7 CommentsDogs, Dogsitting Adventures - Chapters, Memoir

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Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born.
This is a continuing series.

(Click HERE for more chapters)


J.J. the Brat Prince

J.J. the Dalmatian came into my life for a brief couple of years.
His antics earned him the nickname “Brat Prince” and a special place in my heart.

J.J.’s “Dad”, Bob, was a very busy man, juggling a public relations firm with a young family and a cat. Whatever made him decide to add a Dalmatian into the mix? He obviously had little understanding of the breed and opted to keep J.J. confined to a crate for much of the day, (because he tormented the cat). You just DON’T put a Dalmatian in a cage and expect life to be hunky dory once he’s let loose! No surprise that J.J. would run amok. These are intelligent, high energy dogs who need an outlet. I kept my disapproval to myself and accepted J.J. as a houseguest with much trepidation. Hopefully, my own Dalmatian, Tasha, would keep him in line. Before he arrived, shoes and other “chewables” were hidden or put out of reach, just in case.

All went well the first week. There was a daily “playgroup” for dogs at the neighbouring schoolyard and J.J. got plenty of exercise, chasing around with the others.

We loved having two Dalmatians together and it was quite a sight. Tasha at one end of the couch and J.J. at the other, performing their nightly, synchronized cleaning ritual. (This breed is very cat-like.)

Tasha & J.J.

Similar to children, dogs are often on their best behaviour in a new environment, until they become more relaxed. This is what happened with J.J., the second week. We had also become a little complacent, assuming he was cured of his destructive bent.

I hurried out of the house one day, leaving a pair of jeans on the bedroom chair. Found them later, on the floor, with the waistband chewed off. J.J. had obviously eaten it! Luckily, this didn’t cause him any gastric upset, but, he was pooping denim for the next few days. We had a couple of similar incidents with forgotten shoes, but it was impossible to stay angry. J.J. was such an adorable clown!

Another time, we had several more canine guests in residence. They were eating dinner when J.J decided he wanted a taste of someone else’s. The dog wouldn’t oblige, so J.J. lifted his leg and peed in the water bowl! We just HOWLED with laughter, all the while trying to scold him. What a statement!

Bob had noticed that when J.J. came home from his vacations, he was much calmer. This prompted him to join the playgroup, two or three times a week. One day, J.J. just bolted! He ran to our house, (halfway down the block), up the front steps and sat there, waiting. Bob made light of it, joking that J.J. wanted another holiday. This continued to happen every time from then on and Bob soon stopped coming. Obviously, J.J. wasn’t so happy at home and wanted to stay with me! Sadly, I never heard from them again.

A few months later, I drove by Bob’s house and there was a “For Sale” sign on the lawn. He had mentioned wanting to sell, in passing, and also admitted that J.J. needed a more suitable home. My hope is that he found one.

© D.D.B. 2012

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Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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  1. That’s a little sad! I’ve read and seen pieces talking about the Dalmatian and how they are such a high energy breed and one should not take one on without a lot of knowledge and preparation. I do hope that your lovable house guest found the home he deserved!

    1. That’s absolutely true about Dalmatians, Lorinda. We had ours for almost 16 years and were heartbroken when she passed away. So very smart and special! ♥ I often wonder about J.J. and also hope his owners found him a good home. Thanks for reading. 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading, Corinne! 🙂 Yes, I often think about J.J. and wonder. Sure hope they found him a good home. He was SO smart! Wish I could have kept him myself. He got along great with my own Dalmatian.