Since I wrote this article, it has since been made abundantly clear that dolphins and other water animals are not treated as well as we might think.
After this article came out, an acquaintance asked me if I would please share the plight of dolphins in a video, and to bring it to the attention of others. I was happy to do so. I do not condone cruelty to any animal or person. I cannot change the fact that I took part in this but I can give you more information so that you can make your own decisions.
I love catamaran cruises and so far have been on four, one in the Dominican, two in Costa Rica, and one here in Mexico. While they were all fun and different, I really liked the last one – we got to meet and swim with Dolphins and do a bit of snorkeling.
We booked our tour, Delphinus Puerto Morelos, through our good friend Samuel Gonzalez who looked around for the best deal for our party of four.
Our day started out early (I was up at 5:30!) and our taxi picked up our friends and us about 7:45 a.m. We made our way to El Cid Resort in Puerto Morelos (part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef) where we would board our boat in a marina bay inside the resort. Waiting for the boat to arrive gave us an opportunity to relax, enjoy coffee/drinks, have bio breaks, and just take in the view and snap a few pictures.
Marina, El Cid Resort, Mexico
Soon our boat arrived and we climbed aboard. We were directed to the front of the boat and asked to take a seat. Our group was a mix of a couple of families and us.
Catamaran – Puerto Morelos, Mexico
We started off with an orientation by ‘Danny’ who was very passionate about the ocean and couldn’t stress enough the importance of taking care of it, especially by not throwing plastic bottles in the water.
Did you know… that every day an estimated 8 million pieces of plastic pollution ends up into the oceans. In 2016, a world population of 7 billion people, produced more than 320 million tons of plastic! Every year, marine plastic pollution kills one hundred thousand mammals and turtles and one million sea birds!
Early this year, 50 marine mammals washed up on U.K. shores, all containing plastic in their stomachs. A lot of these animals included dolphins. While the dolphin is an extremely intelligent animal and not likely to eat plastic, they are susceptible to contamination through other animals that have ingested plastic products.
We learned Danny had left his home in Mexico for seven years to go to Brazil to become a Marine Biologist. You could feel his passion and dedication as he talked.
I know you want to hear about the snorkeling and dolphins and you will, but I think it is important to understand the importance of taking care of our dolphins and other species as well as our oceans.
Two Mandatory Rules
To go snorkeling there were two mandatory rules.
NO SUNSCREEN – Danny was emphatic about this and practically begged everyone not to wear sunscreen; if they already had it on, he asked them to please remove it.
Swimming with sunscreen causes chemicals such as oxybenzone to seep into the water; the corals then absorb it which then causes a disruption in the reproduction and growth cycles.
And, chemicals that are released while swimming or showering (travel through sewage systems) are considered bigger than climate change is causing coral reef damage.
RESPECT THE CORAL – There were some valid reasons for this.
Touching them can cause damage to the reef itself but because it is sharp, it can cause injury to you such as scrapes, cuts, and other injuries.
Another very big reason is that we are in danger of losing our coral reefs. In fact, it is predicted that coral reefs could be gone in 30 years! Besides snorkelers and divers causing damage to the coral reefs, there are natural occurrences that can destroy the coral.
Coral reefs off the coast of Quintana Roo Mexico are under threat from sargassum which has been an ongoing problem for a few years, and an aggressive bleaching situation which causes them to turn completely white.
According to the Director of the Puerto Morelos National Reef Park – Maria dell Carmen Garcia Rivas – 30% of coral colonies died during a four-month period due to coral bleaching which is caused when the water is too warm.
To put in perspective how serious this is, the Director states an entire coral colony off the coast of Quintana Roo, which has taken thousands of years to form, can be killed in a single month due to this bleaching.
