Buster's big weekend

I have suddenly found my schedule wide-open due to COVID-19. Wait! Before you stop reading thinking this is going to be about the lack of toilet paper, number of cancelled events or how the pandemic is affecting everyone, please know this is not going to be about the current state of emergency we are in.

It is simply an introduction to finding myself with the time to sit down and write.

It was the last week in January when I got a text from my son Austin. He wanted to know what I was doing for the upcoming weekend. After explaining it was the opening weekend of the dinner theater we were having at the Knox Presbyterian Church and my plans only included the show, he asked if I would dog sit since he was going to be away for the weekend.

My "grand-puppy," as I call him, is a rather large, intimidating-looking Cane Corso, retriever mix dog. While he may look intimidating with his large size and loud bark, his personality has proven otherwise.

I agreed to have Buster come stay with me, telling Austin I would pick him up at his house Friday night when I was done with the show.

I got to the house, he (Buster) was happy to see me and we made it home without incident. I was ready to settle down for the night but he had other plans. He seemed to be very restless and didn't want to go to bed. Eventually, though, I was able to fall asleep and when I did, the dog was laying on the floor beside my bed.

Fast forward to Saturday morning -- I was awakened with a snort and a not-so-gentle nudge saying "I need to go out." When I got to the kitchen,

I discovered my cupboard door open. There was a box of cereal, which had been nearly full the evening before, completely empty. The box and bag were still intact but not a bite of cereal could be found anywhere.

Evidently "Honey Bunches of Oats" didn't settle well in Buster's stomach and I spent much of the day taking the dog outside. Luckily there was fresh snow so it was easy to see where not to step.

I was somewhat skeptical about leaving him alone in the house while I was at the church but I had no choice. More than once during the evening, I found myself wondering what kind of mess I might find myself with when I got home.

Surprise -- there was nothing. Buster was lying nicely with Coco (my senior long-haired Chihuahua). There was no mess, there was no food missing from the cupboard, nothing was chewed or ripped apart. I was so proud of him and immediately took him out so he didn't break the streak.

Saturday night was much more quiet than Friday, he settled down, went to sleep and only got me up twice to go out. By Sunday morning, I was feeling pretty confident about leaving him. I went to church, did the play and headed home without worry.

Things weren't quite as quiet as they were the night before. I don't mean it was loud but I had to push something out of the way so I could open the door. This was my first clue as to what I was to find when I got inside.

The cupboard doors were open. There was an empty box of Wheat Thins lying on the floor in front of the door. I also found two sleeves of saltine crackers which were opened but uneaten (I'm not sure if he decided he didn't like plain old saltine crackers or if they were stale), several other boxes, a couple of cans and an empty M&M bag.

While I was somewhat surprised and a little concerned with the amount of chocolate he had consumed while eating an entire one pound bag of M&Ms, it wasn't torn up quite as badly as you may think. There were very few crumbs scattered on the floor and nothing was torn to shreds and strewn throughout the house.

It all seemed to be contained in a small section in front of the door and cupboard.

After taking the stupid dog, as I was now referring to him, outside for an extended time in the yard, I came back in to clean up the mess.

Later, when the mess was taken care of, the garbage was taken out, the dog had been out a couple of more times and I felt satisfied with my progress, I headed back the hall to change my clothes.

Or so I thought...

Light streamed through the naked window, void of the blind normally in front of it. Strung across the bed, the nightstand and onto the floor was my blind, pulled completely from the wall. Upon picking it up, I discovered several of the slats were also broken.

I had a stern talking to with the dog, explaining "Grandma" didn't appreciate the mess he made and he was going to have to sit in a corner and have a time out. He pretended to listen and pay attention to me then proceeded to give me a kiss with a three-foot wide tongue, right across my face after which he sat down and shook my hand.

I wasn't really mad at him, well, maybe a little but I was pretty sure he hadn't maliciously attacked my blind. I managed to figure out all by myself and was pretty sure the neighbor had been in his driveway or gotten company and Buster heard the noise outside the window and was trying to move the blind out of the way so he could see what was going on and say hello.

I skeptically left him alone in the house once again and made a record time trip to WalMart to purchase a new blind which I was actually able to install without too much trouble.

We watched the Super Bowl together, went to bed and he was still here when I left for work Monday morning. I'm not sure how late it was before he was picked up but there was no sign of any destructive activity.

It was not quite the calm, quiet weekend I was expecting but everyone needs a little excitement now and then right? I mean, what would life be without a little something out of the ordinary now and then. No harm was done, nothing was permanently damaged, well, except for the blind, and the food I can't get back.

At least he didn't eat the toilet paper.

The author is a Knox-area resident.