Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Adios Oreo

Well, it turns out Paula didn't come through although I couldn't really blame her. She lives in a small apartment without air conditioning and she's already taking care of someone else's dog on a semi-permanent basis. So it didn't really make sense to send Oreo to her place.

I was, of course, disappointed by this turn of events. But I kind of expected that this would happen and I had steeled myself for another round of Oreocare. Yet I couldn't let go of the idea of a four-day mini-vacation for me. Four days of having the whole house to myself sure was inviting.

So I asked Cheryl to try the backup plan. Earlier on, she had made a reservation for Oreo at his doggie resort in the country. But when Paula initially offered to take the pup, Cheryl cancelled the reservation. Although we were only days away from the camping trip and the doggie resort fills up quickly, I figured why not get Cheryl to check and see if there was still room. She was not optimistic but it never hurts to ask.

Well, you guessed it; there was room at the inn. Since the weekend was booked up, we had to pay an extra "squeeze-in" fee for those two days but it was well worth it.

Since the campsite Sarah, Cheryl, Susan and Shayla are going to is a seven-hour drive away, they've decided to take two days to get there. So that means departure day is tomorrow. Cheryl and Sarah will drive Oreo to his resort before returning to Ottawa to pick up Susan and Shayla to begin their westward journey.

That means that when I get home from work tomorrow evening, I'll be all alone. It should be the start of what will now be a restful five-day break. I'm looking forward to all the alone time to read, watch movies, eat unhealthy food and sleep. But despite my upcoming life of leisure, I know I'll miss Cheryl and Sarah. The $64 question of course is: Will I miss Oreo? Maybe just a little bit. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


An Easy Choice

Next week Cheryl and Sarah are going on a four-day camping trip and leaving me at home to luxuriate in the rare delight of solitude. At least that's what I envisioned until I remembered that Oreo is not going camping.

Although Oreo is not a high maintenance dog, the thought of again being his sole caregiver put an immediate damper on my bachelor dreams. Being alone means staying up late watching movies that no one else in the family wants to see and then sleeping in until ten in the morning. Being with Oreo means going to bed at ten so I won't be a wreck when he wakes me up at six for his breakfast and a walk.

Being alone means going where and when I want during the day and not having to check in with someone else. Being with Oreo means being back home by noon to feed him again and let him out to do his business.

Being alone means a restful evening alone eating steak, drinking red wine and watching movies. Being with Oreo means more dog feeding, backyard cleaning, walking and playing with doggie toys.

But all is not lost. Cheryl suggested that we leave Oreo with her friend Paula who is a veteran dog lover. At first I thought that I would be wimping out by pawning him off on someone else. But the more I thought of it, the more the idea appealed to me. So I said "yes" and now I'm crossing my fingers that Paula will come through.

Let's face it; even the best of friends need some time apart. So if the best of friends need some "me time", then Oreo and I definitely need a break.

Monday, July 10, 2006


What's In A Name?

After living with Oreo for more than a year, I think I have developed a foolproof method for determining how you feel about a particular pet in your home. It all has to do with the number of names you assign to the animal.

As I repeatedly note, I remain ambivalent about Oreo. This is readily apparent from the limited number of names I use to address him. There's "Oreo", of course, and "puppy" and if he's headed for the garbage or the garden, I loudly employ "Hey you."

My wife Cheryl on the other hand has a seemingly endless list of monikers and terms of endearment for Oreo. There's "Oreo", "McSnoreo", "Oreoodle" and "McDoodle." Then there's "Sweetie", "Sweetums" and "Honey." A whole series of names derives from his puppy status as in "Puppeeee", "Puppy doodle dandy", "The pup", "Puppet", "Puppy boy" and even "The pupperatzi."

As you can see, based solely on the number of names, there is little doubt about who likes Oreo more. My only concern is that Cheryl generally only refers to me as "Dave" or "Hey you." I think you know who in our household is more likely to end up in the doghouse.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Walking the Dog

It's been awhile since I last posted on this blog. Part of the reason is a series of home-related mini-crises involving the computer, the toilet, the kitchen light fixture and the furnace. The other part of the reason is that my wife Cheryl took a ten-trip to Italy leaving me to take care of Oreo and my daughter Sarah.

Cheryl got back last night and I was relieved to hand the leash back to her. As I reported, Oreo was fine for the ten days but Sarah wouldn't stop licking my legs and digging up the garden. Or was it the other way around?

For someone who was a reluctant dog owner, Cheryl's absence was a challenge. Although I had taken Oreo for the odd walk, for ten days I was the only one walking him, feeding him and cleaning up after him. The happy ending to this story would be me expressing the revelation that I loved walking Oreo and that he's the best darned dog in the whole wide world.

The actual ending to this story is that I still cannot fathom why people own dogs. Admittedly, walking Oreo was not as bad as I thought it would be. Walking him twice a day forced me to get some exercise and to even occasionally socialize with neighbors I met on our route.

But the mindless routine of feeding, walking and cleaning up after a canine did nothing for my spirit except underscore my longing for Cheryl's return. Having a dog seems like a never ending sentence to servitude. The tail wagging and enthusiastic greetings are hardly sufficient payback for all the work. If a dog is man's best friend, it's because the dog has one sweet deal.

In fairness, Oreo is still not much more than a year old. In dog years, he's probably a teenager which means we had no more chance of getting along than a 56-year old father would with a teenaged son.

I have not written off my relationship with Oreo yet. As we both age, there's still hope that we will come to some mutually satisfactory arrangement that may result in something resembling a friendship. Stay tuned.

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