As he was wrapping up the orientation, Danny asked if everyone who was going snorkeling knew how to swim outside of a swimming pool and everyone eagerly nodded yes. However, we learned later that one of the young women did not swim very well, never swam in the ocean, and couldn’t see her hand in front of her face without her glasses. I marveled that she was still keen ongoing in spite of this. It later turned out she did very well and had no issues.
After we anchored, our group divided into two – those who wanted to snorkel and those who just wanted to stay behind and relax.
Our Friend – Stacey – Getting Ready to go Snorkeling
The group that stayed behind included one young girl, my husband and myself, our friend Kent from Nicaragua who was visiting us for a month (his wife Stacey decided to go snorkeling) and Noel, one of the boat crew. Noel had a long conversation with Kent; it turns out his family nominated him to always be Santa because of his name, even though he was born in May.
The snorkeling group, led by Danny and “Captain Banana,” put on their masks, lifejackets and climbed into another boat, carrying their fins, ready for their adventure.
The day was a beautiful clear sunny day, temperatures in the high 20’s (80’s + Fahrenheit). Those of us who stayed behind were quite content to just relax, drink some water (and other beverages) and just soak up the sun. It was a beautiful, peaceful time.
Hubby Relaxing on Catamaran
All too soon, the snorkeling group arrived back, smiling and a bit tired from their excursion but happy.
We had some lunch, snacks, and drinks, listened to music, and made our way to the Dolphins.
Riding with the Dolphins
My husband chose to stay behind and to keep an eye on things so the three of us made our way to the pier.
I am not a swimmer and even though we were told everyone would be wearing life jackets, I was still very nervous and wasn’t convinced I wanted to do this. However, when I saw the dolphins, I changed my mind. I did have one scary moment in the water when I couldn’t get my feet to do ‘down’ and was starting to panic.
The guide was very calm and asked me my name. Then he said, “Look at me, Mary Ann, and just do what I tell you.” In no time I was in the ready position and two dolphins swam up to me and placed their fins in my hand. That moment was incredible! I think the pictures paint a better picture than what I could tell you, judging by the smile on my face.
Me with the Dolphins
My Friend Kent
Getting Splashed by the Dolphin Me & my Friends Petting the Dolphin
Speaking of photos, I read many reviews about people saying how expensive they are and, they are right. I was very lucky that my good friends Stacey and Kent decided to buy them and share it with me. They did not even want me to pay for my portion. Thanks, guys!
Just as we were leaving, we saw some iguanas in amongst the rocks. Notice how they are camouflaged – we almost missed them! This one looked like he was posing for me.
LOTS TO DO!
Xcaret offers you 10% off booking online for their optional activities at Cancun and Riviera Maya such as snorkeling. If this isn’t your thing, they will be offering their Christmas packages soon – relaxing massages, exploring nature, interacting with sharks, gourmet dinners, kids adventures, fast boating on the Adrenalin, or parachuting – fun for everyone!
It was an awesome day and trip all around with some wonderful memories, riding on the catamaran with the wind in my hair, and smiling the whole time. More importantly, it stressed to me the importance of taking care of our reefs and oceans.
Now, if I could just muster enough courage to go snorkeling!!
Have you had the opportunity to swim with the dolphins? What did you think? Would you recommend it to others? Let us know in the comments below.
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 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
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.
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.
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!!
Pets included two dogs, 5 laying hens and 2 budgies.
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.
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.
If Lexie and Milo could talk, we imagine the conversation going like this.
LEXIE & MILO
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
Twig is 13 years old fellow and a cross between a Yorkshire and a Cockapoo (I dubbed him a “Yorkapoo!”)
He loved his walks, cuddling and treats!
TWIG CATCHING A SNOOZE
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!
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!
MAYA SNUGGLED IN A BLANKET
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.
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
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.
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!
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 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.
Kipper In His Favourite Spot
Kipper’s happy place to curl up was on the end of the sofa in the TV room.
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.
