Dog sitting services require experienced people who take over responsibility for your dog along with an understanding that with someone else’s dog, sooner or later they have to wave goodbye to their new four legged friend even if it breaks their heart and your dog, who doesn’t know why they’ve been deserted, may go through an extended period of separation anxiety after your dog sitter is long gone.
Thanks to guest blogger, world traveler and author, Gabrielle Yetter, this news brief gives you a description of what its like to care for other people’s dogs when you know you have to leave them at some point.
A Dog Sitting Journey told by Gabi Yetter
Our first was Noisette, the chocolate Labrador who loved to hike in France. Then came Bengy, a feisty spaniel who leaped four feet onto stone walls in the Italian countryside. Lulu was a nervous little terrier who wanted Parmesan cheese sprinkled on her food and Fritz was an enormous Belgian Malinois who guarded the ecolodge in Nicaragua with a ferocious attitude, sprinting after anything that threatened his space.
House-sitting for other people’s dogs is rather like having grand-children – or so they say. You love every minute you spend with them then hand them back when you’re done. Thing is, with most of the dogs we’ve had on our dog sitting travels, we don’t want to hand them back at all.
Our house-sitting adventures began after we quit our jobs, sold our home and moved to Cambodia in 2010. After almost four years, we decided to spread our wings and spend time in new parts of the world. Staying in other people’s homes. Taking care of other people’s pets.
I’d grown up in a houseful of dogs and cats, Skip is an avid animal-lover and in Cambodia our landlord didn’t allow pets. So, for us, living with other people’s animals was a special treat.
We signed up with a house-sitting site, contacted places that appealed to us and jumped in.
As to be expected, along with the pleasure of animal companionship and dog sitting comes responsibility. In France, we had to take Noisette to the vet when she got a stick in her eye, and in England we hauled Rufus, a 120 pound Golden Retriever into a taxi to go to the animal hospital when he seemed unwell. While out running in the countryside in Italy, I needed to carry Betty (a Maltese poodle) when she was being pursued by another dog and, in Florence, during a dramatic Easter firework display, I had to huddle in a corner of the street to console a terrified Lulu. Fritz scared the daylights out of us one day when he sprinted down a path on the volcano in pursuit of a creature in the jungle. We never learned what he found but he returned to the lodge with blood on his paw and a victorious look on his face.
Dog sitting in France, we cared for two skittish rescue dogs whose owners roasted and froze 72 chicken legs for us to feed them while they were away. In England, Brownie the Springer Spaniel chewed up a doctor’s receipt, making it impossible for us to get reimbursed by insurance. And last Christmas, one of the five Chihuahuas we were tending nipped Skip on the leg when we first met.
Although once was enough for the Chihuahuas and the French rescue dogs, we often fall in love with our surrogate dogs and it’s always hard to say goodbye.
We have our list of dog sitting favourites and it’s getting longer: Rufus, the soppy slobbery Golden, who leaps enthusiastically into ponds and rivers, dragging five feet-long tree trunks in his jaw then shaking himself all over us; Bolle the enormous Mastiff who weighs more than I do and is a huge soppy bundle of love; Betty the Maltese who is a powder puff of fluffy happiness; Bengy the spaniel who ran with us in the countryside then slept on our bed; Alli the Ridgeback in Nicaragua who was as loving as she was large; Meg and Nelly, the elderly Labradors in Portugal who slowly meandered along dirt roads as they were losing their eyesight.
And while we’ve now been dog sitting and house-sitting for more than three years and have doggy pals scattered all over the world, I’m pretty confident there are many more Bettys, Allis, Nellys and Bengys in our future.
Gabi Yetter, guest blogger, is a lover of dogs and all animals, an author, a foodie and a traveler. Photos in this article feature Gabi and Skip Yetter with their doggy pals.
This news story gives you Gabi’s account of taking care of other people’s dogs while traveling around the world.
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