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A ‘babysitting’ request hard to refuse

It was a babysitting request I couldn’t refuse.

After all, they were two “grandchildren” – actually a “grand-dog” named Leo and a “grand-cat” with Ellie as her given name.

Our vacationing daughter was headed for a primitive camping experience not really suited for these two four-legged critters, probably because they’re too spoiled for such accommodations.

So over to “grandpa and grandma’s” house they came for an extended stay.

Leo’s been here before and is an easy keeper.

He is a big black dog that wears a Green Bay Packers collar, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t pick that out for himself.

He is a very friendly, cuddly dog with such an expressive face. If you ask him with animation – and believe me I do with a sickening level of sweetness – “Do you want to go for a ride in the car?” he cocks his head way to one side, perks his ears up and looks as excited as I do when Better Half offers to take me to the ice cream stand for a hot fudge sundae with nuts, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top.

Leo and I both twirl around in happy anticipatory circles.

Ellie, a newer addition to the extended Kiaski family, was making her debut stay-over, and her “mommy” was very worried about that.

So was Better Half, having bad feline memories and even worse experiences in the past when we were first dating, when I had a cat named Shirley – Shirl for short.

Shirley, who didn’t like competition for attention and was more than a little bit jealous, did not care for Better Half very much and usually let him know with a hiss here and a paw swipe there, not to mention an ankle attack or two.

Ellie, I reassured him, was not of Shirley lineage.

“Not to worry,” I told him. “It’ll be fun.”

And it was. Funny, too, especially when our daughter arrived not only with moderate levels of “parental” separation anxiety, she came toting all this dog and cat paraphernalia stuff; a notebook with lots of instructions in it and do’s and dont’s; and individual bags of food marked “B” for breakfast and “D” for dinner. Wow, this was serious sitting.

I had flashbacks to being a young parent carrying a big diaper bag in which I carted around half of the nursery’s contents for two babies and assumed no one knew anything about child care except for yours truly.

Ellie was elusive the first day with us, spending most of it underneath the couch until she ventured out to explore her new surroundings.

I had forgotten how curious cats are and how entertaining. She made herself at home and found places to lounge, a discovery I would make time and again when I would see one of her legs extended underneath a chair here, a couch there.

The phone rang that first night with an anxious voice on the other end of the line asking if “everybody” was OK.

Translated, that meant Leo and Ellie.

We assured her that everything was just “purrr-fect.”

And we were all having a “dog-gone” good time.