Going to the Dogs

Ten years or so ago, when I was a regular blogger, one of my readers told me that she liked the way I started out as if I were going to write about one thing, then pivoted to my real subject in the second paragraph.  As this post will show, I still do it, not because it is my signature style but because I am easily distracted by shiny words, interesting figures of speech and sidelights.   For example, this post set out to talk about how my wife Muri and I (who are cat people) ended up dog-sitting three dogs.  But when Going to the Dogs came up as a possible title, I was distracted by the origin of the saying, which according to theidiom.com originated as follows: As far back as the 1500s, bad or stale food that was not thought to be suitable for human consumption was thrown to the dogs. The expression caught on and expanded to include any person or thing that came to a bad end, was ruined, or looked terrible.   On the other hand, according to phrases.org.uk , if you speak of ‘the dogs’ in the UK you be assumed to be talking about greyhound racing, a popular pastime since the early 20th century.  For the roughly 4 million people/year who go to the track, ‘Going to the Dogs’ suggests a good adventure.  Hmm.  Not for the dogs.  Mistreatment of dogs in greyhound racing has led to the closing of many dog tracks in the US and we’ve all seen dog lovers walking their rescued greyhounds in the park.

tysonMy wife Muri and I have only had cats, one at a time.  I didn’t mind dogs but never wanted one and Muri was a little bit afraid of them, the result of being bitten as a child.  When we moved here to Utah two years ago, we adopted Tyson, a tuxedo that we love dearly.  But since our grandkids live nearby, we see our granddogs regularly and we’ve come to love them, too.  So, for five days after Christmas while Mom and Dad took our grandkids to Disneyworld we watched the dogs.  They are: Bob (the youngest, a Golden Doodle); Agnes (a black Golden Doodle); and Darla (a King Charles Cavalier), the matriarch of the pack.   We found ourselves driving, every three or four hours, to our daughter’s house to let the dogs out and do the other doggie tasks.   It snowed the night our grandkids left, about eight inches and the temperatures fell into the teens so there I was, freezing my tochis off on the back porch, shouting Go Potty to three dogs frolicking in the snow.  My daughter tells them to Go Potty so we assumed that’s what they’d understand.  A friend of ours, by the way, trained a guide dog for the blind and they were taught to teach the dog to respond to Get Busy.  I tried Get Busy on my granddogs and it worked just as well as Go Potty.  In other words, they went when they were ready to.

The dogs came in covered with snow and needed to be wiped down when they came in.  We fed them twice a day and administered meds to Darla twice a day.   She’s getting on in years needs heart meds which we wrapped in bread.  Naturally, Bob and Agnes got a piece of bread, too.  No meds, though.  They didn’t seem to mind.  And of course, being dogs, they craved lots of attention.  After a few hours, we’d head back to our house to spend some quality time with Tyson.  We slept at our daughter’s house because the dogs need to go out first thing in the morning.  Tyson, being a cat, didn’t seem to mind and climbed right into my lap when I came home.

Is there a point to this ramble?  Well, I never thought we’d dog sit.  I never thought we’d like three dogs as much as we like Darla, Bob and Agnes.  So, never say never.  Dogs are a lot of work compared to a cat so even though it was a fun it was also exhausting.  I guess you can say we’ve Gone to the Dogs … but the dogs are still not coming to us.

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