Kipper And Boomer Sunning On The Deck
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
When we first took on this pet/house sit in Burlington, I was just a bit skeptical – the sit entailed 2 dogs, 3 cats, a couple of geckos and some fish – a bit of a mini zoo.
However, it did not take us long to get into a routine!
MEET THE FAMILY
Shannon and Brandon are an awesome younger couple who were heading to Nova Scotia for a mini 4-day vacation and needed someone to take care of their pets. We liked them immediately and they seemed to be comfortable with the fact that we were there to help out.
The area they are located in is North Central Burlington between Highway 407 to the north and Upper Middle Road to the South. The western boundary is Guelph Line and the eastern, Walker’s Line.
Their home is a comfortable and clean 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths with open concept and sliding back doors into the yard. The location itself was great for walking and we were literally about 5 minutes from a major grocery store, LCBO, gas station, Starbucks and Tim Horton’s as well as a few other businesses. It was also a short drive to the waterfront.
Don’t you just love that name? Groot is a 2-year-old male, medium size Siberian Husky who would get a bit excited, especially when it was time for his walk. Siberians are known for their intelligence, independence and loving nature and although Groot was affectionate, he did not need constant attention. Siberians can also be destructive and Shannon and Brandon warned us about leaving our shoes or anything that was chewable within reach.
Aussie, also a medium-size dog, is an 11-year old Icelandic Sheepdog. It was thought that this breed was the companion to the ancient Vikings and was used to protect flocks of lambs from birds of prey. We noticed that Aussie liked to bark at birds, and anything else that moved, which is inherent in their nature. He was very vocal when someone strange came to the door so we did not worry about any unexpected surprises.
Both Groot and Aussie were happy to be fed, brushed and have a couple of walks a day.
The cats were really fun and had such different personalities.
Thunder, the oldest, is 9 years old and looked like a grumpy old cat who belonged out in the wild. Yet he was the sweetest cat who loved to climb up on my husband’s chest and spend some quiet time with him – on his terms, of course! Thunder required some medication which was a piece of cake (well, a pill actually). For an old dude, he sure ate well and never left so much as a crumb in his dish.
Jade, the three-year-old and the middle cat, was a bit quieter and shy. The first day she barely ate anything (part of this Shannon and Brandon thought was due to the new cat station which might have confused her a bit). However, she soon learned if she didn’t eat her food, then Thunder and Hope would. Jade also loved to hog the television, plopping herself down where she could get the best view.
Hope, the 2-year old, was a little imp! Her specialty was taking anything that wasn’t nailed down. Shannon warned us that we couldn’t leave anything, like small pieces of jewellery or car keys or literally anything that she could get her paws and mouth on.
We had one panic attack. My husband could not find his gold medal (that used to belong to his Dad) and his shark’s tooth pendant. After looking literally everywhere, top to bottom, I spied a piece of leather on the side of the bed and when I pulled it out, it was the pendant (turns out he was so tired the night before he just tucked them in the side of the bed and forgot!). The medal was also there. Whew! So Hope was in the clear.
Hope also had a favourite hang out spot, looking like a sweet innocent princess.
They all loved to have their cuddles and were very friendly although I would say that Thunder was the most independent of the three often spending time alone.
The geckos, Charlie and Cody – 4 and 6 years old respectively, are fat-tailed geckos. At first, I did not go near them but then I was curious to see what they looked like. They were very docile and only came out at feeding time. My husband fed them only twice – live crickets – so I didn’t spend a lot of time near them.
CHARLIE & CODY
The fish, of course, did not require much care.
All in all, this was a very interesting house sit and a very successful one with us receiving another 5 stars. Shannon and Brandon were very upfront about the personalities of the dogs and cats and how to avoid any issues. We certainly wouldn’t hesitate to look after their little family again should they ever need us to.
House sitting can be very rewarding. You will meet so many interesting people and their precious pets. It also gives you an opportunity to explore an area that you have always wanted to go to. Click here if you would like to know more and feel free to leave any comments below.