At 6:30 am on New Year’s Day, I left my cat sitting job after partying the night away with George and headed over to my most frequent clients that keep me the busiest with their 2 bullmastiff, little terrier and cat.
I am deeply in love with each of these animals and have known the two mastiffs since they came into the family as puppies. We all enjoy our time together very, very much. I am constantly accused of spoiling them and I confess it’s true. The joy of being the dog sitter, not the dog owner. The animals keep me busy but there is typically a routine to the day so I can get a few things done during for myself during nap times and in the evening.
Unfortunately, Izzy tore the ACL in both her legs and the surgery was scheduled for 2 days before I would start sitting during the family’s annual first-week in January getaway. They totally gave me an out, but I had no issue taking this on for any one of my “babies.” My experiences with my own dog, Riggs, after surgeries had been him mostly sleeping and slow walks just so he could relieve himself. I thought it would be easier in a way since Izzy had to be somewhat confined and separated from her playmate and I wouldn’t have to try and keep 3 dogs happy with just my two hands as they simultaneously clamored for attention. Not so much. Not at all.
The three dogs were not in sync in their needs and wants, and each day with Izzy’s recovery was a new obstacle to be overcome, making my first 5 days of January a complete blur and taking me off-the-grid except for Izzy’s mom and a few others connected with her well-being. One of the issues Izzy and I faced were having to shove pills down her throat and blow into her nose to get her to swallow. The nose part was new to me. Once in her, the meds gave her digestive issues starting 3:30 one morning that continued throughout the day, forcing me to go through about 8 rolls of paper towels to keep things tidy. The next day, while attempting to go for a walk, she popped a stitch and watery blood started running down her leg. I got her into a bathroom but before I could close her in the shower she walked around leaving what literally (in the literal sense) looked like a crime scene.
I called an emergency-contact relative at 6am to help me bandage the area so the blood would stop and get her in my car (she’s over 100 lbs) and take her to an emergency clinic since the hospital where she’d had surgery didn’t have enough staff due to COVID. Luckily for me the cleaning service was due to come that day, but I had Izzy’s mom warn them about the situation. If I’d walked into a house and seen that scene and the person was missing, I might have called the police.
The point of my story, other than to explain my absence from wherever people expect to find me for the last week, is that this was a huge lesson in love. Never having had a child, I don’t have much experience with things seeping out of body parts and I typically look for an “adult” to take care of these things. I’ve handled gross before, but in more one-off circumstances. But there I was, the human in charge and it had to be done. And my love for Izzy allowed me to do it and not even dry heave. I didn’t get annoyed by it, I just wanted Izzy to be ok.
My anxiety, which would typically be about my own to-do lists, was solely focused on making sure Izzy was comfortable and the other two were happy. Mac, Izzy’s mastiff brother, is only 1.5 years and they play a lot and play hard so his energy is a little pent up. He doesn’t usually play with toys on his own, but I bought him a new rope and he loved it! And that brought me so much joy. Nothing like seeing a truly happy dog at play!
By January 2, I had given into the fact that I wasn’t going to implement any resolutions that week and just let myself fully be with the dogs. Does it matter that some of the things I wanted to, planned to or “needed” to do waited a week? Not in the bigger picture. Rather than deriving satisfaction from checking a few things off the never-ending “to-do” list, my happiness came from being there for them and knowing how much trust the family put in me to deal with it all. They returned to 2 healthy, happy dogs, 1 healthy, happy cat and a dog who is recovering well and comfortable.
Today I start my 2022 having learned a better lesson about letting love rule and going with the flow than I had in store to teach myself. And if any dog needs me, I’ll know I can and will be there and do anything for it!
Happy New Year to all! I wish for everyone to find lessons in love this year.