Sorry I've been away for a bit. There is always so much to do between parenting, trying desperately to finish this 4th Sophie book (Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss…have patience, it’s coming!) and...well, just living my life. Who knew that having a life could be so time consuming?
Among my recent adventures there was a short stint in which I fostered a adorable 3-year-old bassett hound named Otis. I haven't had a dog since I was a kid and I wasn't really sure that I was a dog person but maybe I am because I LOVE Otis. I fell in love the minute I walked into the pet store with my son and looked into his hound dog eyes. This particular pet store has a deal with a local shelter and helps find homes for various animals up for adoption. Otis was one of those animals. I live in an apartment and I was told that Otis has a tendency to cry (loudly) whenever he is left alone. I wasn't sure how that would go over with my neighbors or, more importantly, my landlord but when the pet store owner asked if I would like to foster him for a few days I couldn't resist.
So as it turns out he doesn't just cry. When the person he feels most attached to (which quickly became me) leaves, he barks continuously for a good hour or more and even pees on the carpet just to make extra sure that everyone knows he's unhappy. It didn't matter that I left him with another loving adult, he just wanted me and although I knew that wasn't going to work considering my living situation I couldn't help but be a little flattered. In a matter of a day he became my dog. Unfortunately he never became my son's dog. Otis only responds to humans who can play the role of an alpha. If you can show him you're in charge while still being fair and quick to reward good behavior he'll respect you and love you. If you act like you're in any way afraid of him or aren't up to the task of keeping him in line he'll walk all over you and may even throw in a few menacing growls for good measure. It broke my heart, but my son was clearly nervous around him. Perhaps if I lived in a house I would have been able to get my son more comfortable with the dog and, in turn, teach Otis to respect both his owners but with all that barking whenever I walked out the door it seemed likely that I would be evicted before I had a chance to accomplish those goals.
Still, having him stay with us those few days was SO much fun. We took him on long walks and while most hounds love new and interesting smells Otis took this interest to a whole new level. Every tree, bush and flower had to be carefully sniffed. On our last night together we walked past Trader Joes where they had several large pots in front of their store filled with an assortment of flower bouquets. Before I had a chance to react Otis lurched forward on his leash and thrust his nose inside those flowers with such force that he knocked the pots over (which scared the bejezus out of the poor guy). Some of the Trader Joes employees came rushing out and I was left to explain that I was sorry and that my dog simply had an irresistible desire to stop and smell the flowers.
Anyway, despite the fact that he probably wasn't the right dog for our family I was able to train him on a few points and when I talked to the woman at the pet store I was able to give her a very detailed analysis of what kind of home Otis needs in order to be successful: a home with either an active senior who can walk him but never has to leave him or a home with another dog who can keep him company---he adores other dogs. I guess the people at the pet store were impressed with me because now they frequently call me to see if I would be willing to baby-sit this or that dog (they've even offered to pay me for this) and I've been invited to take any of their dogs for a walk whenever the mood hits me.
So I've gone from not being sure if I'm a dog person to being a doggie-sitter.
And in case you're wondering, Otis found a new home that he shares with his new best friend, a four-year-old boxer. I just hope he has lots of opportunities to smell the flowers.
Bestselling Author of:
SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE,
PASSION, BETRAYAL AND KILLER HIGHLIGHTS,
OBSESSION, DECEIT AND REALLY DARK CHOCOLATE
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING