We (husband & dogs) visited my in-laws this past weekend for five days. The drive was 4-5 hours and both dogs did well. Louis just sleeps. He is good as long as he can lay in a confined space or in a lap. Even in a crate in the car, it's too much room to move around and he will throw up. I was proud of Louis on this trip because it was full of people. But I also have two things to vent about!
First, I'm proud of him because he was able to hang out with 6 adults and 2 toddlers. He was fine with the kids as long as they didn't stare or try to hover around him. He did bark at one of them but I just shooed him away. Even among all the people and commotion, AND being off leash - he did not salivate so I know he wasn't nervous (he salivates at the dog park cause he hates it there, and at the vet's office). He's good off leash but only with me unfortunately. He was out with my husband and father-in-law and they lost him for a few minutes, and found him walking down the street (I suspect looking for me). When he's with me, he sticks right by my side, and if he walks off, he does not go far.
My first complaint about the trip was my brother-in-law's reactions to my husband's suggestion on how to pet Louis. My BIL looked interested in petting him, so my husband asked him to pet underneath his chin, not over his head. Louis is a very shy dog and scared of hands and strangers. My BIL just retorted "Don't tell me what to do." I think there was some sibling tension there, but I did not appreciate it coming out regarding our dog. My husband got really pissed cause he was being helpful (not being a canine know-it-all which his brother thought he was being). My husband does not claim to know everything about dogs, but he knows OUR dogs. I tried to reassure him that even strangers don't listen to my advice on how to pet Louis so I just gave up on letting people pet him. It annoys me that people think they know better!!
My second complaint - which tinged the rest of the trip in bitterness - was my cousin's handling of how to take my dogs out. We were going to be gone for 10+ hours one day and I needed someone to stop by the house to let the dogs out to potty. I chose her because I trust her, and thought she'd be a better fit than my BIL, cause she is a girl and Louis is afraid of men, plus my BIL's previous attitude did not please me.
I tried to get her to come by the house to meet Louis the night before we were to leave, but she couldn't make it due to work. She said she would call so that I could inform her about the dogs. It got really late and I couldn't stay up any longer because I had to wake up early the next day. So I sent her a very detailed text message on instructions on how to take the dogs out. Mainly it was about Louis because he is a quirky, fearful dog. I texted:
Take Louis out first. He is scared of strangers and hands petting him over the head. If you want to pet him, don't force it, pet underneath his chin. Hopefully he'll let you put a leash on him. Put the leash on him right when you open the crate, don't let him run out cause he might hide under the bed. If you can't clip the blue leash on him, use the yellow slip leash (lasso him). You will have to walk him around the block till he pees at least four times (he loves to mark). If he poops don't let him sniff his poop cause he'll try to eat it. Hopefully he'll follow you and eliminate. He might resist and may be too nervous to pee. But coax him to walk and he'll pee. Take him back to the house and put him back in his crate (unclip leash).
My cousin called me right after I sent her the text. She said how I sent her a novel. I asked if she read it and she confirmed that she did. We decided on a time that she'd stop by the house, 3PM, and we got off the phone.
I left the dogs crated at 8:30 AM, fast forward to around 5:30PM - I get a phonecall from her as we are driving back home - that she can't get a hold of Louis. He keeps running away from her. He keeps growling at her. He's under the bed and she can't get him out. She also adds, "Oh, and he pooped on the treadmill, and under the bed." He pooped four times because he was so scared. By this point I'm really annoyed. I asked her how she let him out. She says "Oh I just opened the crate and let him run out with the rest of the dogs." (She brought her dog) I specifically had asked her to take Louis out first, then my other dog. Not a free-for-all let all the dogs out! I asked her why she would do that when I specifically asked her to NOT let Louis run out like that. It turns out - SHE NEVER READ MY TEXT. At this point I was furious.
Before we got home, she was able to catch him and put him back in his crate. She was able to get the leash on him and walk him. She told me he peed twice. I confronted her why she didn't read my text. She treated it like it was no big deal, and that I was crazy for making a big deal out of it. After arguing several times over a couple of days, the excuses were that the text was too long to read, that if it's more than three lines she won't read it, that she didn't read it cause she was drunk when she received it (even though she told me she read it when we spoke on the phone), that I'm nuts for writing such a long text message, that even though she said she'd be at the house at 3 PM, she really got lunch first, so I think she stopped by at 5 PM instead. I appreciate that she stopped by to help me out, but I am very disappointed that she can't follow simple, yet specific directions. I really commiserate with you guys who take your dogs to get groomed and tell them one thing, and they come out looking like the total opposite of what you instructed the groomer to do. That was how I felt!! Sure, my dogs weren't dead and they were fine when I got home, but I'm angry that she traumatized my dog. She told me to "chill out," and that she was providing much needed socialization to my dog. In order for her to coax Louis out from under the bed, she fed him cheese and candy!! Needless to say, Louis had diarrhea the next day. She also brought her friend with her who fed my other dog candy, AND let him off leash (when I told her not to), so when I got home they said how much fun he had running in 10 neighbors' yards (most of the houses there do not have fences).
I really have a hard time trusting people to take care of my animals and I really did not need this mess to happen to me. Especially from my cousin who I thought I could trust. Perhaps I put too much trust in her to read my text, and not giving her verbal instructions. I felt that she would forget verbal instructions and that the text would be better so she could have something to refer to if she forgot anything. Lesson learned for me! I was going to get her to work with/for me when I start my dog grooming business but I decided against it. She revealed to me her immaturity, and her cavalier attitude towards my instructions makes me angry.
A lot of people think I'm a neurotic [email protected]
when it comes to my dogs. I needed a place to vent to other dog people to alleviate my annoyance! I will be going on vacation for a week in the next few months and I'm very anxious about it. I had asked a friend to watch our cats for a week once - all she had to do was stop by the house. Well she screwed up following directions - like when we stressed setting the alarm and locking the house - it was never done. Thank god we weren't robbed and that the door didn't blow open and the cats didn't escape (which has happened before). We also had a friend watch my other dog once - I left a 7-page list of instructions - that my husband told me I was crazy to write and that no one would read it - and yes, our friend didn't read it (but I also went over it verbally). But even when I told him that he could give a tendon chew to my dog to keep him occupied if he wanted to relax, that it'd be okay - instead our friend gave the tendon chew to my dog in his crate, crated him, and left for work. Thanks for watching my dog but thank god he isn't DEAD (from the choking hazard)!! *sigh* It's small things here and there I feel like people are incompetent to carry out. I wish I could clone myself so that one copy could stay with my dogs and the other one can go on vacation.
If you've made it this far reading this, thank you! You may think I'm a crazy nutcase - but I pride myself in taking care of other people's pets, like how the OWNER wants their pets to me taken care of, not how I want them taken care of. I am a dog groomer and know that if I cannot follow specific instructions from a client, I will not have any business! I double and triple check with clients to make sure I'm doing everything they asked me to do, and not to do anything they don't want. If I had hired a dogwalker to let my dogs out and they did what my cousin did, they would be fired on the spot.