I’m a terrible animal guardian and I’m going straight to hell. I’ll tell you why…
My animals have their routine down-pat before calling it a night. I say, “Okay, time to go night-night.” The word ‘okay’ prompts all 4 mutts to jump from their coveted positions. I open the patio door and they file outside to do their business one last time. Fortunately it stopped raining last night so I didn’t have to coax anyone out. And by anyone I mean Wally. As you now know, he’s my problem child.
I block the French doors with my foot so my cats don’t make a beeline outside. Nellie heads for the top of the property looking for fresh poop to eat. No doubt she was out of luck last night since it rained for days, so my guess is her nightly snack was inedible mush. I apologize for the gross description, but remember, I have it worse. I’m the one forced to watch Nellie attempt to dislodge the poop stuck on her back molars. It’s hideous.
Skip trots back in with those short, pudgy legs of his, dragging his blanket behind him. He’s so damn cute. But I usually have to send him back out to look for said blanket because his memory sucks worse than mine.
Callie, my camel, stores her pee so when she finally does urinate, it’s like a dam burst open. She’s always first at the door to come back in.
Then Wally enters, having stood on the patio pretending he’s peeing when in actuality he’s looking for something to bark at. It doesn’t really matter to him what it is. Now don’t get me wrong; this behavior is not generally welcome at 1:00 a.m. Just ask my neighbors, Paul and Vicki.
So last night the troops raced upstairs for their respective places in my bedroom. I watched some TV then dozed off an hour later. Then, around 4:30 I heard wailing that woke me from a dead sleep. What was that?! So I got up and walked around the house, checking on my 4 foster cats to see if it came from one of them. Nope.
I figured it was a neighborhood dog and hopped back in bed. But it happened again. It was only then that I took an inventory of my own mutts. Skip, check; Wally, check; Callie, check; Nellie….”Nellie,” where are you?” That’s when I realized I’d left my 12 1/2 year old Greyhound outside in the middle of a winter night. I’d failed to notice she hadn’t come back in with the others. And for that, you know where I’m going…
My poor Nellie, with failing eyesight, urinary issues, thin skin, and little fur to keep her warm, was shivering on the damp patio, her legs and belly wet and caked with mud from lying in the garden (after realizing her neglectful guardian had forgotten her). Too bad she hadn’t been wearing one of her sweaters that make her look ridiculous, yet also adorable at the same time.
Nellie sings when anyone walks by the house but she won’t bark to get my attention. No, she’ll wait for hours in muted silence, willing me to notice she’s not in her bed snoring like someone with severe sleep apnea. So when I finally brought her inside, I wiped her down, hugged her profusely and apologized up the ying-yang.
Minutes later she was curled on her bed, sound asleep, most likely having a nightmare about her unobservant guardian leaving her outside on a chilly winter night. And for something that egregious, I know exactly where I’m going.