27 June 2011

Weekend recap: Dog sitting reality check

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Hello everyone! Hope you had a nice weekend. It was gorgeous in Chicago but I was Wisconsin, dog sitting my adorable fur nephew….

….and getting a huge reality check.

Dog sitting is hard. Like, really, really hard.

Maybe I was spoiled with my previous fur nephew visits where it was all loves and snuggles and kisses and joy all the time. I will say that there was little of that this weekend.

It was more of me dragging him down the block during our walks because he wouldn’t cooperate, cleaning up two bathroom messes in the house (within the first 12 hours,) cleaning up a little dog puke (which he ate, OMG gross,) and trying to lure/drag him in the house after he spent the day laying in the sun outside.

It was just…so emotionally taxing.

I could handle the walks and did my best to keep him on his schedule. But being woken up at 2 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings (usually by puppy sneezes in my face or burrowing in my hip) just wore me down.

Saturday, my SIL called to check in and I completely broke down. The tears were a mix of frustration and feelings of failure. I have two college degrees and am successful at my job and I can’t take care of a 15 lb doxie?

Fortunately, she and my bro were so patient and helpful, both surprised by Steve’s actions. TC sent some super supportive texts too. Everyone assured me I wasn’t doing a bad job, but I still felt like I was. Yesterday, I could barely look at him before my brother came home, his late attempts for snuggling half-hearted on both ends.

I know it won’t always be like this, but I think for now, my dog sitting services and dog search are on hold.

I did get a few cute pictures of him this weekend though:

How was your weekend?


  1. Amanda says:

    I loved your blog and will be back to visit often. Found it to be educational and informative,

  2. Sorry it was so frustrating. If it makes you feel better, dogs (really, many pets) tend to act differently and are more challenging when their humans are gone and they’re out of their usual routine. They’re confused and probably having a bit of separation anxiety. So it’s definitely NOT you.

  3. RebeccaC says:

    Try having a kid (she types while a grumpy 11 day old infant chomps on her boob at 7 am following a night with a 2 hour feeding session at 1am followed by a second one at 5). Luckily dogs do tend to chill after awhile. Z spent both of the aforementioned infant Feedings passed out cold next to my feet :)

  4. When I first adopted my dog (April of this year), for the first month I was HORRIFIED!!! What have I gotten myself into!!!! She chews on everything, she barks all the time, she peed in the house twice – I was up ALL night because she had diarrhea… horrible.
    You just have to remember, they are stressed out and it’s a major change for them too. After the first month, I calmed down, and she calmed down. No more chewing, very little barking, she doesn’t push boundries so much, she can be alone and content. It’s all good. I have no regrets… but those first few weeks, I was ready to send her back.
    Here are a couple pics of her :)

  5. Mega says:

    This is kind of why small dogs and I do not co-exist in general. Bigger dogs are usually much less in your face and become more laid back and docile with age. Like me. If I ever get a dog in the future (most likely, but not any time soon), it will be a bigger dog. Like a black lab or something.

  6. Aww, I’m sorry that the puppy sitting was so challenging for you. It takes a lot out of you, especially if you’re not quite sure what to expect. I have no doubt, though, that when you’re ready for the next time, it’ll be a lot better. And that when you make the decision to get a puppy, it’ll be good, too. And if not, you can always come to the Bayou, and I’ll help you out!

  7. Kez says:

    Aww puppy sitting can be challenging. When we got our second dog(1st dog was a little older and a rescue dog), I was run ragged! She was only a few weeks old, required toilet training, she was an escape artist and she cried every couple of hours at night. It was great practice for a baby haha. I lost so much sleep and at times I got really irritated with her, but it was all worth it. We bonded so much and she still appreciates all I do for her. I am sure that your fur nephew loved you being there for him xo

  8. I am currently dogsitting as well. I am also currently drinking a lot of wine. That is all.

  9. mandy says:

    I think like kids, its different when they are your own. I love my dog, like a child. My brother just adopted a Golden who has one with a very similar personality and temperament to mine. I dog sit fairly regularly for him and his dog drives me crazy. I have a lot less patience with her than I do my own dog.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Dogs act differently with different people and try to get away things they might not normally get away with when their owners are there.

  10. katelin says:

    aw sorry it was so hard, i can’t even imagine since any sort of animal sitting is foreign to me, haha. but seriously those pictures are pretty cute.

  11. Nora says:

    Awww, love. As much as I hate to say this, dogs are a lot like kids. They get skiddish (sp) and scared when their routine or surroundings change and push the boundaries of every.single.envelope. I’m so sorry it went that way though! Reminds me of when I first adopted Jack. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I pushed through and seven years later he’s one of my best friends.

    It’s also really hard to housesit/dog sit for anyone, friend or family cause you want to do everything right, you know? Of course the dogs always have other plans for us.

    At least you survived. Thinking of you!

  12. A Super Girl says:

    I dog-sat for my parents’ cocker spaniel a few weeks ago. Within 15 minutes of me arriving, I went to let her out and she got loose and proceeded to get lost for about 20 minutes. When I finally found her, she was eating mushrooms (or so I thought). I called my mom to bitch about what a terrible dog she had and when I mentioned the mushrooms my mom freaked out and insisted that she had to have her stomach pumped so she didn’t die. So, I spent my Friday night at the emergency vet.

    I’ve dog-sat for them before without incident, but I don’t think I will be again. Nor will I be buying a dog of my own any time soon!

  13. Lacey Bean says:

    Awwww you poor thing!! I bet he was like that because his routine changed, even though it was just the person handling everything was the only thing different. Animals don’t like change. :(

  14. Jenn says:

    So I’ve dog-sat twice now — once for a family friend where I stayed at their house for 10 days and took care of two dogs and another for a close friend where I brought the dog to my house.

    Both times was a NIGHTMARE. They have behaviors that they’re used to doing with their normal parents, like sleeping in the bed or something, that just didn’t fly with me at all. I dealt with poop on a daily basis.

    I wouldn’t take it personally though, Jess. They get freaked out when something disrupts their routine, no matter how close you tried to keep it to their normal schedule. You did a great job and no matter what, it was better for the dog than being boarded!

    Also, in terms of getting your own dog, I think it’s a lot like kids — you have a soft spot for ones that are your own and not someone else’s. If you really want a dog, you should get one — you can train it to your schedule and since it’s YOURS, it won’t be nearly as frustrating as someone else’s :)

  15. ***wasn’t cooperative!

  16. Sucks he was cooperative. I kinda dog-sat this wknd too. Our family dog is so wonderful and good, but omg he apparently required a ton of attention this wknd. It’s like having a two year old in the house. lol Hopefully next time you dog-sit it’ll go better!

  17. Erin says:

    Was this his first time being left alone with someone other than your brother and sister in law? Dogs are smarter than people give them credit for and I bet he was testing his boundaries!

    But, like your SIL commented, he’s still alive and kicking (and apparently still being a little bratty) so you definitely didn’t do a bad job!

  18. SIL says:

    Thank you so much for taking care of Steve and I’m so sorry it wasn’t more cuddles and kisses. For what it’s worth, when I got home and tried petting him, he pissed in the kitchen (maybe he just peed because he was so excited to see you!). You are more than welcome to visit when we are here or to try dog-sitting again. Like we said – he’s alive, he’s well, therefore you did not fail at all. Hope your week goes well (and quick) and thanks for the fun Steve pics!