8.01.2005

Dog Eat Dog World

Please don't mistake me. I am an animal lover. Ok, not a lover, but I do like animals.

When my folks moved us from New Jersey to rural southwestern Virginia, my father went through what can only be described as 'The Old McDonald Syndrome'. Like Old McDonald, we had a farm. However, we never used or slaughtered any of our animals. They were family pets. At one point or another, our farm housed dogs, cats, cows, sheep, horses, chickens, peacocks, and African pigmy goats.

Maybe it is because of my long history with animals that people seek me out to pet sit. Or, maybe people seek me out because I am single and they assume I have no life. For whatever reason, Diane Mandy is the first choice of friends when leaving a precious pet poodle or parrot for a few days.

I just can't say no to a friend in need. I can't even say no to an acquaintance in need. As a result, I have a long, sordid history with pet sitting.

I should have known better when I first visited Princess's owner, a woman I hardly knew. I was introduced to Princess, a chocolate lab that no more than 11 months old. When the owner turned her back to Princess and walked away, the feisty lab bit her owner on the ass. Embarrassed and in a great deal of pain, the owner tried to explain away her dog's actions.

"Oh, she's just being friendly," she said with a nervous laugh.

I had my concerns, but there was no way I could back out gracefully at the last minute. So I took Princess home with me for the weekend. It was a nightmare.

I made sure never to turn my back on Princess in an effort to protect my own derrière. But, Princess found other ways to be a pain in my ass. For instance, I tried to take Princess on morning walks, but she'd literally lie in the street and refuse to move. What sort of lab doesn't want to move around a little? So as not to be late for work, I'd have to pick Princess up and carry her home. One night, Princess decided to eat a Brillo pad off my kitchen countertop. I had stay up all night with Princess to make sure the Brillo passed without incident. Princess passed the Brillo pad, and I promptly passed out from sleep deprivation.

Princess's antics could only be outdone by Cupcake, a Yorkshire terrier, who was left in my care for 7 long days after her owners went on an anniversary cruise. For Cupcake's emotional well being, the owners asked that I stay at their home. This way, Cupcake could relax in familiar surroundings. Being home alone with a complete stranger, however, was more than the terrier could bear. Cupcake was a nervous wreck and proceeded to chew the hair off both front legs and anywhere her teeth could reach. Imagine the owners surprise when they came home to discover their precious Yorkie had been transformed into a Chiwawa!!

The dog experiences were bad, but my bird experiences far surpassed. I never realized how loud and messy two parrots and a Cockatoo could be! Even though I kept the birds caged in a remote downstairs bathroom, I still found bird food strewn about the rest of the house for weeks later. The birds squeals could be heard through the walls of my home and into my neighbor's, who threatened to call animal control. It was at that moment I discovered a hidden weapon against the birds--dark sheets. I covered each of the bird cages to simulate the night. Before too long the birds were experiencing 20 hour evenings and I was finally enjoying some peace and quiet.

Quite honestly, I just don't know how Noah did it on that boat, paired up with all kinds of animals. After about two days of the work, noise, and stench, I would have jumped ship. 40 days and 40 nights couldn't be that bad, now could it?

My days as a pet-sitter are behind me. I won't even watch a stuffed animal anymore, unless of course, it's a mink or some other fur. In that case, I have a welcoming closet and a padded coat hanger just for the occasion! Who says I don't love animals? ;-)

16 comments:

queenofsass said...

I will believe it if I see it. You always seem to plan the pet sitting when I come visit...coincidence? I think not.

David said...

Yeah forget watching someone elses pets. When we are asked, we say sure when do we need to go to YOUR house to feed/water them??

Jaws said...

Ugg hate watching other peoples pets but I can never say no.. The things i fear most is them dieing while I am watching them..LOL How cold does that sound.

queenofsass said...

By the way, would you look after my cats for me? I also have a platoon of stuffed animals that could use some TLC.

utenzi said...

This is great, Diane. It sounds like you have lots of experiene pet sitting. I need someone like you! You see I have these 3 vietnames pigs and I'm about to go out of town... LOL

Diane Mandy said...

Dear old Dave, I tried that tactic.It has never worked for me.

Jaws- I actually knew someone who had someone else's pet die on them. Yikes! At least, in all my experiences (and I did not recount them all) I never had one die on me.

Queenie - For you dahling...anything!

Utenzi - Ooooh pigs! How cool! You know I live in the same town as you... Do the pigs like spring rolls?

Mister Hand said...

I have a dog that is part chocolate lab and part something with a fat body and short, stumpy legs. His name is Soldier. He will NOT come when you call, he will attempt to escape your care the minute your back is turned, he will not walk on a leash, he will eat anything that he can get his chompers on. After escaping, he will return hours later either covered in something wet and stinky or injured.

But he's smart as hell--smart enough to not be cowed by our human rules. Best dog I ever had. I guess I just can't help but admire his spirit.

Diane Mandy said...

He sounds great--just as long as you don't ask me to watch him. :-)

Meatbag said...

Ha! I was reading along and saw the part about a chocolate lab with stumpy legs and thought "that sounds like Soldier" (I'm a friend of Mister Hand's). Small world.

Diane, where did you get the art you use on the front page? Who's the artist? I thought it was Jason Brooks (look under music), but he does arms more realisticly. I love the design.

Mister Hand said...

Yeah, I really like the layout here, too. I believe I gave Diane kudos when I first found this place. I went to the site designers' webpage but they said they weren't selling anything right now. Otherwise I would have suited up WICKED TRUTH with some hot, cartoony chick skins.

Mister Hand said...

Every time I see queenofsass, I read it at first as "Queen of Ass." That's hot.

Xavierism said...

That's too funny! Omar is loud during the afternoons and evenings! Usually it's because he's ready for a snack. I've found that when he's loud, I heat up baby food in a jar and feed him via a syringe. That warms him up and he's ready for an hour nap each time. Luckily, Omar has been trained to climb on his perch when he needs to poop...so that's why the perch follows me around when Omar is with me.

I've learned never to leave Omar alone for too long...he has a thing for appliances and wires! BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

I haven't had coffee today...I need my fix! I'm so ready for Happy Hour on Friday!

Hump the day away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

queenofsass said...

Mr. Hand-that is too funny.

Diane Mandy said...

Meatbag - Where did you come up with the nickname? You're actually going to admit to being a friend of Mr. Hand's? Interesting! ;-) Thanks for posting! This design is from Web Divas (there is a link under credits).

Mr. Hand - I could see your site dressed up with hot, steamy chicks --better than the Bolton pic you posted yesterday! And QueenofSass, my oldest abd dearest friend, is most def very hot!

Diane Mandy said...

Xav - Omar sounds like quite the character! Does he have a favorite baby food?

Meatbag said...

The name Meatbag came from both HK-47, the assassin droid from the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game, and Bender, the ascerbic and occasionally suicidal robot from Futurama. It's how they refer to humans. I like the idea that we're all just bags of meat. I find it humorously nihilistic.