Mary was a hair dresser and agreed to dog-and-house sit while one of her clients went to Cancun for a week. She was in charge of a ninety-pound chocolate lab named Murray.
Cindy instructed Mary to walk Murray a couple times a day since he was only one and still had puppy energy. She told Mary to put the harness on him but to avoid other dogs because he got excited.
Mary enjoyed the condominium and even the long dog walks that she spent with Murray. She avoided other dogs by crossing the street or going a different way when one was approaching.
One night she was on her way home from a long walk when she spotted a younger woman with two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels in the grass off the wide sidewalk. Mary though she could handle Murray as they passed by the two much smaller dogs.
But Murray had other ideas. He so wanted to play with them that he took off, sending Mary flying through the air. Her glasses flew off her head and she landed in the grass on her hands and stomach. Meanwhile the dog owner grabbed Murray’s leash to catch him and keep him away from her two dogs. A man stepped in to help.
After the scuffle was over, Murray was back in Mary’s possession. She explained that she was the dog sitter and gave the other woman her contact information. Then she hurried home to put ice on her injured finger and to recover from the chaos.
The next day, while Mary was getting an X-ray on her hand, the other woman (let’s call her Barb) sent an angry text that her dog BooBoo’s foot was broken. In the text was a link to the ER vet bill for $1280.00.
Mary explained that she was not the owner but that the owner would be home in two days and was very responsible and would handle it.
Barb’s texts continued for the rest of the day. She told Mary that her dog should be euthanized because it was an aggressive breed. Mary explained again that she was just the dog sitter. The woman insisted that Mary contact Cindy immediately in Cancun, but Mary didn’t want to ruin her client’s vacation and refused to call.
Meanwhile Mary had to cancel her hair appointments because with her sprained knuckle, it was too painful to do hair. She spent the next two days wondering why she had ever agreed to dog and house sit. She was too old to control a ninety pound dog with a harness on, instead of a choke chain or pinch collar. Sure, Cindy could do it, because she was almost thirty years younger and had great upper-body strength.
When Cindy got home, she told Mary she’d handle it and not to worry. She had a lucrative job and could afford the consequences of leaving her almost Medicare-age hairdresser with just a harness to control her huge and exuberant puppy.
The ex-husband of the dog owner got involved and things seemed like they could be settled peacefully. But that was a month ago, and everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Murray, it’s only partly your fault. Some would say it’s not any your fault.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Mary would’ve been instructed to use a pinch collar ($35.00 at your local pet store), she would’ve been able to control the big dog. It is a sad reality that as we women age, we lose strength, and even a mid-sized dog (55 pounds) can be too much for us to control. I know, because I have one such girl, and she knew she could pull me over to her favorite sniffing spot with just a choke chain. Now she wears her pinch collar, and we are both happy. She still gets to go on a walk every day, and I won’t fall and break a hip because she pulled me over.