Apr 292014
 

You guys know that my family and I LOVE our pets.  Dogs are not just dogs, they are part of our family.  So last month when my sister and her husband went on vacation and asked if I would babysit their dog (my fur-nephew) of course I said YES! Their dog, Nate, is 10 and has been part of our family since he was a pup.  Since Nate is my sister’s only ‘child’ I would type “Nate Notes” (letters from Nate to his Momma and Papa) everyday and post them, along with a photo, on Facebook.  Everyone thought they were hilarious and we were all sort of sad when my sister came back and the Nate Notes ended.

(Related: There is a strong possibility I’m dog crazy (as in certifiably))

For those of you who are dog lovers….here are Nate’s Notes to his Momma and Papa while they were on vacation.

(FYI: my family calls me “Katie” if you are wondering who “Aunt Katie” is.  Enzo is my dog.)

Dear Momma and Papa,
It’s been 7 hours since you left…which is like 2 days in dog time. I miss you tons. I didn’t want to eat my dinner tonight because I missed you so much. Also, I didn’t want to eat because Cousin Enzo kept staring at me waiting to see if I was going to eat or not. Have you ever tried to eat with someone just STARING at you begging for your food? I was like, “dude, stop begging” and he was all like, “huh? I don’t understand,” and then he continued to stare. I know he’s family and all, but…wow…that guy is ϋber annoying.

Probably the BIGGEST reason I didn’t want to eat is because you stopped feeding me chicken and veggies and now I’m stuck with plain ‘ol dog crunchies…..like a commoner……like Cousin Enzo. I’m going to work on my cute face for Aunt Katie and see if she’ll feel pity on me since I’m temporarily orphaned. It seems like I might be able to break her.

I was given a chew stick to try and keep me happy. But my Momma didn’t raise no fool. There is meat in this house somewhere. So I’m holding out and continuing to make my sad face. There might be steak in my future. I could possibly win an Oscar for this performance. I’ve never been to Hollywood. I hope I get to meet Ellen. I’ll let you know how it goes….
Love,
Nate

Day #2 (Dog Time: Day #9)

Dear Momma and Papa,
Today Cousin Enzo tried to give me a High 5 with his paw and it caught me off guard. I barked at him and was like, “dude….dogs don’t give High 5’s unless humans make us do it for treats” and he was all like, “huh? I don’t understand.” I think the hunger was starting to get to me. Cousin Enzo seems more annoying than usual. He just lays on my dog bed all day licking himself. I glare at him but he doesn’t seem to notice.

My plan of tricking people into feeding me human food is slowing starting to pay off. This morning I refused breakfast. I just laid by my duck and looked as pitiful as possible. Around noon I got up, pick up a few pieces of crunchy food out of my bowl, set them on the ground next to the bowl, and then just stared at the pieces sending a very CLEAR message that this was not acceptable food. Transmission did not go through….message was not received. Abort mission….I laid back down.

By dinner I was starving, but I stubbornly stuck to my act….and finally, FINALLY….I received a small victory……….one scrambled egg. They thought they would be clever and mix the dog crunchies together with the egg, but they don’t understand my level of patience. So I proceeded to show them how I can meticulously eat all of the scrambled egg and spit out the dog crunchies. (see photo)

Cousin Enzo got a scrambled egg too which seems really unfair since I’ve been doing all the work to get the egg in the first place. He seems to be happy with whatever he is given……I’ll never understand him.

I’ve heard that Cousin Abby and Cousin Marcus are coming home tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that. They will be fun to play with…..and much easier to trick into giving me human food.

I hope you are having a great time!
Love,
Nate

Dear Momma and Papa,
Today Aunt Katie told me that I had to stop pouting. She forced me to play with her and my duck for an hour. I was reluctant at first….still thinking about my award-winning performance. But then I remembered how much fun it was to play. Afterwards, I realized how hungry I was….so I ate all of my food.

If that wasn’t enough, Aunt Katie took me for a LONG walk. We went with Cousin Enzo. I didn’t really mind him walking next to me. We were both too busy watching the geese at the lake.

(Related:
After our walk Aunt Katie had to go get the kids. I must have looked really worried when I saw her packing up her stuff to leave so she let me come on the trip (without Enzo). It was nice to be an “only child” again for a while. I was really tired and tried to sleep on the drive, but it was hard to do while listening to Aunt Katie’s singing to Destiny’s Child songs the whole way. (She’s really not that good of a singer.)

I was SUPER excited to see the kids. I snuggled in the back with Abby on the way home and she fed me roasted almonds and we listened to “The Giver” on audiobook. We stopped it at a good part….I need to find out what Jonas’ assignment is. Maybe we’ll listen to more tomorrow.

I ate all of my dinner and Cousin Marcus shared some of his pepperoni from his pizza with me. All in all it was a good day. I’m really sleepy though. I have to get my rest. The kids have already told me they have another walk planned tomorrow.

I hope you are having a great time.
Love,
Nate

Day # 4 (Dog Day #28)

Dear Momma and Papa,

Today was a good day. I got to walk with Abby to her bus stop and say “hi” to all of her friends and then got to walk back to the bus stop after school to pick her up. I think she was really happy to see me…..understandably. Her only other options are Cousin Enzo….or…..”Cat” (as Aunt Katie calls him).

Cat and I walk around like two countries with their hands on the “launch nuke” button. We both have weapons of mass destruction but individually know that if one of us attacks………no one wins. See this photo Cousin Marcus took of the three of us? We all got in that position with none of us making eye contact with each other. The three of us kept our heads down like we were each morbidly ashamed. Aunt Katie said we all looked like we were waiting to go to Confession. It was rather difficult to pose for a photo that way, but worth it for the piece of chicken we all got afterwards.

