So we’re going to the beach for the weekend in a few weeks. Jen’s aunt and uncle co-own a beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey, so we after the rental season winds down, we usually get a free weekend in the fall. I think I’ve probably written about it before.

Anyway, this leaves us with what is becoming a common conundrum: what to do with the dog?

We used to call my mom’s neighbor, but she recently adopted Max, and Jack and Max kinda get along, but they’re not good buddies or anything, so that may not be a bad idea. We had a very nice girl from our church watch Jack over the summer, but she’s gone away to college.

But I digress.

Thinking about a dogsitter recently got me thinking about some of my own dogsitting experiences.

About thirteen or fourteen years ago, Jen and I were teaching fourth grade Sunday School at the church we were attending. One Sunday, The parents of one of our students asked me if I’d be willing to watch their house and take care of their dogs while they went away on a trip. I love dogs, and I knew they had a big Rottweiler (among some other pooches), so I agreed.

They lived in a big old house in the country, about a half an hour’s drive from my parent’s house (this was before I had moved out). I was kind of looking forward to a weekend of relative solitude out there by myself with just the dogs. So I packed up my Macintosh Classic (thinking about lugging that thing around like I used to makes me so glad to have a laptop now) and headed out to the country.

On Friday night, I settled in, made some dinner for myself, fed the dogs, and sat down at my computer for a couple hours. Two of the dogs were hunting dogs, and they lived outside (note: these were not my dogs and if you want to point out that pets belong inside, you won’t get an argument from me). But Tasha, the big Rottweiler, lived inside. She was a really cool dog. She was big and strong enough to treat me like a squeaky toy if she wanted to, but she was very gentle and playful.

RottweilerAnyway, I eventually decided to get some sleep, probably some time after midnight. I stretched out on the couch in the living room, with Tasha on the floor next to me. As I started to drift off, I noticed Tasha moving. Having grown up with dogs, I figured she heard or saw something, and she went to check it out. She went to the back door, then to the front door, then to each window on the ground floor. Then she stared out one window for a few moments before lying back down.

About an hour later (sometimes it takes me a while to fall asleep), she did it again. Back door, front door, each window, staring out the window, then lying back down.

It took me until about the third or fourth time that she did this for me to realize that she wasn’t merely checking out a sound she heard. She was on patrol. She was the guard dog, and she apparently took her job quite seriously. I think that inside her big old doggie brain, I wasn’t there to take care of her. Not at all. You see, inside her big old doggie brain, she was there to take care of me.

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