Many years ago, before we built the kennel, we would sometimes take dogs into our house. I naively pictured these pets curling up with us in the living room, relaxed and content. I soon came to the realization that, with in-home boarding, dogs that fit this description were few and far between.
I didn’t give a thought to the fact that they could be bad house guests and do unthinkable things – like urinate on my plants or pace the house all night long, drinking constantly out of the toilet bowl. Then there were the ones that chewed my door frame and would jump over the baby gates, breaking them in the process. Peppy wasn’t destructive, but came with his own set of challenges nevertheless.
Peppy arrived later in the evening on a cold winter’s night. His owner was extremely nice, as was Peppy, although the name was quite the misnomer. Peppy was an 18 year old black lab mix. At that time, I knew he was old, but wasn’t experienced enough to actually grasp how old, especially if you converted his age to human years (that’s 126 in case anyone is using the 7 dog years to 1 human year calculation).
Along with Peppy came stacks of blankets – not two or three, but more like a couple dozen. I curiously asked the owner why she had brought so many and she mentioned that Peppy “sometimes” has accidents at night. She had conveniently “forgotten” to tell me this on the phone earlier.
I took a few of the blankets and made Peppy a nice bed on our living room floor. All was well… for the moment, anyway.
Before we went to bed, we took Peppy out for a pee break. We tried to encourage him to get off his blankets, but quickly discovered he wasn’t too great on his feet. When I lifted one end up, the other end would collapse and vice versa. It took two of us to get him standing, albeit, very wobbly, then we took him out the front door.
Needless to say, he wasn’t any better on our snow covered patio stones. We walked slowly up and down the pathway as he balanced precariously on his unsteady geriatric legs. There would be no long walks for this dog. Finally he did his business and we all retired for the night. As I dozed off, I wondered what in the world I was thinking, starting a bed and breakfast for dogs?
The next morning, I was relieved to find that Peppy was still with us, however, I began to realize why there were so many blankets. His entire bed was absolutely saturated with urine, and when I picked up the blankets to wash them, a couple of bowel movements rolled out onto my hardwood floor. Gee, thanks Peppy. And this was only night one of a four night stay.
Again, it took two of us to stand Peppy up and get him outside to do any business – if he, in fact, had any left in him.
Then, back to the living room, with fresh bedding courtesy of the owner’s endless supply. However, by noon, I was changing the blankets again. Reluctantly, I started to see a trend here and realized this dog was severely incontinent, among other things.
In the next few days, I spent a lot of time doing laundry, as we would often go through half the provided blankets in one day, while the other half were in the wash. However, Peppy seemed comfortable, was eating well and appeared to be content.
By the time his stay was over and the owner came to pick him up, I had actually grown quite fond of old Peppy and was sad, although relieved, to see him go. I was fairly certain that this was the last time I would see him and that certainly proved to be true. I don’t know how many more days, weeks or months (dare I say years) he was with us, but was glad I was able to keep him comfortable while he was on my watch.
Peppy still holds the record for the oldest dog I have ever looked after. And it will remain that way.
I’d be a fool to push my luck a second time.
Thanks for reading!