two golden retrievers, lying on floor

House Sitting in Ontario [St. Catharines]

Our house sitting is now over for this season. Altogether we had 10 house sits including a 4month one for a repeat client in Ottawa.

Our 10th and last house, also a repeat, was in St. Catharines Ontario – only this time, the owners’ lost one of their beautiful dogs, Stanley, and added a new addition, Tucker who was only 11 weeks at the time and a companion to Sophie, when we arrived.

St. Catharines, Ontario

St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada’s Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario. It boasts 96.13 square km of land and is situated 51 km south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, and 19 km inland from the International boundary with the U.S. along the Niagara River.

It also has a nickname – The Garden City – because it has 4 km of parks, gardens and trails.

In 2016, the population was 133,113.

Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines

The area we stayed in was called Port Dalhousie (pronounced duh-LOO-zee) and has a lighthouse and pier and a very popular beach located at Lakeside Park.

When we house sat here last time it was during the Niagara Wine Festival and we took in the Montebello Park Wine & Culinary Experience and Centre Stage, bought a passport to a wine tasting tour (8 wineries), and checked out the Lakeside Park Carousel which has been beautifully restored and has 68 animals in all (including horses, lions, goats, camels and giraffes) and it cost only 5 cents a ride!

This time, though, we were a little ‘busy’ and decided to focus on our sit.

Meet the Family

OUR HOSTS

It was wonderful to see Tom and Liza again. They are a fun couple, easy going and great conversationalists. They made us feel so welcome and treated us like friends and once again Tom cooked us a great meal for our first evening there, sharing wine and conversation with us.

We were well provisioned for, had an amazingly comfortable bed, and use of their awesome hot tub.

THE PETS

SOPHIE

Sophie is a beautiful 7-year old golden retriever who is very gentle and loves attention. When she sat by my husband, she would lift her paw up on his thigh and waited patiently for him to pat her. She is very sedate on her walks and LOVES her treats!

 

a female golden retriever

TUCKER

Tucker, also a golden retriever, is the new addition to the family. At 11 weeks old, as you can imagine, he had loads of energy.

 

golden retriever puppy

He is a gorgeous shade of golden brown while Sophie is much whiter in colouring. Sophie was like a patient aunt to him, allowing him to romp all over her, take her toys and sometimes not giving her any peace at all.

 

2 golden retrievers playing with a toy

I am sure she loves every moment of it though since Stanley, her companion for a long time, passed on.

Because of Liza’s patience and training, Tucker could already sit, stay and come when told. Walking him was a bit of a challenge as he was so interested in everything – including the big leaves that were blowing off the trees. Everything was new and strange to him! To make it easier on both dogs, we walked them separately. Tucker is very smart and will do well in puppy school which was scheduled for when Tom and Liza returned from their trip.

Sophie and Tucker managed to get into a few escapades during our sit such as getting very muddy on a couple of occasions.

 

2 muuddy dogs, deck

To share a little fun with our readers, we have added a conversation that we think Sophie and Tucker would have if they could talk to us humans and to each other.

 

SOPHIE

Something is going on, as the ‘fill-in’ humans that have been staying with us for the past two weeks are busy on their computers and phones, sorting things, doing laundry, packing up their big suitcases, because my regular human beings will be home from their trip soon.

This is the second time these ‘fill-in’ humans have substituted for my humans who went on vacation but what makes this time different is that a little while before my humans left they introduced me to a new house mate, an 11-week-old golden retriever named Tucker. The ‘fill-in’ humans refer to him as ‘the new guy’ or ‘Mr.T’ as he’s taking over for my previous housemate Stanley, who departed after a long, productive life.

The ‘fill in’ humans affectionately and rightly refer to me as “Aunt Sophie” to Tucker, but goodness I’m so tired in the evening after spending a good portion of my day playing/guiding him on daily life, teaching him the canine skills that he needs to learn and apply to get his way with humans, that I hardly have time to myself anymore or to nap during the daylight hours.

 

2 dogs sleeping

Everyone knows that puppy school is really for our humans on how to communicate with us dogs, however, when a dog manages humans properly life is a lot easier for everyone. I’m good on the leash; it’s the humans that’ll need to learn how to try and manage Tucker. Here is what I’ve been working on with Tucker to ensure he’s up to speed.

SOPHIE’S RULES:

  1. Walk slowly all the time you’re in the house, so when you do get in trouble, you’re less likely to run away and you come off as looking less guilty.

