My First Dog
My love affair with dogs began when my mother brought home a black Labrador retriever puppy when I was ten years old. This was a big surprise because although my sister and I always enjoyed playing with our neighbors’ dogs, we never really expected to have one of our own. Of course in the beginning our puppy, we named Luv, required a lot of cleaning up after, and kept us up at night. Little by little, she became one of the family and we enjoyed taking her on outings, especially to a river, a lake or the ocean; she loved to swim and play in the water.
She and I had become good friends and leaving that dog when I went away from home to college was difficult for me. It was always a treat to see her again when I came home for visits. After college I had to leave my pet forever when I moved across the country to California. I still recall the tearful Sunday when my folks called to say she had passed away.
A Continued Love Affair
Once I was married, my wife and I adopted a wonderful golden Labrador puppy, named Shara into our lives.We enjoyed raising and training her and, because we lived in the country, she had plenty of open space to run and play. As our work lives got busier, we realized that we didn’t have the time to properly care for her. It was clear that she was lonely and in need of more play time. We made the difficult decision to place her in a home with a family that could give her more time and the love she deserved. We were happy to be kept posted on her life as a farm dog, running freely as she most loved to do.
A Four Legged for the Family
At about the time our boys were old enough to take care of a dog, we were asked by a friend to care for their Shih Tzu whom they needed to give away. We all fell in love with this little fur ball who mostly liked curling up on the couch and being petted. Despite quite a few medical problems, our family enjoyed our little Minnie and cared for her until she was old and both deaf and blind. We then had to make the heartrending decision to have her put down.
Sharing ones home with a dog is a wonderful experience that requires a lot of time and expense. When that time inevitably comes when we must say goodbye to our long time companions, it can be heart breaking and difficult. As a retiree who desired the freedom to travel, having a dog was no longer a viable option.
Dog sitting during a long term house sit permits me to love and care for someone else’s beloved pet for a long enough time to truly enjoy them. I can get to know their personalities and have plenty of time to play with them. Since we have little to do besides taking care of the home, the dog can get all the attention she needs.
More Dogs to Love
When we were house sitting in Western Australia, we took care of a wonderful little Jack Russell terrier named Chienne. She was a high energy powerhouse of a dog who wanted to run and play all day, which was just fine with me. I would take her out and throw the ball with her for hours at a time (well, I had to take an occasional break or two). She had 12 acres of fenced property to play in and she liked nothing better than to run around chasing the ball or the occasional rabbit that was unlucky enough to come inside the fence.
After our six months of loving Chienne, it was time for us to leave. She was of course, happy to have her old family back and we felt glad to know that she was well taken care of. Sure it was a bit difficult to leave her, but I have wonderful memories and plenty of photographs to remember her by. Although it is unlikely that I will ever see her again, she will always be in my heart.
A Win for the Homeowners, A Win for the Pet Sitter
Finding a way to have their pets properly looked after is always an issue for pet owners who want to travel. The longer the trip, the more expensive it is to leave a pet with a board and care facility and it is not usually as cozy as family life. Although dogs are kept healthy in such places, they get no where near the personal attention they get when someone is in their home with them.
Having a house and pet sitter is the perfect way for homeowners to travel with peace of mind knowing that their home will be kept up and their pets will be played with, cared for and loved just as they do themselves. And since there is usually little cost involved, they save money too.
The arrangement is a win for the homeowner and for us too. My wife and I are looking forward to our next house sit when we will get to know and love another wonderful dog.