Sunday, November 28, 2010

Well, THAT was Unexpected

Before I moved away from Walla Walla (okay, it was over a decade, I'm getting old!), I was house sitting for a lot of people. I'd live in their house for a week or more, water plants, watch pets if needed, pick up mail and newspapers, etc...And I LOVED it! It's kind of like going to a hotel for awhile because it isn't your place and you sleep in different beds and such. But it's actually better than a hotel because I got paid for doing it.

Really? I mean, you're paying me to not have to live in a house with two younger sisters for a week. Alright!

I hadn't done any real house sitting since (we won't count the 6 months I stayed in the "snowbirds" house while they were in Arizona when I first moved to Lewiston. Yes, it was in the Country Club area, but I paid them rent (basically to cover utilities and such) it doesn't really count), so when a friend from Lewiston hooked me up with some friends in Moscow needing someone to house and dog sit for them I was all in. I mean, I've been having issues with a roommate and I knew I was going to have a lot on my plate that week. I met with them twice (with Sage in tow to make sure she got along with the dogs) and everything was great. They cautioned me that they didn't have television, which was FABULOUS for me because I had final papers to draft up and major student papers to grade, so I didn't need the distraction.

So they left on Sunday and on Tuesday afternoon I was in the vet's office with one of the dogs. Um, yeah. That wasn't a fun call to make. They were in New York and I was in Idaho and their nine year old dog was lethargic, not eating, had labored breathing and other health problems. I got in for their earliest open appointment at 3:10pm and two hours later the vet came back and told me the dog died.


Apparently the dog had had cancer and when I brought him (Mickey) in, his organs were shutting down. The owners hadn't known about the cancer so it was completely unexpected. I'm lucky I didn't have to tell the owners about their beloved dog's death, the vet had been in phone contact with them about what they were doing and such and had broken the news. So I went in with a dog and left empty handed. (FYI-this is not a picture of the actual dog. I'm not that insensitive, but it's what he looked like.)

Seriously, THAT wasn't what I was expected. I thought maybe a prescription and surgery at the worst, but not death! So the owners were worried about how I was feeling and I was worried about how they were feeling. It was a lot of mutual "I'm sorry's" going on in the subsequent phone calls...pretty much every day of their vacation because there was still one more dog at home alive. Trust me. If Emmy (the dog) would have allowed it, I would have wrapped her in bubble wrap and not allowed her to move a muscle. I didn't want two pet deaths on my hands!

Luckily we all made it through the rest of the break alive...even the owners who had a treacherous ice/snow drive back from the Spokane airport, and the mutual commiseration talk cycled through again when they got home.

How do I feel? Honestly, I was feeling sooooooo sorry for the owners because I know how I would feel if that had happened to Sage while I was gone. I would be heartbroken, guilty, and worried about the person watching my dog too. I felt bad, but I also realize death is a natural part of life and this was a completely fluke accident. No one could have planned the timing, especially without knowing the dog's health. I'm just sorry the owners weren't in town and now they'll have guilt. Luckily the dog spent all but the last two hours of his life at home with his other dog, so there's that.

I don't know...I think I'm still a bit in shock and awe, but I'll be fine. We'll see if they ask me to dog sit again in the future. That'll be the real test.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Wow! Not a fun thing to deal with. My neighbors were dog sitting and the teenage son forgot to put water out for the dog. It was July, in Arizona, and about 112 degrees out. Welp, the dog died. The neighbors tried to cover it up and make it look like an accident and the dogs owner sued them for $10,000.