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Life Happens: Adventures in puppy-sitting

May 26, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.

By Aprill Brandon

It is 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. I am sitting at the computer, attempting to type this around my almost 40-pound dog, who is struggling to sit on my not-nearly-big-enough lap. I am still in the sweatpants I slept in, hair in the same messy bun I went to bed in and my face still has the remnants of yesterday's eyeliner. To my left is an 11-pound puppy who is desperately and energetically trying to also jump on my lap. And to my immediate right is the giant screwdriver I just made with a generous dose of really cheap vodka.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Last week, a friend asked my husband and me if we would watch her dog for a couple of days while she went out of town. Considering my schedule consisted mostly of plans to write this column (but really use the time to Facebook bomb as many people as I could ... you're welcome, Grandma), I said "Eh, why not?"

Now Leelou (full name: Leelou Dallas Multipass Mulligan) is an absolutely adorable puppy of that breed of small dogs that look concerned all the time. She is also besties with my dog Buffy (full name: Buffy Anne Summers Brandon Huddle the First), or at least as close to besties as two creatures - who think sniffing each other's rears for three hours is an appropriate greeting - can be.

So, naturally, I figured this little adventure in puppysitting would be a breeze.

HA! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! (Snort) Hahahahahahahahahaha!!! (Semi-sob)

Alas, I forgot one crucial thing. Taking care of one dog? Easy-peasy. Taking care of two dogs? A good start if you want to kick-off that descent into madness with a bang.

See, while both Leelou and Buffy are essentially good dogs at heart, it was their combination that was the problem. For instance, if Leelou woke up at 2 a.m., Buffy would wake up at 2:03 a.m. and then both of them would have to spend the next 20 minutes repositioning themselves on the bed (such as whichever one was sleeping directly on my face would move to my feet and vice versa).

If Leelou wanted to play with a toy, Buffy also wanted to play with a toy. In fact, he wanted to play with the exact same one that ... SURPRISE! ... Leelou had. If Leelou heard someone three houses down sneezing and decided it was a threat to all our well-beings, she would start barking as though the house was on fire. This barking would alert Buffy that he, too, needed to bark, only much louder and at an urgency that is usually reserved for when Vikings are invading your apartment.

If Leelou wanted to play the canine version of Fight Club, Buffy would make sure it got elevated to Thunderdome status. If Leelou had an accident in the house, Buffy felt compelled to ... ahem ... "clean it up" before I got there with paper towels in hand.

It finally got so bad that I decided to put both of them in their cages so I could have just a few moments of peace. Sadly, even that backfired. Now, I've never given birth. But I'm pretty sure the opposite of it is an apt comparison of trying to shove an unwilling dog into its cage. And I'm pretty sure the opposite of giving birth to a full-sized gorilla is an apt comparison of trying to do that twice.

So, by 2:30 on Thursday, I hadn't had time to shower. I had spent most of the morning trying to prevent Leelou from eating something inedible and the rest of my day trying to prevent Buffy from eating whatever Leelou left behind. There was a never-ending game of "jump on Aprill's lap and delete whatever she just spent the last 30 minutes typing" (although they did stop occasionally to bark at yet something else that wasn't actually there) and my house was littered with dog toys of every type imaginable.

It was enough to make even this die-hard dog lover question whether having pets was worth it.

But then, just when I couldn't take it anymore, both of them finally got tired and laid down. And eventually fell asleep. Cuddled together. Looking so sweet I'm pretty sure I got a cavity just by glancing at them.

And I realized, it was those moments that made all the craziness worth it.

Then again, it could have just been the really cheap vodka kicking in.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her dreams of starting a doggie daycare are forever dashed.


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