This housesitting lark may seem a bit of a breeze to some of you but I can tell you that it’s not all gravy. You may think we spend our time lazing around with our feet up eating and drinking but there is a lot more to it than that …………. really.
Our current housesit, booked through the TrustedHousesitters website, is up in rural Northamptonshire with a loveable basset hound called Molly. She’s around 12 years old and is very easy to look after compared to some of the overactive, excitable hounds that we’ve previously had the pleasure of caring for. Dogs like Ed the German Pointer and Ronnie the Labrador required a lot more exercise and activity than little Molly but that doesn’t mean we don’t give her as much attention.
Housesitting or is it Petsitting?
Every single housesit we have done has one thing in common. The owners are more concerned about their pets being looked after than their property. Completely understandable as they are part of the family and making sure they are happy and healthy while their owners are away is obviously a priority. So should it really be called Petsitting where you also keep an eye on the house? The number of times I have tried to get information on stopcocks, fuse boxes, alarms etc and the owners virtually dismiss the question out of hand and reply ‘she likes some biscuits about 5 o’clock‘. We quiz them on when the bins go out and where the house keys are and just get ‘they love to snuggle up on the settee with you in the evening‘.
Looking after Molly
Although she is a laid-back relaxed sort of girl, which is a massive understatement, Molly is still the focus of our attention whilst we are here. I can’t speak for other housesitters but we always feel that our number one priority is always making sure that the pets are comfortable and don’t feel at all upset or out of their normal routine. Routine in fact is what it’s all about. Just liked children dogs like a routine and can get seriously upset if it changes. So meal times and walk times are fairly important.
So when we are living with them and looking after them we make sure that nothing is too much trouble, although we never spoil them too much or do anything over and above what the owners have requested.
Molly has her routine, most of it involves laying down and snoring, and is fully aware when it’s time for dinner or biscuits. She is a very vocal dog and likes to groan and whine for a while just to let you know that it’s almost time for food or if she needs a comfort break outside. Talking of those comfort breaks, she seems to need to go outside at exactly the times we either sit down to eat or are in the middle of a particularly exciting film on the TV. It’s fine though as we are here to see to her every need and take it turns to open and close doors letting her in and out.
One of her particular character traits is that she refuses to drink from water bowls indoors and will only drink from the fountain in the courtyard outside. Strange as it must be really uncomfortable for her with her ears laying in the freezing water.
Molly isn’t always taking it easy however. A couple of times a day, usually after eating and drinking, she has a burst of energy and charges about chasing tennis balls and generally just getting excited. She will run and bark and enjoy being chased around the kitchen for a few minutes before suddenly coming to her senses and stopping dead still. That’s it. The end of playtime and no end of rolling the ball past her nose or calling her will get her going again. It’s almost as if she suddenly realises she’s a basset hound and just stops.
Nothing rude here just the regular two or three o’clock in the morning whines of a little dog that needs the toilet. Once again we take it in turns to let her out and wait what seems like hours for her to wander around extremely slowly and do her business. Occasionally we have to gee her up to come back in but she’s no trouble. Perhaps she really doesn’t need to go but misses us so much that it wakes her up?
The challenge of the daily village walk
Every afternoon around 2.30pm we head out for a lap of the village of Mears Ashby. Most dogs we’ve looked after go absolutely crazy when they hear the word ‘walkies‘ or see their lead but Molly takes it all in her stride and hardly bats an eyelid. It’s almost as if she doesn’t want to go.
We’re not fooled that easily and always coax her to her feet, get her lead on, and lead her out the front door. Initially we struggled to get her going and walk too far but after a few days of encouragement we managed a lap of the village. Success. Now after four weeks she is trotting all the way and barely even stops which is wonderful to see.
The Secret Life of Molly
So the title of this post probably isn’t strictly correct as I don’t think Molly has a secret life at all. She is fabulous company and seems to just enjoy being with us most of the time. Yes she has her own personality and can be stubborn and slow sometimes but then so can I. She really is a character and we are so pleased to have been allowed to look after her and spend so much time in her company. It’s been our pleasure totally. We will miss you bigtime when we leave Molly.
09/01 – 14/01/2019