  2. Always turn your head or look away to the side when being scolded or reprimanded for something you apparently did.

  3. Never roll your eyes up when being scolded by the humans, as it can be misinterpreted as a sign of not caring, and it does show that you’re hearing them.

  4. When playing fetch in the back yard with your humans, get them to throw the ball at no higher than eye level. You accomplish this by merely sitting up, bending your head backwards for their first few attempts; if the humans can’t grasp the mechanics, just lie down and chew on a stick.

  5. When the humans feed you, no matter how hungry you are, never run to your food bowl…take your time, and give them a look back before starting your meal…just to make sure they know they did their job.

  6. When the humans are sitting on the couch watching TV you must put your head in their lap and just stare at them – stare at them for at least 15 seconds.

     

    Man petting a dog

  7. If #6 is unsuccessful, then place a paw on their leg quad muscle and gently pat it; if they don’t understand there’s something they need to do, such as feed you a forgotten treat, or a missed tummy rub appointment, then just back away, stare at them and pretend to sneeze.

  8.  After you’ve been outside for a while, upon entering don’t make eye contact with the humans, grumble a little, and go lie down, and of course in the kitchen when dinner is being prepared.

    puppy lying down

  9.  After you’re too big for your crate, establish a sleeping spot on the humans’ bedroom floor, but it must not be near the spot where I sleep – you cannot sleep there or too near to me….that is my spot; if you sleep too close to my spot, you‘ll be sorry.

  10. Remember that our humans have not had a puppy in their house since me, so it’s a ‘re-learning’ process for them too, even though you don’t know it.

  11. When something goes crash and we’re both nearby ….just look up, and since the humans are in their ‘questioning the suspects mode,’ just turn your head and look at the other dog.

  12. When you dig holes in the backyard remember to lick your paws clean so the humans have less to towel off when you enter the house, otherwise they’ll give you a bath.

TUCKER AKA ‘MR. T.’

  1. When I want to go outside for any of the three P’s – Play, Poop or Pee – I sit by the back door and bark…wait 15 seconds, then bark again – whining doesn’t do anything – just bark, bark, bark…the noise will be a constant reminder and my humans will be trained well once they respond on the first or second bark…but no more than two barks.

  2. When I’m really bored I’ll pretend to go poop or pee in my bed, and then they’ll pick me up PRONTO and carry me outside!

  3. Snow is cold…..but fun!

     

  4. The ‘fill-in’ humans let me stay outside during the day when it was sunny and cooler so I could grow a heavier coat; that way I’ll be warmer in the winter time, as real dogs don’t wear doggy coats!

  5. When out for walks during the winter time I always go poop in the snow so it’s easier for humans to see where I did my business; it hardens faster so it’s easier for humans to pick it up.

  6. When out for walks I always go poop two or three times, so the humans remember to bring more than one doggy poop bag, otherwise they have to use their bare hands… (that’s so much fun to watch!)

  7. I always dig holes in the backyard, especially when it’s been raining as the humans will towel me off at the door, then they’ll carry me into the bathtub, and rinse me with water…that way I get to run around and splash in the tub, drink the water from the faucet and go pee in the tub….no harm is done as the bath water goes away!

  8. I give the humans lots of kisses and hugs, as they need to be reassured they’re doing the right things!

Now back to the ‘fill-in’ humans. We’re sad that they’re leaving as we were oh so, so close to getting them into our routines, and to react accordingly to our strategically used communication skills such as facial expressions, whines, patters, dances, and barking to get them up to speed. 

female and puppy, golden retrievers

Oh well……..next time!

I hope you enjoyed this article. We are now in Mexico for six months and will get back into house sitting when we return in May 2020.

Is house sitting something you have considered? If so, watch for an amazing Black Friday Deal coming soon!

Do you ever wonder what your pets are thinking, especially if they look at you a certain way? Let us know your experiences in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

2 blue and white budgies

House Sit, Caledon Ontario [rural setting]

After our Mississauga sit we drove to Glammis to visit our daughter and family in their big home (built in the 1800’s), played with the new puppy Homer (a St. Bernard) and our 8-week old grandson, Quinn. The time went quickly and soon it was time to head to Caledon to care for two pets while the owners were off to New York for a long weekend.

This was my first visit to Caledon although we have been in Erin which is about 20 minutes away and has everything you could want including a bakery and a couple of vintage/antique stores.

Caledon

Caledon is a town in the Regional Municipality of Peel in the Greater Toronto Area. It is primarily rural; its major urban centre is Bolton on the eastern side adjacent to York Region. At the northwest is the city of Brampton. Caledon is also the largest city or town by area in the Greater Toronto Area.

