We are baby-sitting. Well, the baby is a 108-pound German Shepherd/Husky mix with one brown eye and one blue eye named Max.
My son, Alek, and his wife, Anna, are visiting family, so we are keeping Max for a few days.
Despite his size, he’s a big baby, who likes to run around our yard and play.
He towers over our basset hounds, Penny and Ollie.
Penny, who is very skittish around strangers, has never warmed up to Max, and does not like it when he comes close to her. She either retreats to her kennel or to another room, and when Max gets too close and she can’t escape she barks out warnings for him to keep his distance.
Sometimes he just stands close to her like some kid taunting another kid on the playground, listening to her bark, but not moving away.
Ollie is completely different. He doesn’t get too rattled by anything, anyone or any other dogs. He gets along with everyone, and hangs out with Max.
Ollie was old since the day we brought him home and moves at his own pace, which is slow.
My yard is going to take a beating having three dogs fertilizing it, and when my daughter Claire, and her husband, Trent, bring over their bassets, there are five dogs running through the house and tearing up the backyard.
Having an extra dog in the house means shaking up our routine.
Penny and Ollie are always hungry and when fed, gobble down their dog food like it’s their last meal.
After the evening meal they get celery. My wife started giving to them celery years ago, and they look forward to it. They line up by the refrigerator every night for their “dessert.”
Max turns his nose up and walks away. He could care less about celery, and doesn’t even seem that interested in eating.
He’s the only dog in his house - there is a cat named Kevin - so his food can sit around until he’s ready to eat.
If we leave his food out, Penny and Ollie will gobble it down, so we have to watch to make sure he eats and doesn’t leave it for Penny and Ollie to attack.
The other day my wife had to hold his bowl for him to eat.
I can tell he misses his “parents.” He spends a lot of time looking out the windows waiting for them to come back and get him.
He’s a more active dog than our bassets who take naps after eating, naps after going for a walk and naps before going to sleep at night.
Max is like a giant puppy always in search of someone to play with him, and our dogs are always looking for food and sleep.
It’s funny how the different breeds act. We like bassets because they are self-sufficient when we’re not home, and once they get past the puppy stage, don’t cause too many problems.
Max has learned to adapt to the slower pace Penny and Ollie set, so he hasn’t caused any problems, but I’m sure he’ll be happy to get back home to his routine where he doesn’t have to worry about anyone eating his food or anyone trying to feed him celery.
Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.