The harsh realities of pet ownership

I had a chatty phone call with Maria today. She is spending time with family and friends in Athens, generally having a holiday, some time away from the island with a chance to unwind. I was feeding the dogs and putting them to bed at the moment of her call but fortunately, I had on my headset so was able to speak to her as I got on with my jobs.

She described the telephone conversation she had with Georgia earlier. To put things into context, Georgia is a night-bird so doesn’t usually go to bed much before 03:00, getting up around 10:30 – 11:00. Maria is an early-bird who is often awake at 05:00 so tends to just get on with things which Georgia never needs to concern herself with. During the season, Mickey and Πέντε spend the nights with Maria so go out for a walk early, whenever Maria rises. Xanthippos deals with the three larger dogs and he and Maria share the feeding of all of them. Previously, when Mickey had just had his operation, Georgia charged Maria with his care so that she could go off and do the things she needed to do. This might sometimes cause Maria considerable inconvenience, however, Georgia is used to having things her way. Georgia seems amazed when I tell her I’m out with the dogs at 05:00 and then again in the evening. She has no real concept of the on-going responsibilities of looking after a pet. When I heard that Maria was remaining in Athens and that Georgia was taking Mickey back to Chania, I could see that Georgia was about to have a new experience. I remembered too the instructions Georgia was issuing to me concerning Mickey’s care whilst she and Maria were both away in Athens. Initially, Georgia wanted Maria to take Mickey with her but then I offered to look after him. Georgia’s original plan was to involve me, Xanthippos and Mario, one of the Albanians. I would take Mickey with Dave early morning and afternoon, Xanthippos was walking him another time, and Mario last thing at night. I could see that plan turning into a circus so suggested I take all responsibility for Mickey’s welfare during their absence. Consequently, Mickey went out with Dave for a walk around 07:45, then again at 14:00. Both walks added up to around 90+ minutes of exercise. If the day was sunny, I’d tie Mickey to the umbrella by the concrete patio area near the BBQ. In the mornings and evenings, I’d feed and medicate Mickey after I did Dave then give both Mickey and Πέντε a quick trot around the camping before putting them down for the night. None of this taking him out at 22:00 business as requested by Georgia – I’m often in bed by then! Ensuring the dogs are properly exercised earlier, they can happily last 13+ hours at night. The puppies were locked in this long during their first winter as I walked them all in shifts, taking the puppies second.

I laughed and laughed when Maria described Georgia’s interrupted mornings. She told Maria that Mickey started barking around 07:30 when he wanted to go out. She said she didn’t hear him at first so Mickey came up to her room to deliver the message personally. Georgia had to drag herself out of bed to allow Mickey to do what he needed to do. Unfortunately, Georgia has pain in her hips and leg at present, so walking does not come easily to her. In any event, walking your dog is something you do when you have a few moments to spare. It’s not a regular requirement. Mickey is still not allowed to run so can only be exercised on the leash. Maria and I had a good, long laugh at Georgia’s expense. Maria can be very naughty where Georgia is concerned and likes to make fun of her. As Georgia is having difficulty fitting Mickey’s exercise requirements around her busy social and work calendar, I foresee that Mickey may be staying at the camping even if Georgia returns to Chania, as inevitably she will. It gives me a little more work but it ensures Mickey has the exercise he requires to have a good recovery from his broken leg.

Πέντε is in with Obi and me again this evening. She was loose in the camping last night because I was too busy to seek her out and to bring her in. I paid later with a rude awakening at 02:00. I think there are stray dogs about on the beach and Πέντε wanted us all to know that she was conscious of our security. I brought her in when she trotted up to me as I was on my way to the shower this evening. Not to miss the opportunity, I gathered her up and popped her into the van with Obi. He doesn’t bat an eyelid so long as she makes no attempt to usurp his position on the seat next to me. I fed her and gave her part of the tattered remains of the CJ at Skipper’s blanket. She is lying carefully parallel to it as she probably thinks she requires permission to lie on it.

Other excitements today included Tina, the cleaner’s mother. She decided to clean the fridge before putting it into service in her room. Tina had done some cleaning with a mop which I had locked in one of the storerooms. The refrigerator had been plugged into the mains following the cleaning and the fuse had tripped out. A deputation of Tina’s mother and some guy stood at my gate to inform me of all this. Fortunately, I am aware that the fuses for that room are located behind the display refrigerator in the mini market next door. I was able to locate the key to the mini market, find the fuse panel and reset the breaker. Then proceded a conversation about hot water for the shower. I explained that the solar heater was to be replaced and an electric element installed so that we can have hot water on dull days. But that the work was still incomplete for the foreseeable future. I suggested she might like a key to the women’s bathroom and informed her of the times that I turn on the electric water heater. These times are obviously more for my benefit than anything else. I pointed out that the Albanians wash their clothes in the shower meaning that the hot water is quickly exhausted. Tina’s mother asked me if I’d taken the broom which I’d left in the room when it was used to house Mickey and Πέντε I explained that he broom, together with the mop and bucket, had most like been acquired by the Albanians.

Today I cooked up some lentils and the leaves of the beetroot I cooked yesterday. I need to peel the beetroot and have something to eat.


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