We checked the calendar and discussed it as a family and agreed to have Willow come to visit.
Her family brought her over early on a Thursday to get her situated. I was concerned about a large country dog visiting a small city lot, but she settled in quickly. We received instructions on feeding and watering her, walking and caring for her, and assurance that whatever happened while they were away, it would be okay.
This part came into play after one of the boys expressed fear about Willow getting away from us and trying to return home. I will admit, I, too, wondered about this. In the end, I needn’t have worried.
We spent the first day together figuring things out. As night fell, our children did their bedtime routines and Coco, our dog-loving girl, expressed concern about being woken in the night by the dog. We eased her mind by leaving Willow’s bed downstairs and assuring her that we would do the night-time bathroom breaks.
It was this first night that I realized the difference in bedtimes between me and my friend.
Steve and I sat outside at 10:30 in the backyard with Willow running around, talking and waiting for her to do her business. After a reasonable length of time, we came inside and got ready for bed ourselves.
A disorienting rattle at our bedroom door roused us from slumber at 12:30 AM. Opening the door and assuring me he would take her out, Steve began hunting for shorts and flip-flops while Willow trotted over to my side of the bed, oblivious to his efforts. She nudged me and waited patiently.
Oh, yeah, I need to take her out. She does better with a female. Go back to sleep.
Willow and I headed to the back yard, my feet bare to connect with the damp earth. Willow did her routine of running and nosing the perimeter before finishing off. I made a mental note of her last stop and wrote CHECK FOR POOP! on the white board in the kitchen.
Feeling accomplished, I returned to bed.
At 3:30, I was awakened with a start by a rattling at the door again. It was at this point that memories of my friend’s late night/early morning blog postings or all night organizing sessions caused me to realize that our definitions of last bathroom break for Willow might be slightly different.
That and the fact that there could be a chance for peeing in the house, led me back outside to experience the early morning quiet of our corner city lot. With Willow.
Needless to say, that first night was less-than-restful. The next day I posted this picture with the caption, It’s hard work keeping Julie up all night!
Things improved as we settled into a dog routine. On Coco’s last morning of art camp, Roo walked Willow which meant that I walked her, too. A nice thing about keeping a country dog is that she didn’t do her business on walks but saved that for the back yard.
I am grateful for the opportunity to experiment with having a dog in our house. We all experienced the reality of thinking about someone/thing other than ourselves. That meant that Steve and I had a buddy on our overnight getaway in our own house. (My parents had the kids for a sleepover.)
It also meant things like finding a surprise in the upstairs hallway at 10:00 on Saturday night. Thankfully, it was just funny to the kids and no one had stepped in it. And Steve cleaned it up.
All in all, it was a great experience for us to have Willow in our home. She was fairly easygoing and tolerated us all well. She kept me company whether I needed it or not. She only escaped out of the house once when there was a flurry of activity and the door was left unattended. Thankfully, Kieran ran fast enough to catch up with her.
There was only one family member who distinctly felt irritated and displaced by her.
Zephyr. The queen of the corner of East Wolfe and Myrtle was not happy. Not happy at all.