Monday, December 05, 2005


I'm vacationing on beautiful Don Pedro Island, Florida. Those that know me are probably asking "Vacationing from what? You're whole life is a vacation!" Actually, I'm sort of working here. I'm babysitting my sister's 3 dogs while she and her husband are away. One of the pups, Lizzie, is a "special needs" baby. She's blind and almost deaf, but when it comes to email writing, she's quite prolific as evidenced by the email that I received from her last month -

Hi Sue,
It's Lizzie here - I thought I'd write a quick note to say how excited I am that you'll be coming to Florda to take care of me. I'm currently writing an essay on my typical day so you know what to expect. I should have it done by the end of the day.

And, as promised, she emailed her essay to me by the end of the day:
My typical day… by Lizzie

I sleep in a cage. Mom calls it a “condo” because she thinks that makes me feel better about it. When I wake up I want out… OUT I said. So I cry and whine until Mom gets up. I try to wait until she’s awake, but sometimes she sleeps past 6:15… lazy girl.

Mom opens the door, picks me up and carries me to the kitchen where she feeds me and my brothers. Keil eats like a PIG, he’s done in seconds. I like to savor my fine dry dog food. As soon as Keil and Ben are done eating Mom opens the door and lets them go downstairs on their own. She then waits for me to finish and carries me down the stairs. She takes me out the entrance by the barbeque grill. And if the boys have wondered off she calls for them to come over in the same area. Sometimes I hear her mumble about the boys wondering too close to the street. One time Keil went way down the street toward the bridge and mom was mad at him for days! But I digress…

I’m quick; I know what I’m outside to do. I poop, then pee… but don’t rush me, sometimes I poop again. I then get a lift upstairs where Mom helps me find the water bowl and then I lie down for my first nap of the day. If mom watches the morning show on TV I nap on her lap, but now that she has high speed internet, she puts two pillows on the floor by her feet and all three of us nap there. The clicking of the keyboard lulls us to slumber.

When I awake… usually around 9:30 I might start to wander. That can only mean 2 things… I need to pee/poop, or I need water. If I didn’t drink earlier, that usually is what it means. Mom has a big gold cup with my name on it that she often brings to me to drink out of. It’s easier for her than leading me to the water bowl. If I still wander, it might mean I need my second pee/poop break. What… you don’t poop 3 times before 10 AM???? Mom always gives all 3 of us treats when we finish our second bathroom break of the morning.

Once that’s done, I usually settle in for my next nap. If it’s sunny and nice mom has the living room doors wide open and I find a sunny spot to lie down. Meanwhile Ben is spending all of his day following mom’s every foot step and Keil is barking at the passer-bys… until mom puts his barker collar on him. Mom always takes the collar off at night once we settle in to watch TV, but in the morning, if he starts barking, she puts it back on him again. That dog just does not learn!
Editor’s note: If Keil barks with the collar on, it will eventually empty, and need to be refilled. To refill, take the blue canister with “citronella” on it and while holding it upside down firmly insert the nozzle in the hole in the top of the collar. It will only go in the hole with the circle ring in the middle. The other hole is the sprayer.

Sometimes I wake from my nap and find a new place to nap; it’s usually just feet away from my first spot… no point in tiring me out. If I wander too long Mom assumes the same as paragraph 4… and out I go again. Mom is always guessing when I have to go to the bathroom. The boys are a little more obvious. They go stand by the door. I would do that too, but I can’t find the door. When the boys stand by the door mom will just open it and let them go down. Sometimes Keil won’t go unless she goes with him… I’m not sure if he’s afraid to go by himself, or if he just wants mom’s company. Sometimes she tricks him by starting down a few steps, he runs ahead and doesn’t notice that she has stopped and came back upstairs. I never said he was a smart dog.

The day goes by until it gets close to 5 PM. That’s when we think we should get dinner… well Ben thinks closer to 4 PM would be better. But mom makes us wait until at least 5, and she tries for 6 but sometimes gives in to the whining, jumping, and overall nuisance behavior. We all get fed, and then mom lets the boys go out and carries me. This time I poop and pee, I seldom poop twice after dinner, it just seems wrong.

Once back upstairs I look for a place to nap, once it gets dark mom closes the doors to the outside. Even though there are screens she complains of a little bug called a no-see-um. Apparently they go through the screen and annoy her. The rest of the evening consist of waiting… just waiting until mom decides to sit down for the night to watch TV. In the new leather chair she pulls the ottoman close. I get the lap, Ben gets to sit beside her leg, and Keil cuddles on the ottoman. If I fidget while I’m on her lap that means only two things… water (thank goodness for the gold cup at her side) or it’s bathroom time again.

Mom and Dad try to stay up until 11, but Ben likes to go to bed earlier. So about 9:30 or 10 he stands by the door and looks longingly at mom. Sometimes she opens the door, lets him go out and then he goes to bed by himself. I’m not sure if he really wants to go to bed or just wants the treat we always get at bedtime. When it finally is bedtime, mom and dad shut off the TV, that click is our clue, but if that isn’t enough mom shouts “last call”. We know what that means. The boys climb downstairs while I get a ride down. We’re usually quick at last call, because we know we get a treat when we go to bed. The boys sleep on the blanket that’s in the bedroom, and mom puts me in my “condo”.
Editor’s note: The condo will be in the guest room when you arrive. The purple blanket in the living room is what the boys sleep on. It’s in the bedroom at night and I drag it to the living room during the day.

We sleep through the night awaiting our morning meal. As you can see, we lead a simple life, sleep, eat, poop, pee, drink, treats, lap time… that’s all there is to it. The more lap time, the better.

PS I eat poop. Mom hates it. So when I’m outside she watches me and yells if I start to sniff toward a poop. I play deaf. So she follows me around and taps me on the butt if my nose gets to close. Sometimes I ignore that too. This is all very fun for me, and sometimes she’s busy watching the other dogs and I’m quick. Score one for me.

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