Monday, January 10, 2011

I had a job - and a dog - for a week!

(Or did I have a dog and a job?) It all started because the original dog nanny, whom I shall call the Brunhilde of Barichara, decided she could not keep the dog at her house after all. This left the owner with few options and I received a call from my doctor friend asking if I could “take care of two small dogs for a week or so.”
Scott, the dog, lives in the little casita (you can see the roof
of it behind him
) on my rental property with his artist owner.
Well, I already have a dog living here. Scott, who belongs to an artist fellow, lives with his owner in the casita here on the property. Scott was here first. And he comes up every morning around 7 a.m. to check on me, get a few pats and then he leaves and shortly thereafter he heads off with his owner to the space where his owner works until lunchtime.
I discussed it with the artist and we agreed that if the small dogs of unknown sex could get along with Scott it might work. I called the doctor back and she said the local vet had my number and would be getting in contact with me. Really no time at all elapsed before the vet was calling me to say she was at the gate with the dog. As my readers know, my Spanish is not great and I thought I heard her say, “dog,” not “dogs,” but she hung up before I could ask her to repeat herself.
Imagine my surprise when something the size of a pony (Who was it on one of the blogs that was recently looking for one?) bounded through the gate and like Marmaduke planted two enormous - and dirty - paws on my chest. Since it appeared that Scott and this new creature, named Arena (means ‘sand’ in Spanish), were getting on, we agreed she should stay.
Arena is listening to some sound coming from outside and probably
getting ready to bark She is loud enough that you might be able to hear her!
And so began my first job in Colombia... as a dog nanny charged out at the going rate for Colombia day workers, $20,000 CP (Colombian Pesos) which is the equivalent of about $9-10 USD. My task was to feed this lovely Wiemeraner twice a day, clean up poops the size a small horse might leave and occasionally walk her.
It gradually came to light that Arena is rather mal-adjusted. She is exceptionally needy and anxious, so this means she must put her huge head in your lap several times a day, no matter what you might be doing, and often this is accompanied by drool which dampens the area like a cup of water being spilled on you. And she follows you everywhere... and I mean, EVERYWHERE. No matter where I went, she was there by my side, like a really annoying boyfriend who only wants to please you by anticipating your every whim or need and being there to provide it.
Unless we were going for a walk... then she was like quicksilver and disappeared over the top of the hill before I even knew she was going. Her other ill adaptation is that if another dog approaches, then she is quick to circle around me and make sure that the other dog does not get near enough for a pat - just like a jealous boyfriend who wants to be sure that no one else gets close to you.
Scott, who is an average Joe kind of dog, is well-adjusted and knows he is a dog. He tried to get Arena to play with him, and was put off by her jealousy and neediness. After several attempts he simply walked off to his own casita leaving her to drool on me.
Arena really does not think she should be a dog on the
floor! I think she believes she is a princess trapped in a
dog's body for an indefinite length of time.
I had to take a day away and ended up leaving her in Scott’s custodial care. I returned to find her lying exhausted on the sofa - NO! No! Bad Dog! - and while she skulked off aware of her misdemeanor, she did not act particularly sorry about what she had done. And judging from Scott’s happy dog smile, he had had a good day playing chase, nip and tuck, and other doggie games with her.
So the week has progressed, and Arena has been more dog-like and less anxious, learning to lie down someplace near me instead of on my feet or trying to drool on my sketch pad. She is still, however, basically jealous and demanding, a creature that is probably too old at 8 to do much changing. And her owner doesn’t see the problems because they only really show up when Arena is farmed out because the owner is away.
She is also smart, but like another Weimeraner I knew named “Jake,” she is inclined to be stubborn and when I won’t let her into the kitchen while I am cooking, she sulks and growls on her mat within view of me. At night she groans and complains in a rather deep voice about how she should really be on the bed and I guess she thinks I should be on the floor on her mat.
It has been an interesting week and pretty well reaffirmed for me that I am not ready to take on any kind of permanent dog partner. Partly because I am not fully settled in with my pensioner visa yet and have to do too much traveling back to the U.S. until that is settled, and partly because I don’t really know what kind of dog companion I would like, except that large dogs are definitely O-U-T. If I have to clean up the effluence of a four-legged creature that leaves huge dumps, I might as well have a horse... or a pony.


  1. You have to admit, she is beautiful. May be, just may be, I'll think of something else to ask Santa for next year. x

  2. Wow, we actually walked by one of these today - not this one obviously! Buddy was a good boy and didn't growl. ;D

    Bud also has taken ages to be away from either of us at the same time and now just follows if we get up as there may be food!

  3. What a gorgeous girl! I'm a real softy when it comes to critters.... I even feed "my" possums that live in the woodpile on the carport! Pablo and Paloma Possum. *grinning* Have a great weekend, Sandy- It's good to catch up with you.... has been go-go-go for weeks here.

  4. Thanks to you all for your comments... follow up is that Scott's owner had to be away in Bogota for a week, so I ended up spending time with Arena again as the vet takes her for walks regularly and she and Scott have a lovely time checking every hillock along 6 kms!

  5. Well this is a real surprise to find the inner details of the stay of Arena at your place. She is a sweetie although she can be very "intense". I can confirm it with total knowledge of what I am saying, since I am the owner! Once again, thanks for your hospitality and all the care you had with her. Hope to meet you soon.
    PS: Pictures are great!