Today we continue our animal saga from yesterday.
About 5 years ago, my then-boyfriend decided he wanted two beagle dogs for rabbit hunting. They were pretty cute, I guess, but again, they weren't at my house and I didn't have to take care of them.
Jack and Leia (yes, as in Star Wars Leia) quickly proved that they loved to make trouble. They liked to bark at obscene hours and they liked to run away.
Guess what they didn't like to do?
Just to be clear, I have always been very clear about the no-animal rule with my husband.
Even when we moved in together and got married, Jack and Leia remained at my in-laws house. I was completely satisfied with this situation.
My husband, not so much.
The dogs were constantly running away from the in-laws. One time Leia was gone for three days and had to be taken to the vet for a huge gash in her side. That's a different story though.
Sunday, my mother-in-law decided she had had enough. The dogs were going, one way or the other. I had since come to terms with the fact that one day, the beagles would probably come live with us. At our house, anyway. Outside. In a kennel.
However, I didn't think it would be so soon.
To be honest, for the first few days I hardly noticed they were there. My husband took care of them in the morning before work and at night when he came home. It was as if they weren't there at all!
Then he went to crop school for three days.
"Hey, honey," he says before he leaves, "you'll be okay feeding the dogs, right?"
"Of course," I hear myself saying. "If I can handle twenty sheep, I think I can take care of two dogs for three days!"
Sometimes, I am an idiot.
Tuesday night was my first attempt. After work, I normally go to Curves and pull into the drive around six. At six o'clock, it's pretty much DARK.
There are no lights by the kennel.
It is 33 degrees.
(Oh, it gets better!)
I grab their leashes, because NO WAY am I going to search for the little buggers in the dark.
Boy, are they excited to see me. I feel so special!
We do pretty well with the whole leash thing, and Jack and Leia drag me off to the field so they can use the bathroom. Then I drag them back to their kennel while I refresh their water bucket and give them their food.
Alright, I am totally doing great! The dog-feeding mission was a total success!
Oh, wait. Spoke too soon. See, we have the kind of doors that you can open from the inside even when they are locked from the outside. See where this is going?
Yep, totally locked myself out of the house. I mentioned that is was cold, dark, and windy, right?
After I cussed at the doorknob for about three minutes, I remembered that we keep a hide-a-key on the side of the garage. It's the kind where you enter a code, and the box opens to reveal your key. Whew, what a relief.
Except it's dark, and I can't see to enter the code. I fumble around for fifteen minutes, no joke, before I am finally able to get the key. Yay!
(I also just remembered that I was unable to close the box to replace the key, because at this point my fingers are numb. I need to remember to tell my husband that the key is laying on the grill. Hey, it seemed pretty safe at the time!)
All in all, not my favorite way to end an evening.
The next morning, I wake at 6:30 (ugh) to make sure I have enough time to take care of the dogs before work. I have to admit, they were angels. I didn't use their leashes, but they stayed right in the backyard. The whole experience took me maybe ten minutes. Definitely the highlight of the whole dog-ownership situation.
Last night, I decided to reward them for being so good by taking them on a nice long walk. Again, they were super excited to see me. We started out on our walk (with leashes this time) down our lane. For beagle dogs which weigh all of 20 pounds each (if that), they sure can pull. My back and sides ACHE today. But, again, they were pretty good. I skipped Curves so I'd be home before dark, which was a wise decision. Too bad I didn't think of that Tuesday night.
Now that we've caught up on the dog chronicles from this week, let's focus on this morning. When I rediscovered my irration with pets and animals.
Since Jack & Leia were such good dogs Wednesday morning, I figured it would be okay to let them off the leash again this morning. Oh, big mistake.
You see, we live right next door to my husband's grandparents. And they have cats. And Jack found one this morning. Jack proceeded to think it was a fantastic idea to chase the cat around both of our yards, completely ignoring my yells and whistles. Leia also thought this was the opportune time to explore underneath the barn.
So here I am, running around chasing these stupid dogs (because, yes, they have definitely become stupid this morning), shaking their feed bowls to get their attention (which, by the way, always worked with the sheep).
Remember how I said that it's been cold? Well, this morning was no exception. It was 28 degrees. I dressed in my husbands insulated camoflauge hunting pants, gloves, and a hat before I went outside. I look like Ralphie's little brother from The Christmas Story and I feel like an idiot.
Then Pop-pop comes outside to feed his cats. I swear he was laughing at me.
Twenty minutes later, I have successfully rounded up both Jack and Leia. They are fed, watered, and have been on the receiving end of a very stern lecture. They know (I think) that I am very, very angry with their behavior this morning.
Then, as I close the gate, I see this: