Dog Sharing

Boxer: wet & camera shy

Boxer: wet & camera shy

In this age of modern families, even dogs are taking advantage of the trend.

When I grew up, most of the kids I knew were from two parent households. These days, they’re as common as single parent and blended families. Kids have two bedrooms — one at Mom’s and one at Dad’s, and many of them seem to love it.

A few months ago, Boxer’s guardian and my dear friend Ariy moved out and into his own place. He got an apartment just down the street so the dog could stay in the hood with his furry friends, his swimming hole, and me, his fairy dogmother. Ariy does long afternoon shifts, so while I’m still off work, we figured the dog could camp here part-time. The plan was Boxer would hang here, get walked and fed and groomed, then go home with his Dad at night.

Uh-uh. Boxer’s stubborn. And he’s a squatter.

At first, he stayed with me after the move because of the heat wave — I have air conditioning, Ariy doesn’t. But then, once he started coming by to pick up Boxer after work, the dog wouldn’t go!

We figured it was the a/c factor. But then the weather cooled off, so we’ve eliminated that possibility. It might be his fear of walking after dark in the summer — what with those pesky fireworks sporadically terrorizing us — but he’s getting used to them. (I can’t get him out for a late night walk either.)

Wounded, Ariy is taking it personally. For the first month he showed up faithfully, night after night. Boxer met him at the door, wagging his tail, happy to see his Dad. But once Ariy puts on his collar and opens the door, Boxer stays put.

Like his refusal to pass the creek without taking a dip, that dog plants his feet and his eighty-one pounds and stands there like a mule. We’ve bribed him with the ball, with treats, with coaxing and stern orders, but Boxer won’t go. He’s become a squatter in my home.

He stays until Ariy comes early in the morning for his first walk. They hang at Ariy’s until he drops him off before work. The only time Boxer stays at Dad’s is his one night off because Ariy has had him all day.

I’ve spent years studying dogs, and I must confess to being baffled. Maybe Ariy’s frequent moves made Boxer stubborn about changing dens. Or he likes to sleep where his stick collection does. Or I’m spoiling him too much. Or he actually likes living with my psychotic cat, who he mostly ignores.

But then it occurred to me that this just might be our Karma.

Back when I had Jules, she adopted Ariy. It’s true. She met him and his doggie bags from the Greek restaurant he used to work at and pronounced him “Dad.”

Jules and Ariy in the kitchen

Jules and Ariy in the kitchen

Fine, he’s a better cook than most people, but she was my dog! And she became Daddy’s girl. I used to get so jealous, the way she’d whine and jump all over him when he dropped by. She never welcomed me home that way. I was wounded, I’ll admit. I had saved her from a neglectful situation and this was the thanks I got. She was two-timing me.

Jules Ariy and pink bear

Jules Ariy and pink bear

So, I started taking advantage of the situation and let her spend the weekends at Ariy’s so I could go clubbing. It gave me a little freedom and I learned to love it.

Dog sharing has it’s advantages for everyone in the pack. The dog gets maximum attention while the humans get help with the responsibility. Maybe that’s what Boxer is doing: making us share him so that he gets the best of both worlds.

Or maybe he just doesn’t like to go out at night.

About The Patron Saint of Dogs
Writing The Patron Saint of Dogs is my way of helping to save abused and abandoned dogs and cats in the real world. A portion of every sale will be donated to animal rescue organizations in Canada and around the world. My name is Colleen MacDougall and I was a dog walker and pet sitter for 11 years. Many of the furry characters in this book are reincarnations of wonderful animals I was able to know, love and help, especially Jules, who is Grace's partner-in-crime now, but was my furbaby and the very first person I hope to see in that great off-leash park in dog heaven.

3 Responses to Dog Sharing

  1. I can understand that jealousy – Millie and Pearl love their ‘cousins’ Mollie and Owen Bowen who live round the corner, and sometimes I’m sure they’d rather live with them than with me!

  2. Mary Nolan says:

    Great story & we don’t often see what our animals see in us. Our life decisions & struggles are shared with our 4 legged kids. We just don’t know how much they know.

    Best regards, Mary Nolan


  3. I can totally understand that Ariy feels left out, and that you did that with Jules as well! Boxer is so precious, so I would want him with me during the night as well 🙂

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