Bosco the Senior Citizen, Louna, Agathe & Malia the 3 Rescue Cats Living In Rousseloy – France – 2nd Oct – 15th Oct

This was our last sit in France before heading back home to Australia late October. We had in our care Bosco a very elderly mixed breed dog. Because of his age Bosco had several health problems which we were made aware of and monitored during our stay. He had such a lovely nature and followed us everywhere. The owners had asked that we didn’t pat him as he also was nearly blind and any sudden movement would have him snap at you.

Bosco with his Mate Louna

Malia

Louna, (Male) Mailia & Agathe (Females) were all rescue cats and had the run of both the house and yard. Louna & Malia were brother and sister and suffered from Haws Syndrome. This is where both of their third eyelids were prolapsed and the vet thought that it may have been due to intestinal worms or other parasites after eating a small dead animal in the yard. 

Agathe

After time they should return to normal and we did notice an improvement while we were there. The three had big personalities with Agathe the smaller starting a fight with the other two on a daily basis. It was nothing to see a flash before your eyes and then two of the cats high in a tree! All three were to be kept in at night.

Louna and Bosco were great mates and most times were to be found snuggling up together on the mat.

Responsibilities Included:

Feeding Louna, Mailia & Agathe twice daily. Wet and Dried food.

Feed Bosco – Once daily

Ensuring fresh water for all the animals.

Yard Work

Security of the Home & Mail Collection

6 Weeks In Normandy with Grignotte – Octeville sur Mer – 13 Aug – 26 Sept 2018 – France

We organised this sit in December 2017 knowing that we would be in France at the time when the owners required someone to look after their home and their lovely little rescue cat Grignotte. The name Grignotte in French means “to eat small amounts all day” and she certainly lived up to her name.

She was an extremely docile little girl who slept for the best part of the day. We were told by the owners that she would let you know what she wanted, by either standing at the door to go out or to come inside. She would place herself right in front of you sitting on the floor letting you know that it was time for her to eat. We found this very amusing as you could come out of the bathroom and there she was sitting there waiting for you!

The owner’s home was on a large block of land, well secured with beautiful huge trees and lovely gardens. The home was situated about 1km from the village of Octeville sur Mer itself and about 6kms from the port of Le Harve.

One of our responsibilities was to maintain a large vegetable garden which involved weeding, watering, pruning and removal of any fallen fruit or vegetable. We were lucky to enjoy an endless supply of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, melons and grapes.

Around the property were lots of strawberry and raspberry plants and an apple tree which we also could pick the fruit from. Bruno enjoyed mowing the lawn each week with the ride on mower.

Responsibilities Included:

Feed/Water for Grignotte

Lawn Mowing/Watering Plants/Vege Garden

Mail Collection

Security of the Home

Jungle & Jack – Two Lively Cats Living in Guichen – Brittany 29 July – 11 August 2018 – France

Jungle and Jack live with their little family in a small village backing onto the river La Vilaine. We were invited to dinner the night before the owners left for their holiday in the Ardeche and received the house keys and instructions as they were leaving early the next morning. We were to be their first experience with Housesitters.

Jungle and Jack are two very different cats with Jungle being the older of the two, quite shy and timid whereas Jack being the younger cat was still in kitten stage always up for playing and a little bit of mischief. To say they didn’t like each other was an understatement. They were fed two different types of dry food with you having to stand guard over Jungle’s food as Jack was forever trying to pinch her food prior to finishing his own. Both Jack and Jungle were easy care pets and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. The family had an above ground pool that we also maintained during our stay.

We enjoyed afternoon walks along the towpath of the river and it was nothing to look out the back door and see a canal boat either passing or moored right behind the house. The owners left details for surrounding places of interest and on the odd morning or afternoon we took ourselves off and discovered this to be a beautiful area of Brittany.

