House Sitting in Ontario [Burlington]

We recently completed two house sits in Burlington Ontario, back-to-back. Our second house sitting opportunity was for a couple who were travelling abroad leaving their two family pets, Skye and Cane, in our care.

If you have never been to Burlington, it is a city in the Regional Municipality of Halton at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario in Ontario Canada. Burlington forms the west end of the Greater Toronto area and is part of the Hamilton metropolitan census area. It lies between Lake Ontario’s north shore and Niagara Escarpment.

There are parks, trails, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Mount Nemo Conservation Area, Art Gallery of Burlington, Brant Street Pier (S-shaped that extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario and has great views of the lake and Burlington’s shoreline), rock climbing and hiking, Canada’s largest Ribfest, over 200 restaurants and golfing – lots to do! For getting around the city, there is Go Transit.

Population in 2017 was 205,960.

MEET THE FAMILY

OUR HOSTS

Sarah and Dave are a wonderful couple who were heading abroad for a short vacation.

Their comfortable home is large and spacious with an outdoor covered pavilion, heated by a gas fireplace and heater, where you can enjoy sitting regardless of the weather, and a beautiful salt water pool with little to no maintenance. For the exerciser, there is an in-door gym.

Private Swimming Pool

Salt Water Pool With Surrounding Deck!

The neighbourhood is great for walking in and boasts many running/biking trails.

Sarah and Dave were very generous and left us well provided for while they were away.

THE PETS

SKYE

Skye is a beautiful white 2 year old male Samoyed. This breed can be a mixture of biscuit and white colouring although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common.

Originally bred to hunt, haul sledges (a vehicle on runners for conveying loads or passengers over snow or ice), or herd reindeer, we did not see any hunting instincts in Skye. He is a very strong dog though which is characteristic of his breed.

We were told that Skye was a picky eater and often wouldn’t eat until later in the day or just before you decided to take him for a walk.

I sometimes think pets are like kids – they will do things for other people that they won’t do for their parents or owners. We are happy to say that we had no issues with Skye and that he ate quite well. His favourite ‘snack’ though was a Kong (this was a new term for me) filled with peanut butter and frozen. Although we only gave it to him once or twice a week, I am quite sure he would have been content to have one every day!

When he was finished, there would not be the tiniest speck of peanut butter left. Cane, however, was not as keen and the few times I tried to give him one, Skye managed to sneak it away from him!

Skye Eating Peanut Butter Out Of A Kong!

Skye loved to play and he and my husband would have a chase around the deck, Skye with a toy in his mouth and my husband threatening to take it – I am not sure who enjoyed it more!

When we would take them for car rides, Skye would get in first and although he would get excited, he would usually lay down until we arrived at our destination.

Since Skye is an extremely slow walker for a 2-year old, he made walking with a leash a piece of cake. At times when we would take him to the park, he would happily run around investigating or climb up on the picnic table as if to say “Here I am, look at me!”

The other thing that set Skye apart from Cane, in terms of behaviour, was Skye’s fear of thunder storms. We had 2 or 3 storms and Dave and Sarah had warned us that he might get nervous – and he did! At bedtime, he would beg to get on the bed with us or if it was early evening, he would sit by my husband and put his paw on his arm. As long as we were close by and petted him, he was OK. He would usually sense a storm before we would. Cane, on the other hand, was totally oblivious.

A man and a white samoyed

Skye Being Soothed During A Thunderstorm

CANE

Cane is a 4 year old male Treeing Walker Coonhound and is a rescue dog. I would say Cane was the more boisterous of the two, especially when it came to walking.

The Treeing Walker Coonhound was recognized officially as a breed by the United Kennel Club in 1945 and by the American Kennel Club in 2012.

Although they were primarily bred to hunt raccoons, Cane’s choice of animals were squirrels. In fact, he had two favourite trees in the neighbourhood and there was no mistaking which ones those were as he would get very vocal and strain at his leash.

He also liked motorcycles, trucks and buses. You can see in the photo below he had to have a heavy-duty harness so he wouldn’t get away.

As he was much faster walking than Skye and would get ahead, we would often have to tell him to wait so we could catch up to him.

Both dogs loved the freedom of the fenced in backyard and would chase each around the pool, tiring themselves out. We were happy to see how they got along well with other dogs at the leash free park.

dogs playing in a park

Cane – “Oh Boy! We Get To Play With Other Dogs”

When it came to car rides, while Skye was content to lay down, Cane would be standing the whole time with his nose up close to the front window making sure he wasn’t missing anything important.

Both Cane and Skye are loving, intelligent and gentle dogs who love to be around people.

Cane and Skye

RETURN VISIT

We certainly enjoyed this sit so when we were invited back to pick up a couple of items we left behind, we were ecstatic to meet up with Skye and Cane again (and of course Dave and Sarah). I wish we had our cameras with us as the reception we received was unbelievable. I think Dave and Sarah were quite impressed at how the dogs were all over us like we were old pals. It was a great feeling for us.

We were also quite surprised and touched that they brought us back a gift from France, something we can take on our travels – a salt and pepper mill set.

We have been fortunate in our house sits to meet so many wonderful people and pets. It is not only a rewarding experience but you get to check out some amazing locations. If you would like to know more about the company we use, just click on the image below.


What do you think of house sitting? Is it something you would consider? As a house owner, what has been your experience with sitters? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “House Sitting in Ontario [Burlington]”

  1. What a pleasant post. Sounds like you had a nice stay. I must admit I’d love to travel but would love to experience the smaller spots and places sometime. Also it’s really cool that you got to hang out with pets and look after them during your stay.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • Hello. Yes it was a great stay. This actually is a way for us to be able to go away for 6 months at a time. We are from Canada and sit for six months and then go south for the other 6. We have been to Costa Rica twice and heading to Mexico for our second time in November.

  2. Beautiful dogs. I have never done any house sitting. I have never thought about what could be involved in the activity. Although you were sitting for a couple, this sounds like it turned out to be a mini vacation for you. I guess with beautiful surroundings like those and well brought up pets, hanging out for a short while might just end up being a nice home away from your home. Thanks for sharing this article. It is something worth considering.

    • Hi JJ. We get lots of mini vacations. We have done several house sits over the last 6 months with one lasting for 4 months (just a house sit – no pets and lots of beautiful flowers). It is always an adventure because each home and pet is unique. We never know what it is going to be like until we get there! And yes, they are beautiful dogs :).

  3. Hello Mary Ann – This is a great idea for a retired individual like myself.  I never considered this before now.  I have heard of house/pet sitting of course, but your article has made it so interesting.  I have clicked through the link for trusted housesitters for general information. 

    Many thanks for this information!

    • Hi Nathaniel. Thanks for stopping by. It is a terrific idea for someone who is retired. We do this for about 6 months and then we go south for the other six months – Costa Rica twice and Mexico (once already and again heading there this month). Hope you give it some serious thought. Some people actually charge. In fact, we have a lot of 5 star sits under our belt right now but not charging yet.

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