If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you may know that our family also includes a miniature dachshund (or wiener dog…or sausage dog…or whatever you like to call the strange looking breed with the ridiculously long bodies, the abnormally short legs, and the sharp eyes that could spot a cheeseburger from ten miles away).
Just to recap, his name is Oscar, he’s eleven years old (or seventy-seven in dog years), and he drives me bat-shit-crazy. When he’s not laying in his over-sized bed, wrapped up in layers and layers of blankets and taking his millionth nap of the day (because all he seems to do now is sleep), he’s getting into trouble. One of his very favorite activities is sneaking up to our bedroom, knocking over the wastepaper basket with his far-too-long snout, and proceeding to eat each and every crusty tissue that he can find. The more snot, the better. These sausage dogs are obsessed with tissues – ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s true.
And after he’s gorged himself on the contents of the bin, he then likes to barf up the semi-digested tissues all over our bed. His favorite time to do this is usually just after I’ve put fresh sheets on the bed. Evidently, there’s nothing more satisfying to a dog than to cover a clean duvet in chunky vomit.
If you’ve just up-chucked your lunch or dinner (or tissues if you’re gross like Oscar) while reading this, I do apologize. But there’s no denying the truth….this is the reality of living with our dog.
The older Oscar gets, the more issues he seems to have and the more care we need to take with him. I guess the same will apply for all of us when we reach our late seventies. He has arthritis in his joints, he tends to have trouble with his neck from time to time, and his stomach seems to reek havoc on him constantly. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that he has a fondness for eating fresh rabbit poo (and considering our neighborhood seems to have an infestation of rabbits running around, there’s plenty of it for him to munch on). Basically, he has a penchant for eating everything that he shouldn’t. We try to stop him, but he’s so low to the ground that by the time we spot the rabbit poo, he’s already chewing on it. And if you think that I’m going to pry open his jaws and remove the half-eaten poo piece-by-piece, you’ve clearly been smoking something exotic. I’m just not that kind of girl.
So when it came time for us to have a family weekend away in the mountains, I was stressed about what to do with Oscar. He couldn’t come with us and he’s too cranky to leave with any of our friends (and I’d feel horrible if he barfed up on their sheets, too). He used to stay at a veterinary hospital that boards pets, but he’d always scratch up his nose on the bars of the kennel. And he refused to eat anything while he was there, so he ended up looking less like a hot dog and more like a chicken bone. He may drive me up the walls and infuriate me from time to time, but I do love the little flea bag.
I spent days trolling through website after website, looking for a place that looked clean and welcoming, yet wouldn’t cost the equivalent of three months of preschool tuition just for a four-night stay. And then I spotted a place called the “Country Club Pet Resort”. In all honestly, I didn’t hold out any hope whatsoever. The name just sounded so posh and elite. I was looking for something along the lines of the “Pet Travel Lodge”, or the “Holiday Dog Inn”. You know…something more in our league.
But I was running out of options, so I gave the “Country Club Pet Resort” a call. A chirpy sounding woman answered the phone and I explained that I was looking for a place to board our dog while we were away. I was just about to tell her the dates that we needed to book, when she interrupted with “First, tell me about him.”
“About who?” I asked her.
“Your dog,” she replied. “Tell me what he’s like.”
Oh, of course. My dog. Didn’t I feel like a moron. I started to give her loads of details….his name, the type of dog he is, how old he is. I was just explaining that he is up to date on all of his vaccinations when she interrupted again with “Ok, that’s all great, but now tell me about his personality. What’s Oscar like?”
“Ummm, well…he’s a sweet dog, but he can also be a bit feisty,” I began, as I started to delve into the kind of complicated and misunderstood dog that Oscar is. “He’s a total lap dog and likes lots of love and attention. He loves his walks, as long as they’re not too long because he has short legs. When he’s on the leash, he’s protective, but he’s very submissive when he’s running free. He barks a lot….he sleeps most of the day….uh, he likes to steal food….ummmm….”
I was running out of things to say. Our conversation was starting to feel more like an interview than a kennel booking.
“Oh, he sounds so sweet. Such a little angel,” she commented.
Angel? I wouldn’t go that far. Perhaps I should have mentioned his fondness for dry-humping people’s arms. And for dragging his butt along the carpet and leaving a long smear of poop behind him. Oh well, no harm in leaving a little mystery, right?
