I didn't mean to imply that my time spent "Bart-sitting" was all fun and games. Bart is a "roamer" and was allowed free reign in our southern mountains by his previous owner. And he still yearns to roam free - mostly to visit his girlfriend.
We've quickly figured out that all the neighborhood talk that landed Bart in doggie jail was just...talk. We've found that "leash-walkers" (that is my favorite curse word for uptight dog owners) would yell at him and mistreat him. So would kids on bikes - he will go berserk at the sight of a parked bicycle! But the laid back dog owners - the ones who don't pee their pants at the sight of an unleashed dog - often fell in love with him and would invite him to go on walks with them.
While the BFF doesn't like to let him do this, sometimes, he just takes off! And he comes home on his own. If the gate isn't open or if his mom is out looking for him, he has a secret hiding place in their front yard where he waits.
It's no surprise he would test me on this while his pawrents were away! He took off up the mountain several times. Once he went down a dead end road. I gave chase, Mabel patiently waiting in the car. Bart ran faster. Knowing this was a losing race, I jumped into a wide stance, lowered my chest, smiled and raise my head and wagged MY tail.
"YOU CAN'T CATCH ME!" I yelled at Bart.
I was wrong. He could and he did...as I ran in the front door of his house!
Other times, he got up the mountain so quickly, I had to chase him by car. Each time he had found a friendly fellow hiker / pup to take up with. Each time, he danced as my Jeep approached as if to say, "HI AUNTIE! What are you doing here?" Each time, he gleefully jumped into the car and allowed me to drive him home.
But that would turn out to be a minor issue. I think any dog-sitter's greatest fear is having something bad happen to your charge. I once took care a neighbor's fish - gold fish. We were good friends. The fish died. We weren't friends anymore. I think it scarred me!
Bart loves to jump out of car windows! But until one of my last days keeping him, he had always jumped out of PARKED cars! As we neared our parking spot at the creek one day, Bart was so excited, he leaped from the window. I was traveling pretty fast and in the midst of a U-turn to park and this flung his body at strange angle. I slammed on the breaks and screamed. I could see his eyes WIDE with fear and looking up at me as he slammed into the concrete! He landed on his forearms and chin. I raced to him as he stood and started shaking it off. He moved his chin from side to side like I've seen boxers do after a hard punch.
Sobbing, I got him into the car. I called the BFF in tears. And as we talked, it became clear that other than a skinned chin, Bart was fine and oh so anxious to hike! Me? I still have nightmares!
And... I now roll the windows up before I get to the creek!