Golden Retriever puppy

Through Their Eyes

Sometimes you wonder what pets feel when changes occur in their lives – maybe their owners are going on a trip and need someone to care for them while their humans are gone. Imagine the conversation…

Meeting the New People

Something is going on….my humans were busy on their computers and phones doing things, and now there are two new people at the door coming into the house. Well, my humans shook their hands, offered them a seat in the kitchen, and some coffee which is a good thing. I wonder who they are? Why they are here? What’s going on? I wonder if it has anything to do with what my humans are preparing for.

The last time my humans were packing suitcases, we went to stay at a kennel, which was okay, but I really missed my own bed, food, friends and smells of my neighborhood. So, the new people seem nice, but why are they ignoring me? Neither one of them are trying to pet us; maybe they’re waiting to see what we think and do… that’s cool, we like that!

My humans are talking about a lot of things with the new people, they’re on the second and third cups of coffee…wow! They’re laughing a lot and seem to be enjoying each other’s company. Oh boy, we’re going for a walk with new people, and my human is letting one of them take me!…wow, now that’s another good sign.

Back from the walk and the man was really good, as he was asking my human about the walks, locations, places to not go to, leashes, etc. and, you know…they seem really nice. We’ll see about that later.

You see, we’re skeptical of any new people looking after us because we get medicine regularly during the day, scheduled walks and playtime, so it’ll be interesting if the new people do stay with us when our humans are away!

Why Are They Leaving

Well, now the new people are going and we allowed them to pet us, for which our humans were really impressed! I hope the new people come back to stay with us as it’d be a lot better to sleep in our own beds…did I mention that already? Yes, sleeping in our own beds is always good!

Our humans’ kids are grown up, with kids and dogs of their own, which is always fun to be with at family dinners and occasions, as we share our treats with their dogs when they are at our place, which is okay because they share their treats when we are at their homes!

Anyhow, now the new people are gone; I wonder if they’ll be back, but in the meantime, our humans seem to be content with the new people, so maybe, just maybe they’ll be staying with us?

They’re Back!

It’s now two weeks later and our humans’ suitcases are all packed up and sitting in the foyer, and there’s the doorbell! Oh, look! It’s the man and lady that were here a couple of weeks ago! They’re shaking hands and hugging our humans, taking off their shoes, and hanging up their jackets, so I guess they’re staying for a bit.

We greeted the new people with some sniffs and a couple of barks and followed them into the kitchen, where they’re learning our medicine schedule and food blends… so it looks like they’re staying with us!

Well, before you knew it, the new man person said it was time for a walk! Wow, our second-best word, next to food! So the new lady and man put the leashes on us, poop bags in tow and away we went for a long, long walk. When we got back our humans were gone, but that’s okay as the new people fed us a little treat for being good on our walk.

Settling In

The real test will be to see if the new man and lady people manage our medicine and food schedules correctly. In the meantime, they are sitting in the den, the man is watching a show and the lady is reading a book. It’s now close to bedtime, so we’re going for a pre-bedtime sleepwalk and if we’re good on the walk we might get another treat! We’re back and had success, and YES! We get a small treat for the walk… this is so easy!

Breakfast Time

We all settled into our beds, the new guy and lady are sleeping in the guest bedroom, and we’ll listen to see how loudly their snore….as we need our beauty sleep! Next thing we know it’s morning, the new guy is up, and calling us to go outside for a pee! He seems to be on time, and when we came in, we got another little treat! In a few minutes we’re going for a regular walk in the neighborhood, and then breakfast.

We all gather by the front door barking and jumping up and down anxious to get outside, and then away we go! We’re on leashes today as the new guy knows that we bark and chase our neighbour’s cars as they go off to work; we only run along the grass next to the roads, but they’re being safe with us.

Breakfast was exactly the way we like it – the new people nailed it, so we are nicer to them, but now comes the real test to administer the eye drops and medicine we need to stay healthy. The new lady did the eye drops, she’s nice and gentle doing it – guessing she’s had dogs before, as she’s so gentle and makes it all okay! Did I mention that after the medicine, she rewarded us with another small treat?… we really like this new lady!

