Monday, 22nd November 2004
How about babysitting my puppy for a couple of days? Dagmar knows how to ask a favour: Just take her out a couple of times per day, refill her food and water and that is it. And Mick, my cat will take care of him self. Well, he'd better as cats obey humans even less than dogs do.

The preparation

Chantal, dog training expert at the Dog school Rotterdam supplies a few tips by phone. It all sounds very logical and self explanatory. So these few days of babysitting looks like an easy task.

On babysitting eve Dagmar instructs me briefly. Yet, my memory can't cope with her flood of facts. In despair I try to digest her streaming audio as good as I can. We practice the whole thing, go for a stroll with Jessy. It is a bit uncomfortable, but the real boss at hand all's fine.


The morning starts way too early. The sun just rose when Dagmar exits her car at Amsterdam airport. Till tomorrow night. I drive back to a strange house, in a strange car, in a strange rush hour with a strange pup in the back. The pup starts moaning already.

At home she is happy with a cookie in her bench and sleeps the major part of the morning. So far so good.

Wake up with coffee

It is a weird experience to live in a foreign house. Simple things like making coffee is a quest. There is no ground coffee. There are coffee beans somewhere, but I'll have to find them first. The coffee filters take the quest to the next level. Why do women hide everything in boxes, behind doors and drawers, preferably as far apart as possible? Jessy sleeps and I happily install myself at the laptop with a fresh brewed coffee.

This quiet moment is welcome to get acquainted with the new Office software on my new laptop. These few days are a fine opportunity to convert the sheets of the SUMit roster design training into Open Office Impress.

Street talk in the afternoon

The weather is good. It is a joy to go for a stroll with Jessy. Just about everything excites the pup. A few leaves blowing in the wind are a source of great pleasure. Going for a walk quickly turns into a habit after a few times. The rounds offer great moments for reflection, a fine moment to pause work.

It is so strange to walk the life of somebody else. Complete strangers address me.

All this human attention is a bit unusual for me. Normally I enjoy the solitude, limit my social talks to the bare minimum. So, should you ever need to get in contact with fellow humans... Go and take a puppy out for a walk!

Back home the cat has squatted the bench. She enjoys the conquered territory like a Roman emperor. This must be a revanche. The cat serves as a model for the pup. It is fun to see how the little one mimics the big cat in just about everything. So, the pup loves the cat's hummock and tries to eat cat food. But now the tables have turned, the cat has taken the dog's favourite place.

The evening

The cat sits waiting in front of the door to the balcony. It seems like it is asking permission to exit, so I open the door. Cats are easy.

I bet this is a good time to go for a walk with the dog. When we just passed the block I hear a cat screaming through the night. Which idiot leaves a cat outdoors in the dark? O dear, I bet this could me. It seams that the moaning originates from the balcony for the whole neighbourhood to hear. This better be the fastest stroll ever.

With a bit of canned food I lure the cat back indoors. Silence is back. The whole neighbourhood may now enjoy a good night's sleep.

Middle of the night

It is hard to get to sleep. Somewhere way after midnight I doze away. Just before 3 o'clock in the morning Jessy wakes me up. I try to ignore her yelping, but it gets louder and louder. O now, not now. I envision the whole neighbourhood waking up.

How to silence a dog in the middle of the night? I haven't got a clue. If only Dagmar was at home, she'd know what to do. Call Chantal of the dog school to end my panic? No, not at three o'clock in the night.

The best that comes to mind is to go for a stroll. Grumbling I get dressed, pick up Jessy and open the front door as quietly as possible. I see a black shadow passing. The cat is up and away in the stairs of this apartment building. O dear, I just hope the does not start singing taking full advantage of the excellent acoustics. Panic! I call him as quietly as possible Mick! The cat stops and sits down, looks at me in amazement, turns around and flees back indoors. Thank heavens!

Rise in the dark

My head is far from fresh after two short nights. So I'd better switch on the lights. There is a lamp in the most distant corner of the dining room. While getting there I stumble and hear the cat complain. He'll hide and won't be friends with me for the rest of the day.

It is raining outside. Indoors I make slow but steady progress making my sheets for the roster design training. In between jobs I wash the dishes and prepare the welcome-back-dinner.

In between showers I make my rounds with Jessy. It is fine as long as I stick to the well known route. All this walking has worn out the inner sole of my shoe. I make a preliminary repair with a piece of cardboard.

Puppy mama is back home

It is a big relief when Dagmar calls at the end of the day. She'll be home in an hour!

I pack my things, finish cooking and get my coat. Jessy halts as soon as we divert from the well known route. Yes, I know, the weather is terrible, yet we really have to head in a different direction. It is a bit of a struggle to get this pup going. Again and again she sits down at strike on the cold wet street. In despair I just pick her up and carry her all the way to the train station.

When Dagmar disembarks from the train Jessy seems ignorant of her boss approaching. Only when she is right in front she gets very enthusiastic. She jumps into Dagmar's arms, wags her tail and licks her boss a warm welcome. I'd like to hug Dagmar too. Hip hip hurray, the puppy mama is back!

Walking back home is a joy. Jessy listens very well to her real boss. Everything is so smooth and easy going!

Inner sole

Back home Jessy is totally happy. She seizes the opportunity to grab my repaired shoe. The smelling cardboard inner sole must be irresistible for a puppy, much more fun than regular dog food. I say bye-bye with some new cardboard. Exhausted I head home to easier jobs such as design a shift roster and OO software development with PHP. Yet it takes a few more nights before the habit fades away of waking up at 3 o'clock at night.

Till next nut,