This was our eighth summer house sitting. We were completely booked up before we got back to Cabbagetown this past June and we had just one small 3 day gap in our schedule in 4 months. The sits were longer and we had more repeats. Except for a few new clients, most of these pets we knew pretty well. And here they are, meet the pets of Summer 2019…
House Sit #1 – Lucy, Cosmo, & Ben
Lucy had a bit of a rocky start, and almost had a short little life. Luckily she was saved from being purposefully drowned in a river. When her savior went off to college, though, her savior’s mother passed Lucy on to Debbie, who was looking for a companion for her elderly black lab Max. Lucy was a nervous little dog, always seeming to need reassurance, and had a compulsion to lick (thus her nickname), but she was a great comfort to Max and adored her new big brother. Sadly only a few years later Max passed. But Lucy adapted and although she still has her licky moments she is sweet as can be.
Lucy’s house companion is Cosmo. Cos is a classic Cabbagetown porch kitty. We don’t know where he came from or how he found his way to Cabbagetown but he showed up one day on the exact right porch. Debbie started feeding him and he rewarded anyone who stopped by with affection. Eventually, although there was already a cat and dog in the hosuehold he was let inside occasionally and then permanently. His cat companion Nola who had domain over the screen porch passed last year so the whole house is basically Cosmo’s now. He had a bit of a contentious relationship with Lucy when she showed up on the scene. Just this summer I saw him take a swipe at her as she walked by the coffee table he was sitting on. But after finding them curled up on the same couch late one night, I’m sure it was just a swipe of sibling love.
Ben was our surprise pet. Our first house sit with Lucy and Cosmo was at Debbie’s, one of our very best Cabbagetown friends. We arrived a day early so we could see her before she took off on her vacation. When we hit Atlanta we texted her to let her know we were near. She texted back that she wasn’t home but that Lucy, Cosmo, and Ben were there. Who’s Ben we wondered? A new boyfriend? Surely not a new pet. When we arrived we found Ben hanging out on the couch totally chill, not seeming to care at all that strangers had just let their selves in. Ends up Debbie was doing a little pet sitting of her own for another friend, Ann, and Ben would be staying with us until Ann got back in town. Ben ended up being super easy and a great companion to Lucy. After a few days, Ann came and picked him up. I didn’t get a picture of him before he left since we didn’t really know when that would be. So at the end of the summer, I took a photo in his own home so I could add it to our collection.
Pet Visit #1 & 2 – Little Joe & Jack Bauer
Right before we returned to Cabbagetown for the summer Little Joe was diagnosed with cancer. We were already house sitting elsewhere when Patrick and Celine asked if we could look after him and his brother, Jack Bauer, while they were taking a planned trip out of town. Since we couldn’t stay we made a couple of house calls each day. Joe needed medicine and encouragement to eat. During my first stint of visits, Joe was just like he always was, sweet and eager for attention, just a little skinnier. He was pretty cooperative taking his pills and was good at eating the few things he had a taste for.
I took care of him two different weeks during the summer but he finally passed, living much longer than expected, probably reluctant at the end to leave his specially blended tuna shakes and the heartfelt love of his people.
Little Joe’s brother, Jack Bauer, lost a best friend this summer. In years past when we house sat the boys we were witness to their love of bringing small creatures inside to play with/torture. These boys owned the street – running up to anyone who passed for belly rubs and affection. When Joe was sick Jack would patiently wait for him to eat his fill of whatever special treat food I gave him before his licked Jack’s bowl clean. I understand he is breaking in a new baby brother, seeing if he measures up to Little Joe.
We actually had one other pet visit to another set of cats. Greg was scheduled to paint the interior of a house while the owners were on vacation so the owners asked him if he could also feed their cats. I don’t think Greg saw the cats very much at all and since I never saw them there are no pictures and not much to say about them but hopefully, they appreciate the strange man who came into their house every day and smeared stuff on the walls and fed them.
House Sit #2 – Sammy & Winnie
This was the first time we had sat Sammy (foreground) and Winnie (background) so we had no idea what to expect. They were sweet as can be. We were only with them for 5 days so unfortunately by the time we were all used to each other it was time to go. But we did have some good snuggles on the couch and walks around the block.
Winnie likes to hide in between the pillows on the couch. The smaller of the two dogs, she was shy but oh so loving. There is nothing like having a tiny dog curled up at your chest as you fall asleep at night.