During the Day

Throughout the day the new people work on their computers at the house, take us out for walks at lunchtime, late afternoon and pre-bedtime strolls so we all sleep through the night. You know they seem like nice people, so we’re going to sleep in their room with them for a little, not all night, but just for a little while, as we need to ‘break them into the family circle.’

My brothers and I stay in the kitchen with the new guy as he lets us out in the yard when we need to go pee, or it’s sunny on the deck, and he brushes us, feeds us, pats us and is good to us. Guessing he had pets before as he knows all our tricks and makes us wait one at a time for our treats.

The new guy wipes our paws with the stuff our humans showed him; when it’s raining he towels us off and dries us well so we don’t get a chill, and the new lady makes sure our medicine is done as per the schedule.

Reassuring Us and Our Family

Each day shows us that they care about us – they play with us, walk us, and we allow them to be a bigger part of our world.

They text message our humans with photos daily and let them know all is good; don’t get us wrong we miss our humans, but the new people are really cool and we cuddle with them now. We trust them, and that’s important to us that we trust them!

You know, it means a lot to us that we’re well taken care of; it was not easy the first couple of days, but the new people showed us that they care, and it means a lot to us.

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We hope you enjoyed looking at life through a pet’s eyes. We have put together a collage of all the pets we have sat for – some have passed on – Caesar, Winston, Stanley – but they still remain in our hearts. We have loved and enjoyed looking after each one of these pets. Cats may not require walks or a lot of attention but they love affection and being cuddled – even if it is on their terms.

A collage of pets

The last little puppy, a golden retriever named Tucker, is a new addition to the family who lost Stanley. We are looking forward to continuing his training while his family is away on vacation.

If you think you would like to do this too, then check out the service that we use. You never know, you might find it fun – you will certainly meet a lot of new people and endearing pets along the way.

 

A Tribute to the ‘Boys’ – Caesar and Winston

Although it was not unexpected to hear, we knew the day would come when there would be an update in the form of a text message, email or phone call about the passing of a family member.

But, it was shocking to hear that one of  the ‘Boys’ had departed. The ‘boys’ were our eldest daughter’s & son-in-law’s family pets, affectionately known as Winston, a 9-year-old Saint Bernard and Caesar, a 12-year-old Rottweiler; both died within a week of each other. My wife and I expected and were prepared for the Rottweiler going first as he was older, arthritic, with failing internal organs, but we weren’t prepared for Winston’s sudden and premature departure due to an undetectable stomach disorder characteristic of the breed.

A Rottweiler and St. Bernard

Fitting the Boys into our Lives

Our lifestyle has us on the road for the six months we’re in Canada house and pet sitting, working, while the other six months are spent in Mexico, so we get back to visit the family maybe three or four times a year, for a week at a time to be with our kids, grandchildren & the ‘boys.’

Fortunately, our schedule enabled us to be around in late July to see the gang before we headed back to Ottawa to complete a sit, and as usual on our departure, Winston was sprawled out the on inside porch/mudroom floor in front of the door, with his head between his paws, looking up at us as though it was the worst thing happening to him with those ‘You’re going? How could you do this to me?’ sad dog eyes….Caesar was sprawled out at his post on the kitchen floor keeping an eye on things. I made sure to spend an extra few moments with each before heading out… which was one of my best decisions.

Unexpected Passing and a new Birth

We’d been back in Ottawa for a week when my wife read me the text message about Winston and then when we found out about Caesar passing away; all the memories about the boys returned like a tsunami. Oh yes!, did I mention that during the same window of time that the dogs passed away, our daughter was due to go into labour anytime with our third grandchild which turned out great, and there’s now a second grandson book-ending a granddaughter.

Now back to The Boys…

We first met Winston and Caesar ten years ago, one summer while at our house in Milton, as my wife’s daughter and then boyfriend were attending a wedding nearby, so we offered to look after them for the weekend. Both my wife and I had large dogs from our past marriages, so we had an idea of what to expect as far as them being around the house and backyard. My daughter was residing with us at the time, and my son stopped by to see them. They were both quite comfortable with the big dogs, as they grew up with a female Malamute Husky for 11 years.

