Curiosities

Crawling Through the Doggie Door

My dog Finnegan. The look on his face!

When I was pregnant with our oldest, back in 2003, I was a pinch-hitter for N’s dog sitter. The dog sitter just started a day job, and N wanted me to come in the middle of the day to check in on her pack. And we’re talking pack–there were five dogs ranging from a geriatric Great Dane mix to a pair of Beagles. She dropped off the spare set of keys with me and off they went on vacation. I’ve been to her house plenty of times (Fort Knox, home-slice style), so I was well aware of the intricate order in which I had to gain entry. But I stood there in the blazing Arizona heat trying all the keys in all the orders and variations and could not get the door to open. I’m surprised no one called the police on me I stood there for so long. (pre “NextDoor” days, so there’s that) Not only was I loitering on their front porch, I wandered to the side door and tried the garage–to no avail. I walked around to the back side of the house, hoping none of the dogs were feeling overly protective of the property, trying points of entry back there, too.

In a last ditch effort, I walked to the “dog” area looking long and hard at the doggie door. The Great Dane can’t fit through it, which was one of the reasons I needed to go in the middle of the day. They frequently keep it locked because they don’t want the dogs to drag unwanted things into the house and sometimes just for security…I walked up the ramp leading to the dog door, all the while talking to the dogs in my calm and happy voice. Remember, people, I’m pregnant here. Seven and a half months pregnant. I wasn’t a large pregnant woman by any means, but I did have a baby in my belly. I can’t remember if it was totally locked or not. What I do remember is praying that they didn’t decide to clamp onto me as I crawled into their space through their special door. They were all very nice dogs, but still. This is weird even for the dogs, maybe especially weird for the dogs. 🤷🏻‍♀️

I had to reach my arm into the house somehow and try to unlatch a set of hooks then slowly open the flap, talking to them the entire time I wasn’t straining to reach the latch. I love N, but I was in no mood for an impromptu hospital visit. Did I mention I have broad swimmer’s shoulders? I had to twist and turn to get through the doggie door all the while trying not to scrape my belly against some sharp edge. The irony of a pregnant women sucking in her belly. Good thing I had a strong yoga practice. I also had a few things going for me: I’m super flexible naturally and, despite the belly, I was slender; I’m also super-determined–if I say I’m doing something, I’m doing it.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I did make it in and the dogs were actually pretty happy to see me. Funny thing? They did not want to go outside through the doggie door, at least the three who could fit. One didn’t fit and the other didn’t fit well–how I managed to get in is a Festivus miracle. I had to get up off my hands and knees and open the sliding door on the opposite side of the house for their highnesses. 🙄

All in all, I thought it was funny–after the fact. Good thing my deodorant is awesome, lol. By the time I managed to break into their house N had called me back. Someone gave me the wrong set of keys! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ At least it wasn’t me losing my mind and the dogs didn’t have any accidents on my watch. I also knew I had the correct keys when I left, making the next day look easy-peasy.

One of the jokes I used to frequently make was that I was going to “run away to the circus.” That day, I was legit a circus act. I even think I was wearing a regular but oversized (not maternity) pair of maroon overalls, which Chief said in a post-call stupor that I looked like a giant purple kangaroo (circus-ish)…I kind of liked those overalls, too. Rude.

Why do I no longer say “I’m running away to the circus?” Well, one year, many years ago, Chief told me I was too old to work for the circus. I asked him how he knew. He said he didn’t, but looked it up right then and there. I was too old for the circus. That ended that fun phrase. I haven’t had to crawl through a doggie door lately, either. Knock on wood.

Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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