The opulation in 2016 was 66,502.

Meet the Family

OUR HOSTS

Martina and Patrick were very gracious, friendly people who made sure we had everything we needed for our short stay.

Nestled on 15 acres, their location is stunning and we were lucky enough to be there during the height of autumn with the leaves turning orange, red, green and gold! A guest house, hot tub and pond completed the setting. For a winter house sit, the house is 5 minutes away from the Caledon Ski Club.

 

House, trees and pond

House, berries

 

The home itself is a renovated Victorian farmhouse. There were comfy beds, fireplaces and all the amenities we needed to make our stay comfortable. Martina paints and sculpts and you can see her ‘pieces’ throughout the house, adding to the décor and giving it a ‘personal’ touch.

 

Hen, leaves

Since there were also laying hens, fresh eggs every morning were a bonus and Martina told us to make sure we took some with us when we left. Yum!!

 

THE PETS

Pets included two dogs, 5 laying hens and 2 budgies.

 

2 blue and white budgies

Milo

Milo is a 15-month old black Bouvier who loves being outside and checking everything out. Even though there are lots of trails and he is used to roaming on his own, we put him on his leash for long walks just to ensure he didn’t take off on us. Milo is very gentle and loves attention.

 

a woman, a man and a bouvier dog

Lexie

Lexie is a little 12-year old Yorkie girl who, apparently, tolerates Milo and doesn’t really like dogs. Maybe she thinks she is human?! She liked to go outside too but not as much as Milo. She had a couple of favourite snoozing spots and was quite content to hang out in them.

 

dog on a pillow, dog against a wall

If Lexie and Milo could talk, we imagine the conversation going like this.

LEXIE & MILO

LEXIE:

My name is Lexie and my housemate is Milo, who I merely tolerate as he’s still a young dog, only 15 months old, but he’s finally learning that I’m the Queen of this household. After all, I am 12 years old! He’s not bothering me as much as he used to when he was a puppy, but I tell him time and time again to stop being a P.I.T.A.

We live with our humans on a 15-acre rural lot, in Caledon Ontario; it’s a great place, with lots of walking trails, a big pond (we don’t swim in it but we do chase after our humans on it in the wintertime when it freezes over).

 

Our humans are in New York City to see a play and other cultural events…the ‘fill-in’ humans asked them if an NHL or NFL football game was on the agenda, but apparently not.

After our humans left, the ‘fill-in’ humans moved up from the guest house to sleep in one of the bedrooms in the main house, which our humans remodeled – they know what they’re doing as they own a construction company for custom-built homes in Southern Ontario, so our house is really nice!

I liked the ‘fill-in’ humans right away as they were around the house most of the time, except to pick up stuff in Erin Ontario. They cuddled with me and fluffed up my spots, and rubbed my tummy the first night they stayed in the house while sitting on the living room couch.

 

man and a little dog

The ‘fill-in’ humans took us for lots of walks, gave us way more treats than what I was supposed to get, but it was so worth it! Actually, we went for three or four walks a day, which was nice, as without us the ‘fill-in’ humans would’ve been lost… or at least they’d be out for a long, long time.

 

a man kneeling beside a bouvier and a yorkie

At first, Milo was unsure of them, but he soon warmed up to them; he’ll explain to you in a bit. I also liked that I slept in my own space in my humans’ room while they were away, and slept so well, the ‘fill-in’ humans had to call me to go for my morning walk….imagine that!

MILO:

Hello, my name is Milo and I’m a 15-month old black Bouvier, who is officially the second-in-command at our humans’ home, although the humans know better. I am a big dog, but still a puppy, so I am learning how to train my human.

 

Bouvier dog in his crate

The ‘fill-in’ humans were good to Lexie and I and the man human took me for many walks, at first on my telescopic leash as he was unsure if I’d run away.

 

man walking with two dogs

After a couple of walks though we trusted each other and it was fun. We even went on a ten o’clock walk at night, as the sky was a clear, moonlit night, and it was easy to see around the paths.

Both ‘fill-in’ humans were nice to me – they gave me lots of pats and tummy rubs, and learned that when I sat in front of them and barked it meant that I needed to go outside to do my business. The ‘fill-in’ humans remembered that I loved to play toss and fetch with sticks – the man human found a fallen thick tree branch and cut it up into five separate sticks to run and fetch – we must have played fetch for a couple of hours each day. I was so exhausted in the evenings that I fell asleep behind the living room couch each night.

I noticed they helped with an unscheduled delivery of things needed by our humans’ son, so the man helped unload the truck, store it in the garage, and contacted the son to let him know it was there to be picked up.

