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Well, I'm not quite a grandma

We have spent some time in recent weeks dog-sitting for the fine yellow Lab that belongs to the Youngest Daughter.

In August, she moved back to Peabody from Nashville, Tenn., and bought a house close to us. She thinks that when she works, her dog should not be lonesome. The Mister and I are the most logical companions for Petey and so we do the doggy daycare. Well, that is not quite right because The Mister is off in the work-a-day world from early until late as well, so taking care of Petey is more or less my job. But The Mister does scratch his ears. He is good at that and Petey likes it. As usual, I do the tedious stuff, but that is alright.

It has been a number of years since we lost our own yellow lab. Since then we have steadfastly avoided The Daughters’ suggestion that we “need” another dog. Having Petey around is sort of a stopgap measure. With him on the premises on a daily basis we have a pet of sorts and we know he would not be happy sharing our attention. He is 13, after all. Why should he have to share his world with another canine? So we should not be looking for another dog, right? Right, thank you. I am with you on this one.

This past week the Youngest Daughter had to return to Nashville to testify at a trial, so we have had a Petey slumber party at our house. We hauled out some sheepskins so that he wouldn’t have to sleep on the hardwood floors. We dug up a blanket to cover the front seat in the pickup so he can go along when The Mister when he was out and about. We bought a box of “treats” and he gets one when he comes in from doing “doggy business.” He likes to have treats. (He is a wonderful dog; he deserves treats now and then, don’t you think?) And I made an extra culinary effort at meal time just to have meaty drippings from roasts and such to drizzle over that nasty dry stuff the Youngest Daughter feeds him. I don’t think the Youngest Daughter provides him with any of these amenities. We may have to have a mother-daughter talk!

This past weekend he went off to the warehouse in the pickup with The Mister. He did work down there, don’t you know? He roamed and sniffed and hunted and prowled and marked his territory. He wandered in and out of the warehouse and followed the mowers and greeted visitors and marked some more territory. And when he finally came home he flopped onto a sheepskin and didn’t move for hours.

I got a little worried. When I tossed the dried dog food into the steak drippings on Saturday night he merely raised an eyebrow at me. By Sunday morning the food was gone from his bowl and I felt like I had dodged a bullet. Perhaps the Youngest Daughter wouldn’t know that we over fed him and let him hang out at the warehouse for a full day of “work.” But by mid-Sunday morning Petey was off to the warehouse once again. He slept all day Monday.

On a trip to the local grocery store during the day, I discovered the most amazing product. I was looking for some of those dry chew-biscuit things and guess what I found? Bottled doggy water. Yes, it is possible to buy bottled water especially for dogs! For a mere two dollars and change, one can “invest” in doggy health with a 32-ounce bottle of “enhanced dog water.” Can you believe it?

I found several choices. (Well, sure. Why not?) One was for “hip and joint,” another was for “aging dogs,” and another was for “whole health.” Imagine that! I’d love to know what my Grandfather Spencer might have thought of this idea. His dogs always drank from ditches and puddles unless there was a drought, and then, by golly, they drank water hauled up from the cistern, if someone remembered to give them some when they hauled it up.

Well, I must confess I bought a bottle of the hip and joint variety. So far I have not seen any change, but there is always a chance. (I expect I would have been the perfect customer for Mother Smith’s Snake Oil Cure way back when.) As I type this, the Youngest Daughter is on her way to Peabody from the Kansas City International Airport. We will have to see if she notices a smoother, more youthful and debonair Petey when she gets back to Peabody.

If the doggy water works, I will let you know. If Petey becomes a puppy again, we should buy stock in the company. And that is all I am going to say about that!

— Susan Marshall

Last modified Oct. 22, 2008

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