Our oldest and his wife are on vacation, and we, the grandparents to adorable Nook, are babysitting for two weeks. Nook is a Portugese Water Dog, all black curly hair except for her right front paw, which is white. She is four years old, so just past adolescence. She loves adult companionship, which translates to mean, let me sit on your feet so you can’t go anywhere without me.
Clio, the resident Irish terrier, is nine years old, so let’s call a spade a spade – she’s eligible for Social Security. She entered this household when there were four kids still living at home – and she learned quite early to pick her battles in terms of what she needed. She wanted her dinner promptly at 5 pm (and seriously you can set the clock by it). She wanted her sheepskin blankie from her days in the litter to sleep on. And she wanted Honey Nut Cheerios on top of her kibble in the morning. Otherwise, she was happy to watch television with whomever had gotten the remote, and had no preference whether it was a Mets game or Masterpiece Theater. The likelihood of some popcorn hitting the ground under either scenario was excellent, and she is always ready to serve as a canine vacuum cleaner.
Clio has taken seriously her role as big sister. She’s taught Nook that when you come in from the backyard, you have to walk down the steps to the basement and then right back up again (to get rid of any lingering dirt). She’s also clearly informed little sister that going outside to do your “business,” entitles you to a doggie treat. Clio was incredulous, and her face showed it, when Nook wandered off the other morning without the biscuit. Of course, Clio immediately rose to the occasion and was happy to oblige by polishing off a second treat in under five seconds. Making sure everyone knows that she is the alpha dog of the pack is accomplished by immediately doing her business wherever Nook has done hers. What this means is that any walk with the two of them takes double the amount of time because Clio has to mark the previously marked spots. Oy!
Still, as with the two-legged children I’ve known, these furry companions have their moments. Growling one minute, snuggling up the next. But do I have any interest in permanently growing the canine population in this house? Nope. Like grandparents everywhere, I love to indulge this little one – and then send her home!
Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David
Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David