Winston was affectionately referred to as Mr Personality, and Caesar was the stoic, quiet older gentleman of the pair.

The backyard was huge, well-designed with patio, hot tub, landscaped garden and a huge oak tree, for which both dogs had fun running around in and laying at the foot of to keep a family of raccoons up in it the whole time they were on patrol. Winston decided to lay in the big patch of Hibiscus plants to cool off and ambushed the raccoons when they descended the oak tree… he didn’t catch any of them, but once they left they did not return!

A St. Bernard and a Rottweiler playing

The first walk around our neighborhood took about 90 minutes and was a ‘SMELLAPALOOZA’ with at least 75 stops along the way to find out firsthand what was what and where they might want to …. you know! They’re big dogs, both about 100 plus pounds, and their piles of poop were bigger than some dogs; I walked them both on a sidewalk and when other dog owners saw us approaching they quickly crossed the street to not meet them. I don’t know why they did this as the dogs were friendly and would not hurt another dog unless perturbed.

Tolerating the Cat

A year later had us house and dog sitting with the boys, which meant daily walks along the local beaches in Kincardine and Sauble Beach. Winston the Saint Bernard thought he was a fish, as he would run and swim in the water for hours,  then when done he’d shake, shake, shake the water off, smile and then roll around in the sand… Caesar would frolic along the shoreline, as he didn’t like to get wet as it reminded him of getting a bath.

a Grey and White Cat sitting in the grass

Their constant companion for walks was an adopted barn cat named Hunter who’d follow them, but from an appreciable distance, as he was a cat and did not officially go for walks. Hunter was always safe with them; they did not chase or terrorize them. Hunter tolerated the boys and they respected him. As the story goes Hunter swatted both of them really hard when they were puppies and set the rules and tone for their futures; they got the message loud & clear.

The Things I Miss:

  • I’ll really miss the post dinner plate clean ups – you know the thing that happens before the plates go in the dishwasher!

  • Whining in my ear at 6:30 am that it’s time to go out for a pee, especially when they were at the farmstead, as I’d pee off of the back porch while they were draining their systems as well.

  • Their dedicated bedside company for Jennifer when she was recuperating from her automobile accident, as the boys slept near her, she in her hospital bed, and kissed her good morning and good night.

  • Being greeted with slobbery kisses and wagging tails.

  • Going for long walks around the farmstead with them.

  • Hearing them drink water out of their bowls.

  • Pushing their heads into my lap for attention.

  • Meeting the grand kids at the bus stop in the afternoon.

  • Dressing the dogs up in Halloween outfits.

  • Taking them for car rides to DQ, each with their own side to stick their heads out of the windows.

  • Chasing the neighbour’s cats off the property.

  • Climbing onto the bed during the night while we slept…we felt them on it, but would not boot them off unless they were snoring really badly.

  • Being general PITAs and getting in the way.

  • Protecting the grandchildren.

  • Eating shoes, slippers, and just about anything else they could get their mouths on.

New Life in the Midst of Sadness

The Boys are buried beside each other on the family homestead, and later this fall we’ll plant two trees that’ll become a reminder of them. The farmhouse was eerily quiet until three new boys came into the mix – a two-day-old grandson named Quinn, a six-month-old male barn cat, and a three and half month old Saint Bernard puppy named HOMER! ….yes HOMER!

Homer is his own man – different personality, terrorizes the three cats and is not afraid of Hunter’s swats and hisses directed towards him, as his paws are as big as the top of my hand from wrist to knuckle. Homer’s father is 220 lbs of solid muscle, has a great disposition, so Homer will be a big body guard for the grand kids, and is already the talk of the school bus occupants.

A Final Goodbye

Lastly, the night that I first took Homer for a walk around the farmstead, he stopped and lay down at the foot of “The Boys” final resting places, sniffed, pawed the ground a bit, whined a bit, then sat up, barked, then proceeded to chase/guide the hens and turkeys back into their shed for the night.

Yes, Homer has a big wet nose and hogs the bed…but we wouldn’t want it any other way!

RIP Caesar and Winston. We loved you, and we miss you!

 

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