Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waiting for Jesse

Styles, our pitbull, has a high school friend, Jesse, who comes to play ball with him in the afternoons. Manette and I started hiring kids a few years ago from the Babysitters/Dog Walkers listing in a local newspaper. It’s worked out well, and over time we’ve had about a dozen come to the house after school a few days a week. At least that’s how it started.

For those of you who don’t know pitbulls, they’re working dogs who are incredibly energetic and athletic. They need to burn off energy or they come at you with their favorite form of working dog “work,” which in the case of Styles is balls. He’s obsessed with them. Somebody needs to throw them, play tug of war over them or say “What about that one,” and point to another to send him off to pounce on it after dropping the one in his mouth.

Styles quickly became accustomed to having captive playmates and so we needed to organize it on a daily basis. As I said earlier, we’ve had a dozen or so, but Jesse is his champion and he adores her like no other. She doesn’t talk on the phone, watch YouTubes or text with her friends; Styles gets her unqualified attention while she’s here. She strokes his head when she arrives, talks sweetly to him while they play, and blows kisses to him as she leaves.

Now it’s her job exclusively.

That’s Styles in the photo at left, waiting for Jesse at the front door.

I call him Mr. Clairvoyant, because he knows when it’s approaching 3:00 pm and he starts his vigil. Since Jesse recently got her driver’s license, she generally pulls into the driveway, opens the electric gate with the remote we gave her and comes in the back door. When Styles hears the gate opening he starts yelping and crying like he hasn’t seen her in weeks. The yard is fenced in because of the pool, so when Jesse pulls to a stop in the back we let him out to take a victory lap around the yard and greet her as she’s getting out of her car. On days we aren’t home because of appointments, she lets herself in with the key we gave her.

That’s her setup in the other photo at left. She prefers Earl Grey tea with sugar and cream and we usually leave her a cookie for herself and a treat to give Styles.

We know that eventually, like Nikki, Tina, Nico, Megan and the others before her, Jesse will get a job at the mall or go off to college. 

I have no idea what we’ll do when that happens, because Styles will be inconsolable. Maybe, like Manette says, we should just adopt her.

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