The Papillons’ breeder, Trudy, parks her van in our driveway, and we carry Petco dog-stuff into Lily and Bashi’s designated room in their Forever Home. The human guest bed is still in their room but the south wall is ready for everything dog.
Trudy plugs the “dog calmer” into the south wall socket. The Paps sniff the air. I hear a gentle whirring; I feel calmer.
“See how easy this unfolds,” Trudy says, manipulating a wire cage that she calls a crate. Ernest copies her moves. Ernest knows I can’t follow diagrams or directions so I keep my paws out of this.
Trudy puts the wire cages next to each other on the south wall and smoothes dog bedding into each one. “When you want the pups to go to sleep, put this blanket on top of the crates,” Trudy says, taking my favorite made-by-me quilt off the guest bed and catywampusing it over the crates.
Trudy opens the hamster feeding equipment and instructs Ernest on how to attach the sipper water bottles and kibble feeders onto the wire bars. He nods.
“Let’s set up the Mr. GoodDrink for Dogs in the kitchen,” Trudy says.
I put my quilt back on the guest bed where it is going to stay…Trudy or no Trudy.
“Be sure to change the water every day,” I hear Trudy instructing Ernest.
“I’m looking for Mr.GoodDrink’s directions now,” Ernest says. “Ah. Triple filtered and circulated water.” I see him splashing the water as it falls nearly two feet from its holding container into a stainless steel bowl on the floor. Bashi and Lily are keeping their distance.
“Do you think Mr. GoodDrink’s waterfall contraption was invented by the Army Corps of Engineers?” I ask.
“Probably a spin-off from a fed grant to NASA,” Ernest says.
Trudy takes a cup of the filtered water and heads back to the guest bedroom.
“What happened here?” Trudy eyes the quilt on the guest bed. She looks at me the way my mother used to when I needed a lesson. “The Paps will like that blanket over their heads when they sleep,” Trudy says. “It has your scent. The dogs don’t need to look at it.”
I lower my head in submission.
“This is how to crate them,” Trudy says, opening the front door to each cage and enticing each Pap inside by jiggling the kibble in the hamster feeders. “They are food motivated,” she says, closing the doors and putting the quilt back over their crates. “They’ve had a big day and they need to sleep.”
“Thanks for everything, Trudy,” I say, giving her a hug.
“Remember, we’re family now,” she says, climbing into her van.
I put my quilt back on the guest bed and open the doors of the cages.
Ernest is standing by the opened refrigerator, taking out scraps of yesterday’s steak. “Lily! Bashi!”
“Oh, Ernest,” I say. “We don’t want to spoil them.”
“Oh yes we do,” he says, taking more steak scraps out of the frig. Lily licks her lips; Bashi lips his.