Circumstances (escapades, really) Calling for a ‘Modified Habit’

001Sr. Christina M. Neumann

What I night I had!…Sr. Elaine and Sr. Rebecca were out of town for a board meeting in Baudette, MN, so I got the honors of dog-sitting “the little guy,” that is, Dodge, the poodle at St. Anne’s Guest Home.  I always work Monday evenings until ten and take him home with me when I get off.

I have done this many times before without too much trouble.  However, last night was different!  I let him out to the bathroom at some point after nine, as I am accustomed to doing when “dog-sitting.”  When the night staff arrived, I assured them that I would be taking him home with me; they would not have to worry about him.  “He would be fine.  He’s usually pretty good and doesn’t give me much trouble.”  Well, was I in for a surprise!

P1010003The little rascal just wouldn’t settle down.  I put his little bed in the corner of my bedroom, against the wall, set him there, and covered him up.  He wanted none of it!  He got up and walked around.  I tried it again; no luck.  After a few more attempts to get him settled, including taking him into the living room to offer him a drink of water, I gave up.

A week ago, Sr. Rebecca had been home but not able to take care of him, so I had offered.  At that time, I learned the futility of trying to sleep with an anxious poodle in one’s bedroom.  He had started panting in his restless pacing and I feared I might send him into cardiac arrest.  I had finally called over to the night staff, explained the problem, and been graciously assured that they would take care of him; I could send him over.

Recalling this episode, I didn’t waste too much time trying to futilely settle ‘the little guy’ down.  I picked him up and proceeded to grab my house coat and veil.  He was very anxious, and before I could get myself all together for the ten-thirty trek back over to St. Anne’s, the little rugrat (as I have recently taken to calling him),  moistened the top of my feet with an unsavory liquid.  After that, I didn’t want to put my shoes on and get urine on them – yuck!  With Dodge to deal with, I didn’t want to get involved in the effort right then of washing my feet, so I walked over, with him in arm, to St. Anne’s, not even bothering to call ahead to alert the night staff of their coming companion.

I walked (or almost ran) carefully over to the building (which is right accross a courtyard from our convent) with the rugrat in my arms.  However, they had already locked that door.  I knocked a few times, but was not heard.  I went around, then to the kitchen entrance, which I could access by pushing in a code.  Dressed in my pajamas, house coat, and veil (a modified habit, you might say) I let myself into the building, walked through the kitchen, and set “the little guy down on the floor.  I went back into the kitchen, then, where there was a phone, which I used to call the front desk and tell the night staff that they would have Dodge there with them after all.

I headed back home by the shortest route, forgetting that I didn’t have my key and that I had left the door on the other side of the garage open to let myself back in.  I went around the building, walking carefully with my bare feet, and went in the way I had originally come out.

After washing my contaminated feet off in the bathtub, I went to bed.  However, morning would not come without further escapades; around 1:30 a.m. I got a call to come over.  The fire alarm was going off and they needed help getting the residents down to safety.

This time, I quickly dressed in my skirt, vest, blouse and veil and headed over to St. Anne’s, my keys conveniently in my pocket.  I helped escort residents to the stairwell, but before we could get much further, one of the night aides came with some good news: the source of the alarm was found.  Dust may have triggered a detector.  We let the residents return to their rooms.

I, too, was happy to be able to return home without too much commotion. I undressed and went back to bed, this time sleeping until morning.

What a night!

3 thoughts on “Circumstances (escapades, really) Calling for a ‘Modified Habit’

  1. Were you able to quickly go back to sleep? It would have taken me at least an hour.
    I know Dodge loves you and you take very good care of him. as a true Franciscan.


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