Our humans’ kids dropped by throughout the weekend to pick up things, and meet the ‘fill-in’ humans, and they got along which was nice. Charlie brought his two dogs and we ran around for a while to ‘blow the stink off us’… and I got treats when I got back inside.

At first, I was skeptical of the ‘fill-in’ humans, but they were nice to us, took us for walks, brushed us and made sure we stuck to the rules.

 

man playing with 2 dogs

I had to sleep in the front hall, which I didn’t mind as I could keep an eye on things. Even when the ‘fill- in’ humans used the hot tub late at night under the stars, I sat by the door waiting for them to come in.

The ‘fill-in’ humans cleaned out the chicken coop, which apparently was much smaller than the one he cleans out at the farmstead in Glammis Ontario; it has 16 hens, one rooster, and four turkeys, so it takes him longer to do, but he did a pretty good job.

I did miss my humans, and late Sunday afternoon the ‘fill-in’ humans’ who stayed with Lexie and I the past four days at our house, got busy on their computers and phones, sorting things, and packing up their suitcases. The ‘fill-in’ humans left in the late afternoon, and our regular humans were home from their trip a few hours later, just in time to take us out for a walk.

I think the ‘fill-in’ humans miss us, even though there are a 3-month-old old Saint Bernard and two cats at the farmhouse they’re going to. I’d like it if they visited us next year when they return from living in Mexico!

Bye for now!

Lexie & Milo

Saying Goodbye

Even though this was a short house sit, we enjoyed every minute of it. We are winding down our house sits for the season, with one left in St. Catharines. If you would like to know how we come across these great sits, click here for more information.

Do you ever imagine what pets are thinking and what they would tell you if they could talk? Feel free to share your comments below.

 

House Sitting in Mississauga

After our 2.5 weeks sit in Don Mills, we headed to Mississauga to care for two tiny dogs, Maya and Twig. I think they were the smallest ones we had looked after so far.

Mississauga is a city in Canada and a suburb of Toronto which most likely accounts for its massive growth. Its population of 721,599 (2016) makes it one of the six most populous municipalities in Canada. The city has attracted a huge multicultural population and is where the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest, is located.

Mississauga means “[Those at the] Great River-mouth” and comes from the Anishinaabe (indigenous people) word Misi-zaaging.

Our house sit was close to the 401 and right of off the 407. It is a nice little area close to everything we needed.

Meet the Family

OUR HOSTS

Craig and Jordan are super guys! They graciously invited us into their home trusting us to take care of their beloved pets while they were on a trip to western Canada.

We really loved their house and the comfort displayed throughout with its unique décor and wall hangings. It has a nice little fenced in backyard, big enough for a small garden, barbecuing or sitting out in the sunshine.

Everything was convenient and accessible, and sleeping in a king-size bed was a bonus! They also had great coffee machines!

THE PETS

TWIG

Twig is 13 years old fellow and a cross between a Yorkshire and a Cockapoo (I dubbed him a “Yorkapoo!”)

dog sitting on a sofa

TWIG

He loved his walks, cuddling and treats!

a dog sleeping on a sofa

TWIG CATCHING A SNOOZE

MAYA

Maya is a sedate sweet little 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier gal who loved sitting on the sofa near us as she was rather independent. She also loved walking and treats!

dog looking up

MAYA

Maya and Twig got along well. They preferred being inside instead of their backyard but did like their walks.

Mealtimes were easy as they had access to their food and water whenever they wanted. Hard to believe they were so tiny and did not have excess weight!

They both loved bananas and since I have a smoothie every morning, I ended up sharing my bananas with them. They thought that it was cool!

dog snuggled in a blanket

MAYA SNUGGLED IN A BLANKET

Saying Goodbye!

Twig and Maya were very low maintenance and easy to care for. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this as a great house sit with terrific owners!

We hope you will take some time and read about our other house sits here.

If you think this something you would like to do, click on the photo below and get started. It is truly a rewarding experience, especially if you love animals, meeting new people, and checking out new places!

We would love to hear about your house sitting experiences or if you have any questions in the comment section below.

Shetland Sheepdog

House Sitting in Toronto

After Burlington, we made our way to Don Mills Toronto where our next house sit was for 3 older dogs. In spite of the medication required by all three dogs, this turned into a fun sit.

As you can imagine, Toronto is a very busy area with a population of just under three million in 2017. The area we were in was Don Mills (population over 25,000) – which happens to be where my husband grew up and went to school – and although it backed onto a busy street, it was a lovely area.