Responsibilities Included:
Feed/Water for Jack and Jungle
Lawn Mowing and Watering Plants
Mail Collection & Security
Pool Maintenance

Returning to Argeles sur Mer to be with Arthur – 11 July – 22nd July 2018 – France

We looked after Arthur and his sister Alize back in 2016. A few weeks before we were due to arrive we received the very sad news from their owner that Alize had been euthanised due to incurable cancer. It goes unsaid that her owners were devastated and with very heavy hearts we arrived to look after Arthur.

We returned to a very different little dog. Arthur was obviously grieving for Alize and had developed some feeding issues and was very quiet and withdrawn. We never left him alone the whole time we were on the sit with him coming everywhere we went. Armed with all of our passports including Arthurs, we even did a day trip across the border to Spain. 

A Day Out
Off to Spain
Daily walk to the Boulangerie
Arthur’s treat from the Café Owner

He is such a well-behaved boy and was no trouble at all. Even allowing you to brush his teeth daily with his liver flavoured toothpaste!
Because of his feeding issues he ate small amounts throughout the day. We were very happy to do this and even tried to make it different for him with a bit of scatter feeding.
Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Argeles with morning and afternoon walks to the village. Taking Arthur to the café where he was always was greeted with a treat and a fresh bowl of water.

Arthur having his teeth brushed
Scatter Feeding

We did a handover to other sitters taking over from us. This is the second time we have done so and thoroughly enjoyed their company sharing a meal the night before our departure and sharing our housesitting experiences. These sitters also know Arthur well and have looked after him with Alize before. We felt very confident driving off the following morning leaving Arthur in their very capable hands.

Original Sit: 1st September – 23rd September 2016

Responsibilities Included:
Feed/Water for Arthur
Lots of Cuddles/Brushing Arthurs Teeth
Daily Walks / Playtime
Lawn Care/Watering of Plants
Mail Collection
Security of the Hom

In Provence, with our Largest & Youngest Pets so far – 17 June – 29 June 2018 – France

We arranged this sit while we were in Calabria Italy visiting family at the beginning of our 6 months stay in Europe. We were to have in our care Hutch & Gotskey – 2 Cane Corsos a breed that we had actually never heard of let alone sat before. To our surprise they were very large dogs even bigger than how they looked in their photos. It didn’t take us long to realise that we had 2 large softies on our hands. Hutch had this habit that when you were in the yard he would come and sit on your foot. Both dogs loved being with you and we, though wary at first due to their size, grew very fond of this big boy and girl!

Gotskey & Hutch
Hutch

At the other end of the scale we had Luciole a very lively 6-month-old kitten. Hutch and Gotskey were outside dogs and had the run of the property which was quite large and well fenced. We both walked the dogs daily taking one each on the lead. The owners had instructed us to be mindful of other dogs as particularly Gotskey had the potential to be aggressive. Thankfully this was not an issue.

Luciole
Feeling Brave!

Luciole proved to be very entertaining as most kittens are. She was an inside cat who was allowed to venture outside onto the front patio. Gotskey and Hutch had a barrier to prevent them coming up onto the patio and each day we found Luciole getting braver and braver with where she would venture to. One day we went outside to see both Gotskey and Hutch having bailed her up at the barrier. We think both sides were a bit unsure as to what to make of each other.

Tug of War
The Adventurer!

The owners also had a large vegetable garden to be watered daily and we were very fortunate to be able to have fresh vegetables at hand each day.
The home was situated between Aix en Provence and Marseille and we were able to visit some of the interesting towns around the area.

Responsibilities Included:
Feed/Water Gotskey, Hutch, Luciole
Daily Walks / Playtime
Daily Watering All Gardens      Mail Collection & Security

Beautiful Historic Florence with Lizzie the Lab & Mia the Calico Cat – 3 June 2018 – 12 June 2018 – Italy

We had skyped with the owners before leaving Australia for Italy and as the camera was not working from their end we were unable to see Lizzie and Mia and also where we would be sitting. We were pleasantly surprised on our arrival to find that this beautiful and very private home was only one stop from the centre of Florence. At the owners suggestion this allowed us to take ourselves off either morning or afternoon for a few hours to explore the area.

One of many areas to relax in!
The Pool!