House Sit #3, #7, & #8 1/2 – Bob & Dave
We house-sat Bob and Dave 2 1/2 times this past summer. I know you’re asking how do you house sit half a time? Half a time is when Greg and I split up. Now we don’t actually like to split up for more than a day or two – it just isn’t advantageous for us. But then Bob and Dave’s person, Karin, had a trip and her scheduled house sitter bailed at the last moment, we couldn’t bear the idea of either one of the boys going to a kennel. We decided we could make it work. We were already sitting Zara the cat so I decided to sleep with her and Greg spent the night with the boys just down the street. I would get up at 6 am to feed Zara, go back to sleep for an hour, get up and go walk Margeaux (another dog from another household – read Margeaux’s story below). After walking Margeaux, I would head to Bob and Dave’s house to walk Dave. Greg always takes responsibility for walking the older dogs which in this case was Bob. Greg also made sure Bob had his first thing in the morning pills. After Dave’s walk Greg would already be gone to work so I would put a cup of dry food in Dave’s bowl and make Bob’s toast (he needed a little food in his belly before his next pill) and then gave Dave his supplements wrapped in liverwurst. Next, I would head back to Zara’s house, fill her treat ball, pet her, and brush her. In the afternoon, I’d give Zara her lunch then back down to Bob and Dave’s to give Bob his lunch and send everyone out to the back yard for an afternoon pee. Everyone was fed again at dinner time and given whatever supplements or medicine they required, after which Greg and I would feed ourselves at Zara’s then head back to Bob and Dave’s to hang out before bed. After getting the boys out for their nightly pee, I’d head back up the street to give Zara her nighttime snack and some pets before we hit the bed.
Bob is a golden-doodle. I recently read an article about the man who invented the doodle breed. He said that he regretted doing so. He bred the dog for a woman who needed a non-allergenic guide dog for her blind husband. But now he rues his hand in the birth of this new breed believing them to be “either crazy or have a hereditary problem.” This guy has never met Bob. Bob is the absolute coolest. I wanted to house sit him years before we actually got a chance to do so. He is a big loving hound without all the shedding.
Bob wasn’t doing so well right before our first stint of house sitting with him this summer. He was doing so poorly Karin thought the end was near but before she made that big decision she decided to try one more thing – CBD oil. If you haven’t heard about it CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of marijuana. But it doesn’t get you high. It is used to relieve pain, reduce anxiety and depression, and a bunch of other stuff. For Bob, it was a miracle drug. Karin first started giving it to Bob before she left on her vacation. When she got back she thought she had a brand new dog!
Dave is Bob’s brother dog. Dave is a standard poodle. His preferred hobby these days seems to be sleeping. He has favorite sleeping spots all over the house. But Dave is far from boring. He is Mr. Personality and when he is out and about he is far from the jumbled pile of dog pictured here. Dave struts. His markings make him look like a rock star and everyone notices him. I met a woman on my walk one day who had often seen Dave on his walks and was so excited to finally meet him in person.
House Sit #4 & #8 – Zara
Zara Raj hates Greg. Granted Zara isn’t really a fan of many people. She and I get along pretty well but that is only after a bit of lying on the floor of the bedroom, pulling up the dust ruffle to the bed and talking to her as she lies hiding underneath it. I’m pretty sure she likes this as she will start to loudly purr as I practice my Spanish with her and ask her how her day is going. Our first house sit with Zara this summer was pretty short but our second was 6 weeks – which was just enough time for her to decide that she didn’t have to go hide every time Greg was in the room. Luckily Greg was away from the house most days and despite his presence, Zara loved to come out in the evening and join me on the couch (Greg would sit in a chair across the room) for some attention and purring while we watched something on the TV.
House Sit #5 – Daisy
Daisy used to hate Greg. Perhaps there was a mean crazy bearded guy in her previous life? She wasn’t too crazy about me the first time we house sat her but she eventually really warmed up to me and we became best buds. But she hated Greg so much in the beginning that he began bringing her hotdogs when we would come to her house for orientation. That would let him in the door but not much else. But each summer she has gotten just a little more used to him. This summer she actually voluntarily came up to a hotdogless/treatless Greg for pets. But then I got a job for a few days and had to be away from the house all day so I asked Greg to take her on an afternoon walk. Daisy wasn’t having any of that and refused to walk with Greg. Apparently pets are OK but walks are a bit more personal.
House Sit #6 – Mr. Chien
I think we have house sat Mr. Gizmo Chien every single summer that we have been house sitting in Cabbagetown. But when the beginning of this summer rolled around he wasn’t on the schedule. Our 6th house sit was supposed to be petless, but then a few weeks before this sit began Mr. Chien’s person, Lynne asked me if we’d like to sit Mr. Chien in our petless house. It would just be for 3 days and Lynne said she had already OKed it with the owners of the house. So we ended up picking up Mr. Chien and his luggage (food bowl, food, bed) one morning and carried him and his stuff across the street. Mr. Chien was a little confused when we went on walks as to why we never ended up back at his house but other than that all went well. Greg also painted the house we were staying at this house sit.