We watched the Cardinals game together and both kids were home from school in time to see Yadi’s home run. We all celebrated and I was hoping Aunt Katie would feed us all steak for dinner in honor of our amazing catcher….but……(sigh) I just got more dog crunchies. (#sadpanda)

It was a nice day and Aunt Katie kept the door to the back yard open so I could go in and out of the house as I wished. I like having options….like, “Look, Nate, you can go outside OR inside. Nate you can have the ball or the ducky…or both! Hey, Nate, would you like beef or chicken for dinner?” (hint)

We are all going to bed now. Everyone in this house gets up ridiculously early and with the Cardinals games, kids coming home, taking walks to the bus stop twice a day…..I only got in an 8 hour nap today. Needless to say, I’m wiped.

Until tomorrow….

Love,
Nate

Day #5 (Dog Day #35)

Dear Momma and Papa,

Well it’s been over a month, in dog days, that you’ve been gone. But it feels like years. Today was a sad day. Ducky lost a foot (see Photo 1). I was playing so hard with Marcus that the foot ripped off and went flying through the air. For a half of a minute I stared at the severed foot laying on the tile and then I went and laid down. I’m still not over the shock. A one-footed ducky just isn’t the same. Too many things are changing in my world all at once. I can’t absorb it all.

I’ve stopped laying on my dog bed. Cousin Enzo lays on it most of the time and constantly licks his private parts. It’s gross. I hate it. And now my bed smells like Enzo….and his privates. I looked at Aunt Katie for sympathy, but she just said, “Dude, welcome to my world. He licks his privates on my bed too.” Aunt Katie washed her sheets today. I took advantage of this and made sure I got my scent on it first (see Photo 2).

Enzo and I went for a short run today with Aunt Katie. Between her bad ankle, me being 12 years old, and Enzo being……uh…..Enzo, we made quite the crew. We ran around an entire block while waiting for Abby’s school bus. It helped clear my mind and put some things (see Photo 1) back into perspective.

There wasn’t a Cardinals game today so, instead, we watched an episode of Cosmos. I learned two things:
1. Aunt Katie is an in-the-closet nerd
2. Black holes are creepy

I think that’s all for tonight. If you are looking for a souvenir to bring back, I would like to put in a request for a TWO-footed ducky……and a new dog bed.

Love,
Nate

Day #6 (Dog Day #42)

Dear Momma and Papa,

I’m pretty tired today. Aunt Katie let me sleep in the bed with her last night. She didn’t seem very happy with the one-fourth of the bed I allotted to her. She kept trying to push me over. I think she was talking in her sleep…..kept saying something crazy about me only getting half the bed. I don’t know what she’s complaining about. I gave her WAY more than the one-eighth I normally allot to you guys. Anyway, I made my body as heavy as possible since she’s pretty weak at 3:30am. But we were both up most of the night, so ultimately, no one won.

Ducky and I were (forcefully) reunited. The kids kept tossing him back and forth and would laugh when I tried to catch him. If playing with the one-legged ducky makes the kids happy, I’ll take one for the team. I’ve come to terms with Ducky’s disability. I was being superficial. Cousin Marcus explained that even if a person looks different on the outside, they are still the same person they always were on the inside. And that’s when I had my epiphany: It’s not really about how Ducky looks on the outside that matters……but ripping out his gut-stuffing, piece by piece, on the inside is what I’ve always cared about. Thank you, Cousin Marcus, for reminding me of the important things in life.

Cardinals’ game had a rain delay tonight so for entertainment we played a new game called, “Nate’s the BEST.” That’s when Cousin Abby scratches my neck and gives me kisses and attention while saying, “Nate’s the BEST” over and over. Meanwhile, Cousin Enzo goes insane with jealousy and tries to push his way into the game with his paw. Abby ignores him until he starts eating her hair and then she pushes him off and we start all over. Best. Game. EVER. I hope the Cardinals have another rain delay tomorrow.

Only 1 dog week left until you get back. I can’t wait to see you!

Love,
Nate

Day #7 (Dog Day #49)

Dear Momma and Papa,

We had bad thunderstorms all day and a lot of wind tonight. I slept under Aunt Katie’s chair all day and followed her around closely. I’ve heard that, in case of a tornado, you should head to a bathroom (see photo). So that is where I spent most of my evening. Cousin Abby made it better. She cooked homemade banana bread and brought some to me. She said we have to save some for you guys though.

Aunt Katie told me you were in Florida. She said it was a terrible place and I was very lucky you guys didn’t force me to go. Cousin Marcus pointed out that since I have black fur I would be extra hot there. He explained that wasn’t a racist statement. It was scientific fact. He probably learned it from Cosmos.

Cousin Abby said there were big fish with sharp teeth there that will eat kids and dogs. Aunt Katie told me that old people go there and never return. But she said not to worry. You guys are THAT old….yet.

It sounds like a really scary place. I’m sure it has been a really rough week trying to endure all the hardships of Florida and the beach. I’m so sorry you had to go. Thank you for leaving me in a safe place……in tornado alley…..during tornado season…..with banana bread.

I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

Love,
Nate

Side note on dogs: I was raised in a pretty health-conscious family. I can count on one hand the number of times (in my life) that I’ve taken any prescription medication. It is typically a last resort for me and my kids. So that is why this book, “Heal You Dog Naturally” by Sarah Rooney fascinated me. I do NOT like going to the doctor and having them treat symptoms with medication rather finding a solution to the problem. For all of my dog lover friends out there (especially ones with senior dogs) this may be a great book to add to your library.