How NOT to Pet-Sit

My neighbor was going out of town over the weekend and asked if I would let her Chihuahua outside to potty the first day.

Her daughter would tend the dog afterward, but wouldn’t be available until dinnertime.

Enter me.

‘He won’t be any trouble,’ she assured me. ‘The backyard is fenced. Just open the door, shoo him out, watch to see he does what he’s supposed to do, then let him back in.’

Easy squeezy.

Now I’ve seen her walking this dog, but I’ve never “played” with him. I’ve been in the entryway of her house, but never really inside. So I was a bit apprehensive.

‘He knows you,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t ask if I weren’t afraid he couldn’t hold it all day.’

Well, okay.

After my lunch, I bundled up and walked to her house, letting myself in as she’d shown me.

It’s kind of creepy going into somebody’s house when they’re not there (I don’t know how burglars do it!). She’d left the TV on to keep the dog company and set out a covered plate with a note asking me to give it to him.

Perfect — if I could catch him.

The little stinker started yapping as soon as he heard the door open. And he didn’t stop.

My Sheltie is “vocal,” so you’d think I’d be used to barking.

But this dog’s complaints really got on my nerves, fast. Probably because I was in a strange house and feeling the burden of responsibility.

I called to him in the “sweet” voice I use for my Sheltie.

Nothing. In fact, he raced out of the kitchen and into the living room, promptly setting up camp on the back of the sofa.

Taking the plate of food to lure him to a non-carpeted area, I called him again.

Nothing. This time, he charged toward the back of the house, barking like a lost soul.

What to do?

I tried calling him again. I begged, I promised I’d go outside with him, I told him his food looked yummy.

He wasn’t buying it.

Fearing he might take my leg off if I ventured into the recesses of his house, I set the food down, penned a note for the daughter describing what happened, and left.

Ah, failure. What a dismal feeling.

Looking back, we probably should have properly “introduced” me to the dog, on his own turf, before this fiasco. What do you think?