Don Mills was developed to be a self-supporting town and was located outside of Toronto proper until 1998 when it became part of Toronto proper. It is bounded by York Mills Road to the North, Canadian-Pacific Railway to the south, Leslie Street to the west (the street we backed on) and Don Valley Parkway to the east.

Meet The Family

OUR HOSTS

Vicki and Barry are wonderful people to sit for. You could tell they loved their dogs dearly but we knew they felt comfortable with us taking over the reins while they travelled abroad. We had scheduled a meet and greet a few weeks before and the dogs remembered us.

Their home is large, beautiful and bright, very well maintained and sparkling clean. Our bed was extremely comfortable. Vicki and Barry provisioned us well with lots of food and beverages. They are truly a terrific couple.

THE PETS

BOOMERANG

Boomerang (sometimes called Boomer) is a 14-year-old Westie. You couldn’t help but love Boomerang. We never knew what to expect from him. For example, he would bark to go out, then as soon as the other two dogs followed him, he would turn around, come back in and head for the food dish. It was almost as if he was saying ‘haha, fooled ya!’

Although Boomer liked to come upstairs at bedtime, he had his favourite bed downstairs where he would sleep whenever the urge took him which was quite often or, sometimes he would just lean against a wall and have a little snooze – being older has its perks!

A dog sleeping in his bed and against a wall

Boomerang Having A Snooze

Boomer required 3 different eye drops three times a day and he was an exceptional patient. I am sure he was wondering when this strange lady was going away so that his ‘mom’ could come back and do the drops the way he was used to getting them!

He also had pills that he got on certain days that were administered in his food.

Although he enjoyed his walks, there were times when one walk a day was enough for him and he was content to stay behind.

KIPPER

Kipper is also a Westie but a rescue and is 10 years old. He is spry and loved his walks stopping only long enough to sniff a tree, actually many trees, or do his business, often getting far ahead of Boomerang and Charcoal. He would gladly go out twice a day, more if you had a mind to take him. He only required a preventative eye drop once a day and was very good about it.

Dog laying on pillow

Kipper In His Favourite Spot

Kipper’s happy place to curl up was on the end of the sofa in the TV room.

Dog watching TV

Kipper Watching TV

He also had a ‘thing’ for TV – especially if there were dogs, other four legged creatures and even two-legged ones – getting very animated, vocal and up close. Sometimes, he would want to go behind the TV to see where these animals or people were.

On sunny days, Kipper and Boomer loved to hang out on the deck.

2 dogs, lying on a deck

Kipper And Boomer Sunning On The Deck

CHARCOAL

Charcoal is a lovable 8-year old Shetland Sheepdog (Shelti) and was a favourite of my husband as he would curl up under the table where he was working and place his chin and paw on the rung of a chair, content to be close to him. He was also a rather quiet dog.

Dog lying under a table

Charcoal Lying Under The Table

Charcoal also had regular medication, morning, noon and night, but never gave us any issues.

Where’s Our Food

Feeding time was interesting and a little hectic as we had to make sure each dog ate out of his own dish due to the medication that was in a couple of them. It was not unusual for Kipper to try to eat Boomer’s or Charcoal to try and eat Kipper’s. Barry had warned us about this so it certainly kept us on our toes!

3 dogs standing in a kitchen

Patiently Waiting For Breakfast

Exercise and Playtime

Vicki is a very patient owner and would lovingly play with the dogs in the morning and run them through a series of exercises to keep them limber and in shape. Before we left, she demonstrated the routine she put them through every day.

Unfortunately, they weren’t so keen to do this with us, however, they loved to romp and play with their toys and wrestle and would have great fun!

Man playing on floor with three dogs

Playtime

Slumber Time

All three pets were excellent at going to bed, often giving us the eye around a certain time as if to say “ok, it’s bedtime, let’s go.” They all had their favourite sleeping spots upstairs, not far from us, and slept through the night.

Final Thoughts

Although Boomerang, Kipper and Charcoal required a fair bit of care, they were such good, well-behaved dogs it made our sit a lot easier. It is so much fun to see how three different dogs can interact and get along with one another and to see how much personality they actually have. Any pet owner will know what I mean.

It was wonderful to see Barry and Vicki on their return from their trip and how much their beloved pets missed them.

We were very surprised and touched when they presented us with a gift certificate to the Keg and a nice bottle of red wine.

We keep meeting such interesting and kind people and their beautiful pets. If this is something you would like to try, check this out. It might be just what you are looking for!

Have you any experience with house sitting? Was it good or bad? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below, whether you are the owner or sitter.

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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