Other people’s pets

Canberra Lamp Post circa 1927

I couldn't find a pic of one of my 'pets' but if you keep looking at this post a dog is bound to turn up.

I am single, I live in a two bedroom flat and I don’t own a pet. Not that I don’t like animals, I do, but in a two bedroom third floor flat it is just not an option. So why do I spend about a third of my life looking after animals?
Answer – I am too soft.

This all began about 8 years ago when some friends who owned three cats and two children cleverly disguised as Keeshond (Dutch Barge) Dogs asked me to cat sit while they went on holiday. They were my teachers (the people not the dogs) when I was studying Design and we became close friends (the people and the dogs). I hasten to add that they were two totally wonderful people and superb teachers.

However I digress.

They generally spend about 5 to 6 weeks a year at the coast around Christmas and January and always took the furry children with them which left the cats at home. Or, prior to my coming, in a cattery. They asked me to look after their cats in 2004 for which they offered to pay me what was to a student and career pauper, quite a handsome sum. The offer came with a four bedroom home in the leafy suburb of Curtin in Canberra. The house was nestled in a lovely garden and I was given free run of the pantry and generally a couple of bottles of fine red wine. They were very generous people and very happy to know that their cats were being looked after at home by me.

Actually, now that I come to think of it, I used to look after a little silky terrier called Molly way back in the final years of last century. I would live at Molly’s house in Yarralumla for about a month around Christmas time and walk behind her twice a day as she harassed cyclists, pedestrians and dogs that towered over her. This also involved picking up the jetsam that dogs tend to leave a trail of when they go for a walk. This is tough for me because I don’t do dog poo. I find animal excreta to be nauseating. Having said this I do recall having cow pat fights at school back in my misspent childhood but that was different. Cows eat grass and cow poo is just solidified masticated grass (with the milk removed). Dog and cat poo is … well it’s … you know what I am getting at.

Back to the story.

After my cats from Curtin took their furry brothers and non furry parents up to Coff’s Harbour to live I swore that this was my last animal sitting venture. Well I guess that will teach me not to swear because, as I write this I am sitting in a house about 10 minutes east of Yass surrounded by seven, yes you heard correctly, seven Samoyeds. Why am I sittin out here when I am also currently contracted to cat sit in Calwell an hour and a half south of here in Canberra? It seems that I can’t say no. So after making sure that my cat charges were well looked after and fed I motored out here to tend to the dogs. I am with the dogs just for one night and the owners have compensated me by paying for a tank of petrol and leaving some rather delicious food for me. Oh bugger, I hope I haven’t just eaten the dog’s dinner.

It’s back to my cats tomorrow where I will stay till late October.
Why do I do this? It’s not for the money, the cat sitting is actually costing me money because my usual three kilometre commuted is now a 20 kilometre commute and my trip to dancing is in excess of 20ks each way extra. Do I aspire to owning an animal – nope that is far too expensive and who would I get to look after it if I went away?  So why?

Ah ha! Now I see it. I get to have a pet for a while, or in the case of tonight, 7 pets and I don’t have to do all the hard stuff like buy a kings ransom worth of food and other stuff every week, I don’t have to make down-payments on expensive cars for vets. I don’t have to fret when one of them gets crook or even worse keels over. I do fret though, when one of my charges goes AWOL for over a week which recently happened.

Wow, isn’t it great writing something down. Earlier today I was self flagellating because I was once again doing something I didn’t seem to want to do because I just couldn’t say no and now I am seeing some of the good stuff. I actually got to sit by a huge window in a lovely house in the bush and watch a typically beautiful Brindabella Sunset which I would have missed at home. At Calwell I have a lovely outdoor area to sit in and sip red wine while I wade through the Harry Potter books owned by the cat owners son. In Curtin there was a pool – ok so it was full of koi and only 6 feet long but it was a pool.
All good. Ok I will stop bitching now and go and give one of the dogs a hug. I will probably get slobbered over but, what the heck. So I guess if I get asked to do it again I will more than likely say yes. I had vowed to say no to Gaye when she asked me to dog sit Nugget again but I will probably say yes. Nugget is a lovely old sook of a dog who was given a few months to live about a year ago but it seems that nobody told Nugget so he is still bounding around looking as if he could chase kangaroos all over the paddock again (and generally does). I actually am rather fond of my menagerie.

Aren’t blogs wonderful.

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