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Snow Storm Slumber Party

There’s nothing like a good old snowstorm to bring people together. There is the initial anxiety of making sure everyone is safe and accounted for, then the bickering and infighting as the hours drag on, then the camaraderie of joining hands and facing the situation together, and finally the celebration of coming out the other side closer than ever.

As fate would have it, my mom was off island when the storm hit. She got a last minute invite to a New Years party and since our pet sitter was available, she packed a bag and headed out. Since I am older and more mature now, I get to stay at the house alone and the pet sitter just checks on me a few times a day.

On Friday morning my mom was due back, so I kept a close eye on the window all day, but the only thing to pull in our driveway was a mountainous snowdrift. Eventually I saw a different car stop at the end of the driveway and bundled up figure came waddling up the walkway. It was my pet sitter. She opened the door and quickly put my food, treats and a couple toys in a bag and said, “Let’s go, Marty. Your mom is stuck off island and the snow is piling up quick. You’re staying with me tonight.”

I wasn’t in a position to argue, so I followed her out the door and into her car. I took one look around and realized my mom wasn’t the only one stuck off island. There were three other dogs in the car. They must have shared my confusion. No one said anything until we got to the small cottage where the pet sitter lives.

We all walked in and wandered around getting a lay of the land. Chica, a small black terrier, immediately curled up on a small blanket placed on the floor by the bed. I had my eye on that spot, but I wasn’t that tired, so I thought I would go mingle with her sister Tilly, a chihauhau/dauchshund mix who had made a beeline for the bathroom as soon as we arrived.

“Hi I am Marty. I thought I would just…”

“Go away!” She growled and snapped at me. “Leave me alone!”

The pet sitter came over and settled her down. “Marty, she’s not in the mood to talk. Why don’t you get a drink of water? I just put a fresh bowl down.”

I wandered away and considered chatting up the other dog Coco, a small white curly-haired dog, but she was lying under the kitchen table looking aloof. So I got a sip of water and began pacing around the kitchen. I’d been robbed up my long afternoon walk due to the weather, so I had some pent up energy. I nagged at the pet sitter, but she kept telling me to go lay down. Since it wasn’t my home, I was reluctant to try some of my usual tactics like chewing on shoes or scratching at the door. This went on for a few hours. At one point, I considered trying again to befriend Tilly. But I got simultaneous glares from the pet sitter and Tilly and went to sit by the door again.
Finally we all got to go outside for one last “business trip” before bedtime. Once back inside and everyone was dried off, we settled in for the night.

Tilly and Chica were escorted to the bathroom where there were a bunch of towels piled up on the floor. (They are burrowers.)  Coco and I were each assigned a blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed. Before long the lights were out and everyone was dozing off.

I managed to fall asleep for a while, but I woke up and could not find a comfortable position. I got up and circled. And got up and circled. And got up and circled. Then I glanced up at the bed. I looked around a saw everyone asleep and thought, “What’s the harm?” I quietly and carefully crawled up on the bed. The pet sitter stirred but didn’t wake. I layed down and was just drifting off, when Coco popped her head up over the end of the bed.

“What are you doing up there?” she whispered. “No dogs on the bed!”

“Shhhh! You’re going to wake everyone up,” I whispered back.

“That’s no fair. I’m coming up too.”

“No. There’s no room!”

“Yes there is! Move over!”

“NO!!” I barked.

“Marty! Coco! What’s going on!” The pet sitter sat up and shooed me off the bed.

“She started it!” whined Coco. “She wouldn’t let me on the bed!”

“I don’t care who started it! Both of you lay down and go back to sleep.”

“But I’m not comfortable,” I pleaded. “I can’t sleep.”

“Me neither,” Coco chimed in. She looked at me and winked. We both started at the pet sitter with begging eyes.

“Fine! It’s late. We’re all tired. You can BOTH sleep on the bed by my feet. No fighting or you’re both back on the floor.”

I gave Coco a high paw as we got back up on the bed and soon we all fell back to sleep. Until…

Tilly must have been roused by the commotion and tip toed her way out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. Being so short, she couldn’t see the layout of the bed. She walked to one side of the bed and took a blind leap onto the pillow. She landed on the pet sitter’s face. In the dark, who mistook Tilly for me and shouted, “Marty, get off me and go back to sleep.”

“I’m over here.” I called back from the foot of the bed.

“Then who is this? Oh, Tilly. Good grief!”

Exasperated, the pet sitter brought Tilly back to the bathroom with Chica and securely closed the door. She got Coco and I back on the bed and we all managed to get a few more hours of the sleep before morning.

Eventually, we all staggered out of bed tired and grouchy, but it all seemed to dissipate when we peered out the window at the sunny winter wonderland outside. After a chaotic breakfast where it was a battled to keep everyone’s eyes on his or her own bowl, we packed up our stuff piled into the bark-mobile and went to the beach to burn off some energy.

Before I knew it, I was back at my house, waving good-bye to Coco, Chic and Tilly as they drove away.

Like I said at the beginning a little anxiety, then a little bickering, then a little camaraderie, and finally the celebration of coming out the other side closer than ever… or at least alive.


J Dawg, who voices the paws-on-the-ground perspective of island life, is created by Janet Forest, owner of Nantucket Pet Sitter, which you can follow on Facebook, too.