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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spooning Old Men

I'm in the last hour of a pet sit for a client I've had for about two years. When I first started sitting for her, she had two dogs, but one of them died (of old age, bless his heart) this summer. Now I'm left with a funny little terrier mix who was rescued and has his own set of issues. He's about 12 or 13 years old, which is not actually that old for a terrier, and he takes Prozac every day for his mild anxiety. He gets territorial over the bed sometimes, and he doesn't like to be handled in certain ways. He was debarked, and for some reason he has a number tattoo on the hairless area on his abdomen. I don't know his story, but he tickles my funny bone because he looks like a crotchety old man. This was just an overnight stay, but it was quite pleasant for a change. Previously, when I had both dogs, I was sharing the bed with two fidgety sleepers, the older of whom suffered from incontinence (at my expense). Last night, it was just me and the remaining dog who slept much quieter than last time, curled in a tiny little bundle of pup next to me the whole night. He used to get upset if I moved around or got up in the middle of the night; not so this time. He just looked at me, turned in a little circle and got comfortable again.
I grew up with large breed dogs only, and I still think I'll want a big dog when I can finally have one of my own. But after last night, I realized one reason why people love small dogs. Few things are as sweet as curling up to sleep with a tiny old dog nestled in your knees or spooned against your tummy. It's especially endearing when they tuck their noses under their paws- I can hardly stand it. In my experience sleeping with my own large dalmatians, there's no room left on the bed for me, and in what little room I have, I spend the night getting kicked and shoved. It's not relaxing in the least. So maybe I'll lay off the prejudice against smaller breeds, after having spent such a lovely night with a sweet old terrier.

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