visiting, I didn't see the point.
I brought out two toddler gates I use to keep Sunny away from cat food. I put one on top of the other in the stair doorway to keep the animals apart. This allowed the air to circulate in the house on hot days. It was a perfect solution, well almost.
Even though the cats had food, water and litter boxes upstairs, they continued to look for avenues of escape. One day, Othello leaped over the double fence to freedom, only to run right into Jadie.
Jadie seemed to say, 'Oh joy, the race is on.'
Othello tried to leap back over the gate/fence. This time he took everything down with a BANG and high-tailed it back to our bedroom. After that, Othello preferred his perch at the top of the stairs — no more mayhem.
Just before Rachel and her family returned for Jadie, Bob, I, and the dogs went for a short walk. As we approached the road, Jadie's leash came off. Oh my goodness! I was afraid of the dog running off and getting run over. They didn't need another dead dog.
Luckily Jadie didn't dash away, and her vacation here ended nicely. She was very happy to see her family again.
Puppy-sitting wasn't so bad, except for our cats. It took them 24 hours to return to normal. Don't anyone tell them that Jadie might return for another week. It's a secret.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.SusanManzke.net