We have found that as with most of the pets we have had in our care, Lizzie had no problem with her owners leaving. I think it has something to do with leaving someone to feed them. Lizzie required a daily walk and this was mainly in the local park as the streets were busy and the footpaths narrow. She loved her walks and was well behaved with other dogs. We also had to administer ear drops when required and treat some hot spots with her prescribed cream. She slept at the foot of our bed each night and apart from the odd night of snoring was not a bad roomie! She had a beautiful big yard to explore but apart from her walk each day preferred to laze around and receive lots of attention and cuddles.

One of Many Cuddles
So that’s where you are!

Mia was a different story – she is a very shy little calico cat and for the first few days we only knew that she was still there due to her food bowl being emptied at night. One day I noticed the cupboard door open slightly and this is where she had been hiding for those few days. That did change and we were pleased that for the remainder of the sit she felt comfortable enough to come out of hiding, stick to her normal routine of things and actually stay around us. She did have her water bowl but she preferred to drink from the bathroom taps.

Responsibilities Included:
Food/Water Lizzie & Mia
Ear Drops/Cream & Walk Lizzie
Security & Collect Mail/Pool Maintenance

Sicilian Life with Hoover, Sophie, Braccobaldo & Clementina – 12 May 2018 – 28 May 2018 – Sicily

We first started our communication with the homeowner in March when we were still in Australia. This was  prior to leaving for Europe in May. We were spending time in Calabria, Italy with family when the owner contacted us with confirmed dates as these were still having to be decided due to medical appointments. Being close to the crossing to Sicily we were happy to accept the sit.

Hoover & Sophie
Braccobaldo & Clementina

We had in our care Hoover & Sophie – 2 rescue dogs and Clementina & Braccobaldo the two cats. And of course, their lovely home which was situated high on a mountain with amazing views over Siracusa/Ortigia.

Steep and Winding Road to the House!
Amazing views from the Home!

We arrived in the afternoon the day before the owners left and were taken around and shown all of the local facilities which we might need during our stay. This was wonderful as where the home was situated was a little remote. As there was no rubbish collection we had the option to go to several disposal points and these also were pointed out to us. We then went back to the home to a lovely home cooked meal.

Off on an outing!
Hoover, Sophie, Bruno & Clementina Off for A Walk!

Hoover and Sophie have big personalities. We are unsure what breed Hoover is but he is a large dog with very long legs and supports a dishevelled look. He has the sweetest personality and if you show any sign of affection to the others he is at your side in a shot wanting the same from you.

Clementina & Braccobaldo were also very easy to look after. They spent most of their time outside or inside on the owner’s bed asleep. Clementina was the more affectionate of the two and we were able to have some cuddles. She also made us smile when she accompanied us on our walks with the dogs.

Responsibilities Included:
Feed/Water for Hoover & Sophie
Feed/Water for Braccobaldo & Clementina
Daily Walks / Playtime
Watering of Potted Plants
Mail Collection
Security of the Home

Inner City Living with Max the Labrador – St Lucia – Qld – Australia 4 Feb 2018 – 27 April 2018

This was another sit where “expect the unexpected” applied. We had in our care Max the Labrador and halfway into the sit Max lost his “chief walker” in Bruno after he had a fall and fractured his fibula. It could only be described as one of those sliding door moments when making the decision to do the long walk home resulted in Bruno slipping on wet grass on a slope. The next six weeks were then spent in a moon boot & crutches and resting for that time. We were very careful to follow the doctor’s orders as we had a flight booked to Europe within seven weeks. This meant we had one week to spare after the moon boot was discarded. Gail then became the sole walker of Max.

Max
A Sneaky Cuddle!

Max is just a delightful dog and once again very typical of the breed loving his food and walks. St Lucia is a leafy inner-city suburb of Brisbane and we were very lucky to be one street from the Brisbane River and the golf course. There were great walks along the river and around/through the golf course which we went on twice daily. At one stage we also had to take Max to his vet as he had developed a limp. Thankfully this was nothing serious and cleared within a few days of rest.

