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L’il Sis came for a short visit this week. As is common in this family, ETA can vary as much as four hours from the original plan. I didn’t want to leave the house the morning of her arrival (since it was raining I felt like neither a swim nor a walk) for fear of missing L’il Sis, wanting to spend as much time as possible with her. I knew she had wedding things to tend to, but I expected we’d have the afternoon together, then dinner, then some bad t.v. watching together in ‘my nest’ (what normal people call the bed).

I had forgotten that, along with Groucho, L’il Sis’s Dominican rescue dog, she was bringing Other Brother’s dog also — said dog being the ‘sister’ of P.M., the cat that almost ate Mrs. Beeton (my pink Parakeet) last week. Just don’t ask…

L’il Sis arrived at 2 p.m. and as I hurried downstairs to welcome her tardy self and Groucho, something large whizzed by me in a blur.It was Wilma, the mixed blue tick hound — also a rescue dog with a recently broken leg. She has healed, sort of, but goes  nowhere without her specially-designed, very expensive, orthopedic boot, not unlike the one I sported after I broke a bone in my ankle in Australia. Wilma’s was much more refined, complicated and, I know, expensive!

It must be clear by now that we adopt mostly bent, busted, crippled, infirm, ‘on their last leg’ pets…with apologies to Mrs. Beeton who is young and in perfect health. Or she was until Wilma barged into the bird room and scared the shit out of her. Literally. She again, for the second time in a week, made her ‘bad noise’, signifying how terrified she was of the huge ‘bull in a china shop’ creature that had just appeared in her domain.This was but a taste of things that were to come.

We took the dogs for a quick run in the neighbor’s fenced yard to wear them out (ha! as if…), during which Wilma accidentally fell into the fish pond. She was then muddy AND stinky…and, it has to be said, surprised. She didn’t see that coming. Sadly, neither did the fish! Lil Sis and I had a quick visit back at my place, pawed through my jewelry collection to find things for L’il Sis to wear at her wedding, and then she announced that she had to leave ‘for a bit’ to meet the owners of the cafe providing the meal for the wedding dinner.

“Uh, what about Wilma?” I asked, a sense of foreboding gripping me. “Groucho’s no problem. He knows me and feels comfortable here, but the last time Wilma was here, she stood on my bed while I was trying to watch t.v., and while looking out the window (presumably for you), barked and whined until I couldn’t take it any longer. If you’ll recall, I had to call you to come rescue me…”

“Oh, but she’s much better behaved now,” L’il Sis assured me. “She’ll be fine. Have faith. Keep an open mind.”

I grimaced. “O-kay…”

L’il Sis then proceeded to put Wilma’s ‘thunder shirt’ (also known as an ‘anxiety vest’ on her ‘just in case’.) Geez, don’t I rate an anxiety shirt about now? Screw the dog…

L’il Sis left. Wilma immediately began scratching at the door and whining for L’il Sis. Groucho was a perfect little gentleman. I put a sheet (for protection after the muddy romp) on the bed L’il Sis normally uses and he happily, after a piece of salami, went to sleep.

I sat down at the computer to warn Gill that, if she didn’t hear from me by the following day, it was because Wilma had taken me hostage and I couldn’t get out! I wasn’t hopeful. And even if I did survive the afternoon, L’il Sis was going out for a drink with her girl pal that night.

“So I’m dog-sitting them both again tonight?” I asked weakly.

L’il Sis looked guiltily at me and nodded. “Here…I brought you this lovely sun hat!” A total non sequitur, but..so, fine, I was bought off by a hat.

Perhaps I can take my Valium a bit early tonight and pass out watching Nashville…with Groucho on the bed, Mrs. Beeton, still miffed at being locked in her cage beside the bed, and Wilma outside my room, scratching the door to get in. On second thought, perhaps 2 Valium…

Gill, help!!!