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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

World’s Worst Dog Sitter

I was recently asked to dog sit for some friends. I probably should’ve confessed that this was to be my very first dog sitting experience. And I suppose I could’ve let my friends know that I am allergic to dogs. I also would’ve let them know there’s a reason this innkeeper isn’t allowed out of the B&B often but I couldn’t help myself. You see, for the first time since our short-lived experience with a poorly-trained akita who tried to kill my beloved cat 20 years ago, I was excited to meet Doc – a well-behaved golden retriever – to try my hand at this taking care of a large pup experience.


This is how I knew I was at the right house.

Doc has the ability to say a million words with one sweet, adoring look but on this particular occasion, I think he was simply asking, “Please hold me.”


We had a great time playing and napping. It was easy to see that Doc was sweet and innocent.

The next morning, however, I was ready to explore the city so, being the elaborate breakfast-maker I am, I made a little toast for breakfast and was on my way.


“Please hold me.”


When I returned home, Doc greeted me like we’d been friends for years. I love him.

The next morning I was feeling rather creative, so I made myself piece of toast. In an attempt to butter my toast while it was still piping hot (the only way to butter your bread), I seemed to of misplaced the butter. I’m not exactly sure how one loses a stick of butter for two days. But, evidently, it can happen. I searched high and low. Since the only two people in the house were Doc and I, I knew it surely had to me that had lost the butter because all the puppy who says a million words had spoken to me so far was, “Please hold me.” And, me? Well, I’m 45 so I voted myself most certainly guilty of having a bad memory, counted my loses and hoped I would never have to explain to Doc’s owners why there was an entire stick of butter under their child’s bed or up on a bookshelf a year from now.

I opened a new stick of butter, buttered my cold toast, and (because I hadn’t learned the first time) placed the stick of butter on the countertop, and went about my day. It involved funky food trucks so I was exceptionally excited.


“Leaving again? Please, hold me.”


Once again, I returned home to this pure sweetness. And then I realized that the things on the countertop in front of the butter had fallen to the floor. I’m no detective, but my guess was that Doc was responsible for the first stick of butter coming up missing – wrapper and all.

I finally caught on to the parties that were taking place while I was away and placed the new stick of opened butter up higher than before… right next to the box of lemon tea. I felt good about my uber-intelligence and went about my evening, pouring another glass of Diet Coke, like a responsible dog sitter does.

Doc took the chair and I took the couch – this was our unspoken agreement ever since I’d discovered that adorable golden retrievers are no exception to my allergies. We watched the Food Network together. By now, I had also decided I’m pretty good at this taking care of dogs thing.


The next morning, I was feeling ultra-creative, and I made myself a piece of toast. I went to pour a glass of Diet Coke for myself, like all responsible dog sitters do, and turned around to check on my toast. Instead of buttered toast, I ended up with a buttered toaster. The toaster is higher than the countertop after all; but, in all of my undeniable responsibility, I had forgotten that toasters get hot. I turned to Doc for help since he was the only other person in the house and he simply said with his big, brown eyes, “Please hold me.”

Since the box of lemon tea was standing by innocently, I gently rinsed off the buttered-infused tea bags and set aside the idea of using soap in a feeble to preserve their lemony goodness. I laid them carefully upon a towel to dry and decided I would figure out what to do with the greasy coating later since I had to leave again.


“No… really… please, hold me.”


Doc and I were reunited again that afternoon. A path of half-chewed, butter-licking-good lemon tea bags greeted me at the door. And that was when I decided that Doc loves butter as much as I love Doc. And that’s a lot.

On my last night with Doc I went out one last time.


“We’re watching Food Network again tonight, right? And you’ll hold me, right? Also, I like butter.”

I was on a mission to buy lemon tea to make up for my dog-sitting shenanigans. When I returned from the store, there was a dog license notice on the door. It said, “Pay within 10 days.” and I’m sure I’m the blame. I don’t know why. I’m just sure I am.

And that. That was when I knew that I was the worst dog sitter ever – because my dachshund eating my car’s entire dashboard to get a ball out of the glove compartment back in 2002 wasn’t enough evidence that I should just stick to innkeeping.

Please hold me.


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8 Responses

  1. So cute and FUNNY!!! I can totally see you doing this! We LOVE our doggies and I know you would be great with them too!!

  2. Michelle Aandahl

    Oh, Deanna….I hope you can be somewhat comforted by the fact that we’ve had butter, cheese and even chicken (yes, chicken….bones and all…not safe!) disappear from our countertops. Uff da. I believe I will stick to cats.

  3. Julie

    Deanna, you make me smile!! I needed a great tail 😉 like this today!

  4. love it… you can watch my dogs anytime!!!!!!!

  5. Michele

    While I now feel incredibly guilty for subjecting our dear friend to the charms of an ultra needy and irresistible Golden Retriever while suffering from itches and sneezes, we do so appreciate your taking care of our dear Doc while you explored Portlandia and all of its own quirkiness. Even if toasters were buttered and pups were partying. You are welcome anytime…but next time we will be home 🙂

  6. Wow, this is so funny. Let me guess — guests at your B&B get the most delicious buttery toast for breakfast!

    I wish I’d found your blog earlier, when I was writing this post about B and B blogs. I’ll be sure to include you next time!

  7. Sounds like you had a pretty enjoyable time with Doc. I hope you didn’t tell your friends about the butter incidents.

  8. I enjoyed your story. So natural, and you’re a natural comic!

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