By: Revanche

The dog that ruined it for everyone

August 14, 2015

An “ode” to Guest Dog. I never thought there would come a day when I declared any dog unlikeable but never say never applies here.

I’ve watched pets for friends and acquaintances for years. It’s never been a problem and I’ve always enjoyed either helping a friend out or making a little extra cash. There were no drawbacks to that job, in my experience. More dog responsibilities meant more dog time! Yay! Until now. We just had a friend’s dog over for the longest week in our history of petsitting. There were regrets. So many regrets.

This dog is a familiar face. She’s usually a terrible companion, but harmlessly obnoxious. She’s not trained, has no manners, jumps on anyone and anything, and would lick even your tonsils given a hint of a chance.

This made her not the most eagerly anticipated guest but I was sure we’d be fine in the end. Boy did I ever call that wrong!

She arrived on our doorstep the first morning and commandeered Seamus’s rug, refusing to allow him to relax in his usual spot near my desk. Fine, he found another place to hang out. She spent the day scratching, and early that evening we realized why.

SHE HAD FLEAS. And she’d spent the whole day scratching herself and shedding flea dirt on our rug by my desk. Fantastic. (Ask FaM just how fantastic this is.)

I immediately hauled out a dose of Advantix flea treatment for her which starts working immediately but that only took care of the live ones as they bit her. Seamus is protected year round. That just left us to serve as the blood bars. And bloodsuckers LOVE me. Wunderbar.

By the time we settled LB down for the night and cleared up, it was 11 pm. There was no time to run around to the shops so we had to pull out the home remedies. We salted the rugs and set out detergent traps in hopes the fleas would die in them.

Two days later, we were still getting bitten. It was time for the big guns – the local shops didn’t have it so I special ordered Fleabusters on the recommendation of several friends. That was insult to injury: $36 and PiC had to spend hours that evening cleaning and treating our floors. The powder is incredibly fine and it was like we’d disturbed the ancient ghosts of tiny dust vengeance. We all retreated from the main rooms, so guest dog was relocated to the bathroom to spare her from the flea treatment and us from her shedding more flea dirt in the carpet. During her confinement, she decided to scratch the paint off the door. So now PiC has to sand down and repaint that door. We really didn’t have anything better to do this month.

To really crown her stay with us, she decided to sink to new lows. Midweek, I was checking her for fleas and flea dirt, bribing her with treats as usual, because she was still scratching incessantly and I was trying to figure out what needed to be done for her comfort. She cooperated for a minute and then took off sprinting for our bedroom and Seamus’s bed. That’s off limits at the best of times but for a flea carrier? Absolutely not! She’s notorious for rubbing herself all over furniture and there was no way I was going to strip down all the bedding and wash it all again in the middle of the night. I failed to intercept her but quickly went to shoo her out of the room, and would you believe she turned to chew on me like I was a corn cob?? Luckily I’ve had years of experience with dogs and was quick enough to avoid getting shredded but she was like a rabid badger so I couldn’t even civilly pick her up or escort her out. She had to be leashed and hauled out.

I had intended to give her a bath before she went home and give her a nice conditioner for her itching but she spent the next three days sidling over and baring her teeth. I shelved that plan.

I have never been so eager or thrilled to wash our hands of a guest dog. The fleas weren’t her fault but she was a pill and a half for everything else.

It’s going to be a very long time before we pet sit for anyone again, even if we do owe them a favor. I’ll make or buy them dinner instead.

I’d vaguely considered hosting on DogVacay as we had a really good experience with boarding Seamus with some great sitters but, after this, I don’t think we’re going to take a chance on that!

22 Responses to “The dog that ruined it for everyone”

  1. Oh, my GOODNESS what a story!!!!!!!

    If it were me Dog Owner would be paying for a handyman to come repair the door, for the vet bill to treat Seamus for fleas, for the dry-cleaning bills to treat all the clothing that can’t be laundered in scorching hot water, for the exterminator bill to come and fog the house. What on earth is the matter with a person to leave their FLEA-INFESTED dog with a “friend”? Ohhhh I’d throttle the moron.

    Ruby & Cassie turned out, apparently, not to have fleas after all. No more bites have materialized here in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun, and neither dog is itching at all. My cluster of munchies must have been from an overeager mosquito, or possibly from more than one of the little ladies. Thanks for the clue about the Fleabusters, though: that’s good to know about.
    Funny about Money recently posted…The Enterprise: Things Are Looking UpMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Oh yay for you being spared the actual infestation, though, damn, all that hard work!

      Sigh, we suspect that friend who is having a hell of a time right now w/health did not know. We don’t want to know if she DID know and knowingly left that dog with us – we’d have to lose a friend over it at that point!

  2. Oh no! Fleas are the worst. Even when they are gone I still feel like things are biting me. Sorry you had that experience.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Financial Odds and Ends: Vol. 4My Profile

  3. Linda says:

    Dealing with fleas is bad enough, but then to have the dog turn on you…that really sucks! How can anyone stand to live with a dog like that? I don’t care how cute it is, if it isn’t trained that’s a problem in more ways than one.
    Linda recently posted…Making friends and lonelinessMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah, I speculate that the dog’s never bitten them because they never even attempt to train it. They yell at her every so often when guests are over but I guarantee that they don’t care what she does when it’s just the family at home. I can’t stand that.

