Written by Jenny Morrill


Adventures in dogsitting

Jenny Morrill knew bugger all about our woofy four-legged friends when she offered to dogsit. A week later and she was knackered. You know, from fetching all the balls.

Bobby takes a well-earned break from watching Jenny play fetch.

Bobby takes a well-earned break from watching Jenny play fetch.

I’ve just looked after my sister-in-law’s dog for a week while she was on holiday. I’ve never had much to do with dogs; I’ve never even really had a pet before. But I was happy enough to do it since it meant he wouldn’t have to go into Dog Prison for the week.

I don’t know much about dogs, except that they solve mysteries, so I thought I’d be in for a week of feeding, walking and occasional ball throwing, and the rest of the time the dog would just be off doing dog things.


I’d unknowingly signed myself up for a week of guilt tripping, eating my dinner in the bathroom, and throwing a ball while the dog looked on, judging me like Simon Cowell.

Let me take you through a typical conversation with Bobby:

Me [working on laptop]
Bobby: “Hey. Hey. Hey you. Hey you there. Hey. Hey you. Hey. Hey you…”
Me: “Hi Bobby.”
Bobby: “You know what? Now would be a really good time to throw my ball.”
Me: “Not now Bobby, Auntie Jenny is very busy. I’ll play as soon as I’m done.”
Bobby: “Hey you. Hey. Hey. Hey you. Hey. Hey…”
Me: “I’ll play with you in a minute Bobby.”
Bobby: “Ok that’s fine, I’ll just bark until you’re done. Or I could headbutt your legs? Or I could bark *and* headbutt your legs, that’d be good…”
Me: “I’d rather you didn’t.”
Bobby: “What is it you’re doing anyway? I’ll come up and see. Let me just lick your eyeballs, I forgot to do that. Now then. Oh, is that a laptop? I know, I’ll sit on that for you.”
[Bobby sits on keyboard, writes experimental novel with his bum]
Bobby: “I’m helping.”
Me: “[sigh] Yes you are. OK, we’ll play.”
[Bobby starts trying to bite his own head with excitement.]

Bobby has a unique style of playing. His favourite game is a modified version of fetch; these are the rules:
He barks until I throw the ball.
I throw the ball.
He watches the ball go past.
He barks at me until I fetch the ball.
Repeat x 34,000.

This is standard procedure unless he can’t find his ball because he’s sitting on it.

Apparently, these rounds of ‘Infinite Fetch’ were my fault for “being too soft with him”. When my other half saw me chasing the ball yet again, he just rolled his eyes and said, “He’s got to learn who’s boss.” Ha. Bobby already knows who’s boss… Bobby is.

“I tried eating while he was busy outside, but it turns out he can hear food. He can also teleport to wherever you are about to start eating.”

Bobby’s other main pastime is eating food. I should point out that ‘food’ has a very loose definition here, and can include sticks, grass, other dogs’ poo, and whatever he can lick off the plates in the dishwasher before you manage to close the door.

In fact, the only thing Bobby won’t eat is lettuce. This is his one concession to being sensible.

Bobby’s favourite food tends to be ‘that thing someone else is currently eating’. This makes mealtimes a bit difficult, as he has perfected the ‘poor starving orphan’ look: He’s got making you feel like Mr Bumble down to a fine art. This is despite the fact that he’s just had his dinner, and probably half of your dinner too by this point, not to mention dog biscuits and a large helping of grass from the garden.

But don’t be fooled – this is a ruthless predator waiting to strike. If you so much as glance away from your food, the second you look back, your food will be gone. I tried eating while he was busy outside, but it turns out he can hear food. He can also teleport to wherever you are about to start eating.

“I miss Bobby now I’m not looking after him. Bobby is an infuriating wazzock, but it’s hard not to fall in love with him.”

Once or twice I resorted to eating in the bathroom, only to find Bobby lying on the floor outside with a reproachful look on his face. We tried taking it in turns to eat while the other one distracted him, but this didn’t fool Bobby for a second. We tried eating while he ate his dinner, but unfortunately he came to view this as a challenge, and we couldn’t finish our dinner in the 10 seconds it took for him to finish his.

After three days of this behaviour, I started to wonder if they did some sort of special gin for dogs. After a week, I decided that if I did find special dog gin, I’d just drink it myself.

My sister-in-law returned to find a frazzled shell of a woman, staring into the distance and muttering, “No, Bobby” over and over again.

“How’s he been? Has he behaved himself?”
“Oh… he’s been fine.” [continues staring] “He’s been no trouble at all.”

You know the really weird thing though? I miss Bobby now I’m not looking after him. I miss the occasional five minutes where he wasn’t barking or eating, and he would curl up and snore on my legs.

I miss him jumping up at me in delight when I came downstairs in the morning. I miss him following me around like a noisy shadow. I even miss trying to get his head out of the dishwasher. Bobby is an infuriating wazzock, but it’s hard not to fall in love with him.

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly quite looking forward to my sister-in-law’s next holiday.


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Written by Jenny Morrill

Jenny writes for Den of Geek and anywhere else that will listen. To date, the most Trios she has eaten in a row is 20. Her blog is the place to be if you like Bungle and expired food. worldofcrap.co.uk