Dog Walk – Margeaux
Margeaux wasn’t a house sit or a pet sit. She was a dog walk. This past spring Margeaux and her owner, Ros, were walking through Cabbagetown. As it often happens in the neighborhood, Ros ran into a friend and started chatting (we call this neighbor lag), Margeaux, not being real interested in the chat was keeping an eye on the street when she saw a squirrel and decided she needed to go after it. She pulled Ros (who maybe weighs only a few more pounds than Margeaux) with her, knocking her to the ground, and breaking her leg. When we got to Cabbagetown Ros was on the mend but unable to resume taking Margeaux on her daily walks. We ended up at the semi-petless house sit (house sit #6) a few doors away from Ros and since I was getting up every morning walking anyways I suggested to Ros that I take Margeaux with me. I tried taking Margeaux on my regular route a couple of times before she decided that she wanted to go another way. I obliged and soon found out it wasn’t the route that she liked so much as where the route led to. There is a small bowl full of dog cookies on a window ledge of a condo that sits directly on the edge of a Cabbagetown sidewalk. Margeaux loved getting a cookie from this bowl so we changed our route to go by the cookie bowl each morning. I was able to continue my walks with Margeaux during our 6-week house sit #8 with Zara since she is a cat and didn’t require walks in the morning.
House Sit #9 – Lucy & Jasmine
Lucy is a grand dame of dogs in Cabbagetown, having roamed the streets of the hood for many years. She doesn’t quite strut her stuff like she used to – Greg had to put socks and special shoes on her two front paws to help with arthritis every morning before he took her out for her walk, but she still enjoyed her rounds through Cabbagetown’s parks and streets and always wanted to go much further than when we sat her the previous year. Like Bob, Lucy is on the CBD oil too. A miracle drug maybe or just the absolute love and care of her people, Bill and Adam, who spare no expense to keep her happy and comfortable. But really there is no better place to be an old dog than in any home in Cabbagetown.
Lucy loves the sunlight as it filters through the blinds in the afternoon. Often times Lucy’s sibling, Jasmine, liked to curl up next to her to soak up a few rays in the afternoon. Like a good grand dame, Lucy tolerated Jasmine’s presence and oftentimes seemed to enjoy youthful energy in the house.
Jasmine is probably one of the most beautiful Doberman Pinchers you will ever see. I have never had so many people come up to me on the street when I was walking a dog to tell me how beautiful she is. I had people cross the street, roll down their car windows at intersections, and actually stop their cars in the street to admire and remark on her beauty.
Jasmine is full of life. She wakes up about 6 in the morning and she is ready for her 4 or 5-mile walk. Honestly, she was so much better this year than she was last year when we would get back from our hour and a half walks and she would run circles around the house and torture her sister. But still she never ever wanted a walk to end. I would have to make her go up the stairs into the house every single day.
Jasmine loves to play fetch with a tennis ball. About twice a week we would walk to the nearby cemetery that has a rather large potter’s field. There I would throw the ball for her for about an hour which I’m pretty sure she would chase until she dropped down dead (I never threw that long and always made her rest). But it isn’t just the game of fetch she loves – she is actually obsessed with balls. I finally decided that we weren’t going on walks but rather hunts, ball hunts. It didn’t help that one of her owners liked to hide tennis balls in trees in various parks we passed through on our walks. We couldn’t pass a park without her looking up into every almost every single tree. I think she now thinks that balls grow on trees. We did find one ball in a tree and I let her carry it home as instructed (because there is no getting her to drop it once she gets a ball anyways) but we also found many other balls on the ground. In total for the 3 weeks we were sitting her she brought home 7 balls (she found 10 in total but one was on our way to the cemetery to play fetch so I didn’t let her have that one, another she abandoned after she found another ball on the same walk – you can only carry one ball in your mouth at a time, and the third was inside a fence – this would torture her every time we walked by).
Jasmine loves to eat. The evening meal time would be preceded by circles around the house while Lucy’s food was prepared first. But she was ever so patient as her food was set on the floor and she was told to sit and wait until the magic word, “OK!”
Amazing fact about Jasmine – she can jump on top of a five foot wall in one leap and stand there while I yell “no, no, no!” for fear she will jump to the other side into traffic. Luckily she came down on the right side.
But the best thing about Jasmine and all of our pets is the love that they give us. They let us into their lives for just a tiny bit and I hope we all have a richer experience for it.