Tales of 3 Gordons

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 in stories | 0 comments

Here in Dunoon, we’re watching 3 Gordon Setters (among other things). Rowan is the 6-year-old mommy dog, and Willow and Aaron are her 2-year-old puppies.

dogs from right to left: Willow, Aaron, Rowan

These dogs are pretty good-sized, and having three of them around in the tiny hallways of this quirky, old house makes them seem bigger.


From Cats to Dogs

Everywhere you go in this house in Dunoon, there are dogs draped on the floor or standing in clumps behind you, poking their noses into your bum, mouthing your hand, or rubbing eye goobers into your clothes. (Basically violating your space in every way.) Just walking around is a precarious endeavor; I’m always pulling myself around corners like a rock climber in order to avoid stepping on a dog.

When they get excited, they become bundles of energy that fly at you from every direction, and I find myself wondering if I will make it out of Dunoon. The simple act of filling a water bowl is so exciting to them that they forget I’m there, which means I’m bouncing off dogs while trying to keep the bowl upright and maneuver my way out the door.

No matter. Apparently the kitchen floor is better when it is covered in a fine goo anyway (at least to a dog). If I don’t spill water tripping over a dog, the dogs will lap up water until it dribbles down their jowls and all over the floor anyway. Or they’ll track a new pattern into the linoleum with their muddy paw prints.

This is a bit of a change from the calm, clean, collected cats in King’s Lynn.


Stinky Sharing

These dogs are a bit smelly. Yes, when they’ve been outside, they have that characteristic dog smell, but they are smelly in another way, too. Like last night, when we had two dogs lying at our feet and this awful rotten-egg smell filled the room.

“Was that you or the dogs?” I asked Ryan, plugging my nose with one hand and waving the other around frantically.

“Was what me?” was the reply. He looked innocent enough.

A few minutes later, Willow made the usual attempt to get on my lap (more on this later), and when I pushed her back, her throat contracted and the same gag-inducing scent wafted into my face. She looked back at me with huge, sad eyes that said “sorry” instead of “that’s what you get,” and I forgave her.


Naughty Doggie Moments

The dogs are pretty well-behaved, but they can’t be good all the time. We’ve had a few naughty doggie moments–and the trouble is almost always in the lounge. One morning, I walked in to find all the couch pillows on the floor. There were a few frayed edges, but all in all, it was a minor offense.

I walked in later to find various pieces of the fish food container (I’d been looking for that) scattered about the floor and multi-colored fish flakes stamped into the hard wood. A much more serious offense, because it involved more work on my part. (No worries. I found another can while looking for millet sprays in a random cupboard in the dining room. It’s probably 5 years old, but I’m using it anyway.)

Yesterday, I found Aaron hiding behind the dining room table, ripping plastic wrap off the brown sugar. (Brown sugar?! These dogs must be starved!) I caught him early in the act, much to his disappointment.

In the early days in Dunoon, I could tell the dogs approached us like middle school students approach a substitute teacher–with a mischievous grin and a winking eye. With me, the winking eye is still there, but I think it’s lessened a bit with Ryan.

Dogs will be dogs.


Human-Sized Lap Dogs

Willow brought out her most surprising weapon on our second day here, when she tried to sneak onto my lap while I worked on my computer. I’ve come to know the process well since then, for Willow is a persistent one: she’ll lay her head on our laptops first, smearing gooey drool everywhere. (To Ryan, in particular, this is a crime against humanity.) Next comes a front paw on the chair, followed by the other front paw, followed by one back leg and then the other.

I tested just how far she’d go with this one time, and she was literally on top of me in the chair. She’s as big as I am in that position, which is just ridiculous. The only way to get her to stop is to take her by the scruff of the neck and push her firmly to the floor with a deep “No.” Of course Ryan has a deeper voice, so she now listens to him and continues to maul me on an hourly basis. It’s tough to be small.

Aaron and Rowan do this lap dog thing, too, and we keep trying to figure out where the habit comes from. (At least Rowan responds immediately to “no” and Aaron doesn’t try it very often.) It seems like they do it when they want something, but I’ve never seen such an annoying habit. You want to go outside? Well, go scratch on the door, for heaven’s sake, like a normal dog! You want more dinner? Well, go wail in the kitchen or steal food! You’re bored to death? I’d rather have you whining than trying to climb all over me. I can handle normal dog behavior; it’s when they get into our space and threaten to ruin our clothes and electronics with drool, paws, and full-body contact that I get a bit miffed about being here.


Dogs in My Future

Looking into the future, I’d say my prospects of having a dog are getting grimmer by every dog-sit. Dogs are great, don’t get me wrong, but I’d much prefer the softer, more independent cat to the bounding, drooling, stinking, chewing canine.

The lap dog behavior alone has almost sent us over the edge at several points during our stay. Fortunately, Ryan and I have had our breakdowns separately: while the insane person is hiding and cursing upstairs, the other person can pick up the slack. Then we trade places the next day. Fun!

Sometimes I wonder if it is the cluttered house or the animals that has sent us over the edge at times. It’s probably a bit of both, but I really think the dogs are the culprits in this situation. It isn’t their fault, and it isn’t really ours either. We are all new together and figuring one another out, and there are bound to be growing pains in that environment. It’s just hard to understand why anyone would want three dogs. One dog seems like plenty.

The area we are staying in is beautiful, but sometimes when you’re dealing with the challenges of pet- and house-sitting, you start to question your sanity for wanting to travel this way. There are good days and bad days, but every time I look out the window (any window) at the rippling water, the moored sailboats, the changing leaves, and the shifting clouds of Dunoon–and I remind myself that I’m here basically for free–I start to change my tune a bit.

It is all a matter of perspective, after all.


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