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  • Lori Carol Maloy

Good Granny Groans Over Granddogs Mishaps and Noisy Devotion

Can you keep the dogs for the weekend?” My daughter asked.

I swallowed hard. Not missing a beat, and with added enthusiasm, I said, “Absolutely.”

Dreams of having another dog of my own dissipated quickly after a few granddog babysitting episodes. It’s not that I don’t adore these animals, because I do, but I’m sixty. And sixty means, for me at least, that there’s a two-minute delay between the action of standing up and gaining enough momentum to make it across the room. With this newfound blessing of a forced slow-down in movement, animals can be a bit of extra work when combined with two rambunctious grandsons.

I’ve also learned there is a language barrier here as well. My granddogs didn’t get into the best schools, so their expected understanding is only about 15 words out of the possible 165 that they should know; as you can see, fifteen words creates confusion and limitations.

Words I know they never learned: sit, stop, go to bed, potty outside, no roughhousing inside, shhhh, and get off the furniture. And more importantly, there seems to be no understanding of my repeated request to “stop opening food packages in the pantry!” Maybe they are just ignoring me.

Defiant little buggers.

On top of their “talk to the hand” attitude, none of these pets have a desire to help with the housecleaning chores. In fact, they add to it. Two of the granddogs don’t mind keeping their coats on inside, but the lab sheds like a unending Seattle rainstorm, leaving the house to resemble the catastrophic washout of a Hoover Dam blowout. Debris in the form of blond hair covering flooring, furniture, my clothes; dog hair even finding its way into my hot tea.

Of course, I’ve spoken to the animals about these indiscretions, but all to no avail.


The lab begs forgiveness for littering the house and reads novel after novel written by her father, Sci-Fi writer JN Chaney. She even wears the Ruins of the Galaxy T-shirt when she’s really brown nosing.

At times, the French Bulldog scoffs at me. His look unnerving and harsh, judgmental even. I’m in the process of buying all new patio cushions because of the backlash and punishment by this short and unsightly animal. It seems he does not approve of my criticisms and lashes out by peeing on all the patio cushions, sometimes right in front of me; his stare threatening and evil. There seems to be no desire to change or conform to higher standards of behavior and etiquette.

I’m determined not to let this get me down. After all, I have a desire to be their favorite grandmother, just like the human grandsons. And for this reason, I’ve taken to completing a checklist of good deeds so that I might have odor-free fabric in the future. Of course, this is only if I play my cards right and sore to the top of the good granny meter.

For instance, I purchased their favorite dog food, snacks, and even allowed my kitty to hang out with them in their cage during quiet time. They’ve adjusted quite well to this diversity and are very tolerant of each other. Purchased doggy toys are a sweet addition and await each of their visits, especially the squeaky ones; their favorite.

The reading lab enjoys the numerous sneaks of table scraps while I’m a guest at dinner. I get real points for those moments.

But I’ve learned, just like with the boys, that sometimes these treats must be offered sparingly and with great care due to the adverse side effects of too much of a good thing. Unfortunately, I’ve had to experience these terrorizing after effects of dog bone indulgence instead of taking my daughter’s advice and limit the goodies.

Apparently, some dogs do have sensitive stomachs. Who could have foreseen that news flash? I am not a seer, you know.

During a long babysitting weekend while caring for two of the dogs, I was hoping to move up a couple of notches on the good granny scale and offered two luxurious store bought beef dog bones (I can be generous). And, yes, they were large, huge actually.

I have to admit, I was a bit shocked in how quickly they scarfed the bones down. Although I expected the treats to last a couple of days, they enjoyed them rather quickly.

Once their tummies were happy and full we all went to bed. Unfortunately, at around 1am, the dogs began to howl. I hoped it was a bad dream and hesitated in getting out of bed. Hearing more howls and moans, I could no longer ignore the noise and took them outside.

Don’t ask me to explain in detail, but it wasn’t pretty.

After the labradoodle littered the yard, we went back inside and they were tucked back in for the night, their incident attributed to a bad dream. I was awakened one hour later for the same outdoor ritual, then again at 3am, then 4am, then … well, you get the picture.

Major lesson learned. Never, ever give dogs with sensitive stomachs the wrong kind of beef or pork bones. Even if you get them on sale. The results can be very traumatic for the human.

I am teachable. I feel I can learn from my mistakes. That weekend, those memories, they haunt me. Even the smell of similar brand bones causes the dogs to shiver. So, if you value your nose, your front lawn, and your sleep, avoid this and learn from my horror.

I have great ambitions to buy new patio cushions. The dreadful odors left by the Frenchie demand it. I am also determined to purchase those plastic outdoor furniture covers because I know these animals want to change; they are counting on me not to make the cushion a temptation.

It is only when the sun goes down, the doable treats devoured, the healthy meal eaten, and the squeaky toy embraced, that the dogs sit quietly at my feet, one eye on me and one eye closed.

Every few moments they bark and alert me to danger through the sound of noises only they are privy to. Their loyalty and devotion immense, as though I am the most important person in their lives (at least while visiting me on the weekend).

They sit stoic bearing a duty to protect as though I were a beloved princess surround by an endangered Camelot. Though I feel honored but such devotion, my nerves are shot from their sudden outbursts, and I ruminate constantly in how much a muzzle costs at Petco.

Shhhh. That’s a secret. Don’t tell my kids.

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