“Given his age, it would be best if we booked him into the geriatric wing of our resort,” she explained. “He’ll be very comfortable there and he’ll get lots of special care from our staff.”
They have an entire geriatric wing, I thought to myself. An entire wing just for the old dogs.
“Now, each room has a heated floor, a fluffy mat that sits underneath his bed, and each dog receives two thick blankets. All of the bedding is switched out with clean bedding on a daily basis, or whenever they need it. It’s nice and cozy for them.”
A heated floor? I checked my phone to make sure that I hadn’t dialed the Fairmont Hotel by accident.
“Oscar will have his own fenced-in grass area to run around in and do his business whenever he needs to. We can also take him for regular walks around our grounds if he’s up to it. We’ll feed him according to your schedule.”
Wait…we have a schedule? His dinner usually happens sometime between 5pm and whenever I remember after the kids are in bed. I never forget, but we’re hardly scheduled. I’m such a horrible pet owner. I made a mental note to give him a few extra treats when I was off the phone.
“And twice a day, one of our staff will go in and sit with him and give him all of the love and cuddles that he can handle. The dogs love this part. And so do our staff!” She giggled loudly down the phone.
It was official….Oscar would never want to leave the “Country Club Pet Resort”. Ever.
“And would you like him to have any spa treatments while he’s here? We even have a pool for the dogs,” she explained.
Spa treatments? Seriously? I had no idea that places like this actually existed. I was speechless.
“No, that’s ok. Maybe on his next visit,” I told her. Frankly, Oscar would be shocked enough with the heated floors and the scheduled cuddle sessions. A spa treatment on top of everything else might just give the old fart a heart attack.
“Well, he’s all booked in,” she explained. She told me the daily charge and it was considerably cheaper than any of the other kennels that I’d called. I nearly passed out from the shock. There had to be a catch.
Before long, the big day rolled around and we all piled into our mama van to take Oscar to the country club. As we drove along the sprawling fields and passed farm after farm, I started to feel a bit nervous. What if it wasn’t as wonderful as it seemed? What if one of the other dogs attacked him? What if he managed to escape from the country club? Pain in the ass or not, he’s still our first ‘baby’.
But just as I started to second guess everything, the front gates of the “Country Club Pet Resort” came into sight. As we drove through the entrance, we were greeted by two donkeys who were frolicking in a fenced-in area and definitely didn’t look neglected.
“Look at the ponies!” the boys shouted from the back seat.
“They’re donkeys, Guys,” the Hubby corrected them. We really need to start taking our city kids out into the country more often, I thought to myself.
The place really was as green and beautiful as I imagined. I started to wonder if there was maybe a wing for humans. I wouldn’t mind snoozing on a heated floor and taking a dip in a dog pool. All of the barking might get to me, but I could always put in some ear plugs.
We drove over to the geriatric wing and as promised, the woman in charge was waiting at the gate for Oscar. As soon as we opened the car door, he raised his nose up and began sniffing the air. The woman opened the gate and as soon as we were inside, Oscar was whining to be put down on the ground. He ran right over to a green area, where he sniffed every inch of the fence and peed on practically every blade of grass that passed underneath his belly. Clearly somebody wasn’t feeling nervous at all.
We tried to call him back over to us to give him a tummy rub and say goodbye, but he didn’t seem to hear us. Or he didn’t care. I’m guessing it was probably the latter. The woman wished us a nice holiday and as I turned to thank her, I noticed that she had three black, dime-sized dog paws tattooed behind her right ear. This was a woman who definitely loved her job.
As we walked back to our mama van, I turned to the Hubby and asked, “So what are the chances that Oscar will ever want to come home with us again?”
He smirked at me and got into the van. I looked back and saw Oscar rolling on his back in the grass. He was in paradise and we were old news.
The nice thing about small dogs is that whenever they don’t want to go somewhere, you can just scoop them up and take them there yourself. We had to do exactly that when we returned to pick Oscar up. I explained to him that we can’t afford to board him at the country club for the remainder of his life, but he doesn’t understand English, so he had no clue what I was talking about. He sulked for the next four days.
If Oscar should ever escape from our back yard, I’ll know exactly where to find him.