River Walk
Café Visit

Responsibilities Included:
Feeding Max – twice daily – morning and night / Fresh Water
Dry food in the morning and a sachet of wet food at night with dry food also
Twice Daily Walks/ Playtime/Bath
Security of the home
Mail Collection

One Border Collie – 2 Kelpies & George the Turtle – Mt Victoria NSW – Aust – 23 Nov – 2 Dec 2017

We were contacted by the owner through Aussie Housesitters to see if we would be interested in pet and housesitting for them. As we were in between sits we said yes to the opportunity to travel to the Blue Mountains NSW area. We met with the owners the day before they left in order to pick up keys and to be given the instructions with regards to pet care etc. We were to be their first housesitters. They say ‘expect the unexpected” when housesitting – well we certainly didn’t expect to have two missing dogs within the first few hours of our arrival! We arrived the following morning and after some ball play with the dogs we needed to go grocery shopping.

Getting Acquainted!
Ball Play

We left three dogs and came home to one! Panic stations. Jake is the owners dog so therefore was left inside and Mia and Toby were their son’s dogs and as per their instructions were to be left outside in their fully fenced yard if we were to go out.  Bruno immediately started searching the streets – asking workmen and the postman along the way had they seen the dogs. I rang two of the vet practices in the area explaining our predicament and whether they had been handed in to them – they hadn’t. I then rang the animal shelter in the area who noted their descriptions and would phone if they were handed into them. We rang the contact person we had been given and they in turn phoned the owner who then phoned me to say not to worry they knew the area and they were sure that they would return. This did not reassure our anxiety level unfortunately as the house was situated on the main highway. I also registered on the local lost and found website and within minutes someone had also posted a photo of the dogs wandering around the local school asking did anyone know who they belonged to?

We jumped in the car and a few streets away here they were – not a care in the world popping in and out of people’s yards. We called them, held the door open and in they jumped! We have never been so happy to see 2 naughty & very wet kelpies in all our lives. We found where they had got out and secured it well and truly. There had been a storm come through the area that we were unaware of and this had been the reason for their escape. We did not have any further escapes during our stay, thank goodness. The postman made us smile because after finishing his run for the day called in asking did we have a photo of the dogs so he could look out for them on his run the next day. We really enjoyed our time with Jake, Mia and Toby who were all ball obsessed. We certainly tired before they did!

George
Eye on the Ball!

Responsibilities Included:
Feed/Water for Jake, Toby and Mia
Ball Play for all three dogs
Morning feed  George every 2nd day
Tank Maintenance for George
Feeding the Koi in outside fish ponds
Mail Collection
Security of the Home

Beautiful Bella & Freya – Nambour – Qld – Australia – 27 Oct – 6 Nov 2017

This was our hardest sit to date for no other reason but for how it ended. We met with the homeowner a couple of days prior and took possession of house keys, instructions etc.
We were advised that Bella had been unwell and was on medication – the owner had taken her to the vet the day before leaving and was told medication would clear the problem.


A few days into the sit we noticed Bella was very hesitant to go out for her walk and started to not want to eat. After talking to her owner we took Bella back to her vet who then changed her medication. Each day her symptoms worsened and we had to take her to the after-hours emergency vet, after she starting vomiting. We were all devastated to learn this vets diagnosis. A large cancerous mass in her stomach. She stayed the night in the vet’s care and we collected her in the morning. Her owner returned and spent the night with Bella before having her euthanised at home the following day.

This was an incredibly sad ending to having looked after such a beautiful and gentle dog. We feel very privileged to have been part of Bella’s care. We also were looking after Freya – the owner had warned us that we would only be able to feed her as she had quite an erratic personality. I refer to Bruno as the “Cat Whisperer” and true to form he was able to get the odd pat in before she lashed out. Poor Freya with all that was going on it was just food, litter change and the odd pat!

Daily Routine Included:
Meal Preparation/Water for Bella
Ensuring Bella was comfortable/changing bedding
Medication Administration
Feeding/Water Freya
Walking Bella
Home Security
Mail Collection