Two’s Too Many With Dogs, Kids

Katie Young
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Wednesday - January 03, 2007

If the experience I had baby-sitting my friend’s dog recently is any indication, I should not be allowed to have more than one child.

My friend Seilee went on a trip a few weeks ago and asked me to watch her lovable miniature pincher, Maya, for a few days.

“No problem!” I said. “Pono (the wiener dog) and Maya can have a sleepover!”

Pono and Maya have grown up together, though they’ve never had much interest in one another. Seilee and I have tried to arrange many play dates, but Pono only cares about playing with Maya’s toys and Maya only cares that Pono stays away from her toys.

Maya and Pono look alike in coloring and are almost the same height - only Maya has long, slender legs and Pono has short, stumpy ones - so Seilee and I have always maintained they could be cousins.

Mostly, Maya and Pono just ignore each other so we decided the two canines would probably be able to survive 72 hours together in the same house.

They survived, but I, as the baby-sitter, was absolutely exhausted. First of all, I had to put their doggy beds on opposite sides of the mattress because they refused to sleep next to each other.

Then Maya, who I can only guess was very apprehensive about her new sleeping arrangements, refused to go to bed. She kept getting up and running out of the bedroom and pacing around the living room. Every time she’d do this, Pono would let out a couple of low barks and wake me up.

So I’d have to get out of bed (which I ended up having to do at 12:30 a.m., 1:45 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. the first night) to bring Maya back to bed. When I’d finally get her to sit on her bed, she’d just stare at me and whimper.

Groggy and grouchy, I awoke the next morning to find the two dogs bounding around the bedroom. Pono wanted to be fed. Maya wanted to go outside to relieve herself. I decided to feed Pono first, then take Maya out. But when I returned from Maya’s potty trip, it was obvious that Pono-boy was upset that he didn’t get to go outside too. Bad Mommy.

So then I tried to feed Maya, who wasn’t the least bit interested in her breakfast ... but Pono, the bottomless pit, was!

I tried to leave Maya’s food in the kitchen so she could eat it when she got hungry, but then Pono kept devising secret missions to sneak a couple morsels from her bowl. First, he tried to walk slowly and softly on the tiled floor so I would-n’t hear him.

When he was caught in action, Pono attempted to become invisible by standing completely still for two minutes. When this particular maneuver failed, Pono opted for plan B, which entailed making a direct beeline for the kitchen and launching himself at Maya’s food bowl. This plan was successful in that he was able to score exactly five pieces of dry dog food before I noticed the fury of crunching sounds and ran into the room to shoo him away.

By 1 p.m. I was exhausted. Maya took over Pono’s usual sunbeam spot, about which he was quite unhappy, and got back at Maya by continuing to harass her wherever she roamed. The two egged each other on as well, barking in-turn at every little noise and rustling that happened outside. They argued over Pono’s toys and over who got to sit on my lap and who was forced to sit at my side with only space for a paw to rest on my thigh.

I always wanted to have a big family, especially because I am the only child and only grandchild. I thought two, maybe three babies would be nice. But after my dog-sitting adventure, I’m not so sure.

“I’m not cut out for two babies,” I told my friend Lezlie. “I don’t know how you do it.”

Lezlie has two Chihuahuas. “You get used to it,” she encouraged. “Maybe you should relax and take a bubble bath.”

“I just don’t know,” I maintained. “I can’t even handle two dogs.”

If I already need a bubble bath after one day of watching two furry children, maybe I should seriously consider keeping my family to just one - furry dog and child, that is.

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