Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taking Care of the Pets I do not Own!


I often write about the dogs that I inherited from my children. I remind the kids often that despite what they may believe, I do not own any pets. I am the care taker of their pets. I was recently asked 'how to keep the dogs busy?" by a writer for MSNBC and thought it must be a slow news cycle. Since she was serious, I thought long and hard and penned a response. My response generated enough interest that I thought I might as well share with you folks.

My three children are very athletic and through out the year the dogs worked out with them. Emphasis on them, the children. Not me, the mom.

When my oldest son, Franz, went off to college and the younger children spent more hours commuting to their extra curricular activities, I was left with dogs that loved a lot of attention and were kept to a schedule of activities that included working out through out the day. With less people to work out with, their behavior took on a depressive state. They were missing one or more of the children and they were not as active. I noticed how odd they were behaving and commented on it to the kids. They said, "mom, you got to keep them busy. You got to do more than walk them".

Hmm, let me get this straight...I did not run track, I did not play basketball or football and they are not my dogs. My kids are the athletes. I was mom. The dogs were trained to run around the track, up and down hills, treadmills, and one dog was my daughter's cheerleader. He follows her to the neighborhood bball court and jumps every time she makes a three pointer. (no kidding, her tutorial school loves him so much he is now their mascot!)

My life is busy. I am running two businesses, home schooling, and driving from Hermitage to Green Hills to Hendersonville almost daily; trying to keep dogs active seems a little too much for me. I am a thinking woman and decided I would not be stumped by three dogs dying for a work out. To get the dogs back into the 'busyiness' of work out schedules, I went to a consignment store and bought outdoor toys for the dogs to play on. I got them a slide so they could climb up steps and run down the slide. I was given a treadmill and they love it. I found anything that they could climb up and jump on. I bought a bubble tent that they love. It is bean bag type tent filled with plastic balls that they like to hide under and hang out in for hours. It has hundreds of balls for the dogs to play with and dive on. I bought several "little tike" toys including the wagon which I would put the little one, Onyx, in and the one of the larger dogs would literally pull the wagon with the dog in it. My neighbors have always thought we were crazy but they seem to love the entertainment of the dog circus going on in my backyard.

My kids live an active lifestyle, I did not realize how active, until the Franz went to college. Now that I have learned how to keep Beauty, Blue, and a pedigree,Onyx, happy; I managed to loose twenty pounds keeping up with the dogs. When I work out in the mornings, I got a little buddy, Onyx, right next to me getting his groove on. Franz, a recent college grad, came by two weeks ago with two new dogs in tow. I took one look at them playing with the other dogs and I very kindly asked him to leave and take his little ones with him. He looked stunned. I looked determine. Everyone got the message.

Life is good.

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