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Despite all the great trips our pups-in-training get to go on, and the fact that I think the City Clerk world only lets me in because I usualy am in the company of a very cute dog, this trip Cate is staying home. Obviously Sabina has long hung up her wings, and quite frankly unless she is going to a dog function she just as soon stay at home then go. (Don’t you dare leave her a home when she could be going on a dog outing though.) This trip is just a little much for Cate, being 13 weeks old and all. So I am off to Portland for the annual conference of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and Cate is off to her Aunt Bonnie’s house.

We are fortunate to live in an area where there is a vast network of puppy raisers, sitters, and breeder caretakers who are always willing to take a dog off your hands. A simple email to the group usually yeilds more responses than you could imagine and often from people you haven’t met yet but need a puppy fix. Sometimes you are looking for something specific like a puppy raiser that has a cat or kids, and sometimes you are just desperate and the first responder wins! (Seriously, it is a win to watch a pup.) In the three years I have been part of the GRC I have yet to hear of someone who couldn’t find a sitter. Sometimes it is even a crazy patchwork of sitters, but the pup has a home none the less.

Do you remember, because I do, being sent of to Aunt so-and-so’s house for the weekend, or to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a couple weeks in the summer? Beside all the packing, there is the lecture: you will eat what your served, make your bed, don’t sass mouth, don’t offer to do the chores – just do them. I remember picking up my girlfriend’s for a sleep over and hearing her mom tell her to be on her best behavior. In my house we were told to have on our company manners. It isn’t much different when you have a dog. You give the pup a pep talk and all, but really you know your just doing that to make yourself feel better.

Generally we don’t take toys and schlep over kennels, goodness knows most puppy raisers already have an abundance of those. No, when you are getting your puppy ready it is usually food, leash, gentle leader, and cape; and if you only remember one thing it better be the cape. Puppy raisers are resourceful and can figure out the rest. Here is the rub, if you are leaving dog (somewhere over six months, knows commands, is hurry-reliable) it isn’t that big of a deal, leaving a puppy is a whole different story. When you leave a puppy, you hope real hard that they won’t pee on the carpet or cry all night in their crate. Anxiety is pretty much the feeling of the day. I am not particularly worried though – Bonnie is pretty tough. In fact I expect Cate to be much better than when I left her!

Here is to a puppy free week, for me and a house full of pups for Bonnie. (Don’t worry I will be meeting up with Portland’s Finest (CCI PRs) on my trip)