  4. This reminds me of the time back when I was in middle school when my grandma’s shih tzus brought fleas to our house. It took *forever* to get rid of the fleas. So awful. Fortunately they were good-natured. Sympathy.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Ask the grumpies: How to deal with anticipating/receiving difficult feedbackMy Profile

  5. What a story! I feel for you. I consider it a success that we have 2 house dogs because I can be a little weird about hair and paw prints and all that. Now I do love ’em but I can’t imagine dog sitting! Oh, have you ever had company show up with dogs in tow? I have and I’m still a little dumbfounded over that!

    You know, if you’re going to dog sit, you need a manual. Like a full 50 page book of all the rules and expectations and standard operating procedures. Kinda like what daycare gives me. You could simply revise all the pages to say dog instead of child. Do you need a copy? I’ve got one =)

    I will definitely keep in mind that pet sitting is not necessarily frugalin’ it up! In this case, buy them dinner, restock their fridge, take them to the movies, or even pay their mortgage payment, lol. Just joking, mostly. Yeah, I would probably default to spending money in this case scenario =)
    Mrs. Crackin’ the Whip recently posted…Sunshine is the best mood enhancer!My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Haha you know, we haven’t here because we don’t have the same friendbase as we did back home, but it used to happen every so often. I think dog people might forget that others are not so much? I try hard not to be that person because when we’re traveling we almost always have Seamus, and I try to ask everyone we visit if it’s ok that he comes along.

      We definitely need all future prospective dogsittees to sign the Doggy Compliance manual ;D

      We owe them a few favors, hence the dogsitting, but boy howdy, I’ll sign a check to clear the board between us!

  6. Clare says:

    Of the four times I’ve dog sat, two were terrible. One dog could not be left alone or he would destroy EVERYTHING but his owners never crate trained him and so I was chained to our house for the duration of his stay. He also had farts that smelled like trout and toy aggression with Boris. Terrible #2 was a dog that literally did not stop barking for the 48 hours we had him. He didn’t even sleep! There was a brief reprieve of ten minutes when he decided to rest his voice but he found the door stopper and yanked on that during those few precious moments instead.

    Never again!
    Clare recently posted…Purple Door CoffeeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      That’s TERRIBLE! We would be mortified if our dogs were like that – and they would never ever be left with a friend. In 15+ years of petsitting I’ve never had this problem so maybe that’s why I’m more surprised than most.

  7. SP says:

    This sounds HORRIBLE. Is is it possible that they didn’t know that the dog had fleas, or did they knowingly give you a flea dog??!? I’m appalled.
    SP recently posted…Summer Money UpdateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s very likely that she didn’t know the dog was flea-ridden, so while I’m really cranky about it, I’m giving her a pass. Of course that just means I forgive her but that dog’s never coming back here. All the other stuff, the obsessive jumping and licking though not the biting, they view as perfectly normal :O

      • SP says:

        Yeah, that makes sense. Though terrible to deal with, the fleas exacerbated the general issues, which otherwise would have still been obnoxious. Forgive does not equal forget – lesson learned!

        I’m been nervous about dogvacay because puppies and dog sitting don’t seem to mix. Even though people say they accept puppies, I feel like they aren’t singing up for this (especially when they don’t charge a higher fee for puppies!). We basically both haven’t traveled without him, and don’t plan to until he’s old enough not to be such a pain. When the time comes, we’re be hoping to find someone with a similar personality dog (i.e. young & energetic).
        SP recently posted…Summer Money UpdateMy Profile

        • Revanche says:

          It might be worthwhile meeting with some hosts and seeing how they interact with the Puppy. We weren’t sure how good they could be and interviews really helped us realize what kind of host would work.

  8. Karen says:

    Every time I’ve dog sat, the dogs have eliminated in my house. Once I had a dog for 2 weeks that was not house broken. I left it outside all day while I was at work. I’d come check on it on my lunchbreak. Acvtaully, after that, it did really well but has since devolved. Dog still isn’t properly trained as it was in my home for an hour and relieved itself both ways. Owner is a very close friend so I tolerate this animal LOL

    (I say ‘it’ to be anonymous)

    • Revanche says:

      OH my goodness that’s even worse! We could never take a not-housebroken dog, we don’t have a yard. Your level of tolerance is way higher than mine 🙂

  9. Oh, man. What a nightmare of a week! I like dogs, but have never been keen on the idea of sitting. Unless it’s in their house and I go sirens time over there and check up. Now I think if be just flat out scared to. You’ve got a big heart to deal with all that!
    FF @ Femme Frugality recently posted…7 Accessories Your Bachelorette Party NeedsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s weird that this is the first bad experience I’ve really had dogsitting. Or I should be grateful, judging by other people’s shared stories.

  10. Oh my. I hope your friend apologized for the fleas and behaviour. Yikes. Seamus didn’t get infected too did he?

    • Revanche says:

      The fleas, yes. The behavior, no, she doesn’t think anything’s wrong with the dog’s behavior. But we didn’t tell her about the biting as she was jetlagged and sick when we returned the dog. Luckily, Seamus is all up on his flea preventative.

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