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January 23 – February 14, 2016

House sitting and animal sitting is something we’ve been doing now for almost a year. The arrangements work well for both our travel style and for the home owners. We look forward to further opportunities.

What happened…

Amanda writes:I’ll be honest … when we were riding from Tucson back to San Carlos I was ready to ride right past the town because I was enjoying cycling and traveling so much. But after getting to know these two dogs I can’t imagine having not spent the time with them. When I was growing up I was lucky enough to have cats and dogs in the house at all times. My fondest memory is our west-highland white terrier we had for 18 years. Molly was always in my life and she was part of our family just like one of my siblings. I can’t say I carried this love for animals into my adult life. I had two cats with my first husband and was terribly allergic to them. When we split up it was almost unspoken that he would keep the cats. Then when I met Andrew he got rid of his cat because I was allergic. Then in my adult life I’ve been bit by a couple of dogs which created this awkward fear. Then the icing on the cake is that dogs love to chase bicycles. Any bicycle tourist can likely tell you a story about riding down a deserted road and being chased and possibly attacked by a dog. So as you can see my relationship with animals has been a bit of a roller coaster. Fortunately amongst all of these ups and downs I’ve had friends with very well mannered cats and dogs and have kept my interest. Before I left on our trip I even asked for help from a couple of my friends (who have dogs) to help me with my fear of dogs. I did this because dogs can smell fear and it was making the situation worse.

So fast forward to over a year later and things are going very well. It was about a year ago when good friends of ourS got two new puppies, Canela and Mocha. We got to dog sit for them for a short while along with their cat Pepe and I didn’t have any issues. I appear to no longer be allergic to animals and enjoy their company very much. I’m so happy it has worked out so well because most people have animals and staying in peoples homes with animals can be hard when you have allergies. I guess my body is cooperating and then rewards are incredible … enter Lefty and Rex.

Meet Rex. Rex is a border collie with some Australian Shepard in him and is 16 years old. That’s 112 in human years. Rex has run over 1,000 miles with his owner in his prime. They found him lost in the mountains of Utah when he was 7. He had tags but his owners no longer wanted him. Rex is super chill and he just doesn’t get flustered. I’ve got to admit when we first started dog sitting I was concerned! He has a hard time walking up and down the stairs more than a couple of times a day and it is noticeably painful for him. We met another dog owner on the beach named Dale and we would see him twice a day. He told us stories of Rex before he started slowing down and it was really great to see how affectionate he was when speaking of him.

Rex is such a gentlemen and always ensures the ladies go through the door or up/down the stairs first. He heels perfectly and is so incredibly patient with his orangutan kid brother. The bond we created was unbreakable. He wouldn’t go anywhere without me. Every time I would practice yoga they would both be by my side in seconds. On the few occasions where I was frustrated with Andrew and perhaps having a heated discussion with him, Rex would come and stand beside me. He wouldn’t leave my side until I was relaxed. Such a rock solid guy.

Meet Lefty. Lefty is a terrier and about a year old. He is a rescue dog and they called him Lefty because he walks with a bit of a lilt to the left side because his hip was hurt when he was found. I imagine as he gets a bit older this lilt will become more noticeable. When he wakes up in the morning he is literally bouncing on the floor. It’s impossible not to laugh and smile at him when he gets up. He would get so excited for walks that when Andrew would try and put his leash on he’d pee. Once the leash was on he would just run in circles because he wanted to run but not necessarily run away, just run because he was excited so he would literally just run in circles. It’s a wonder he never got dizzy.

When we’d go for our walks on the beach he’d chase anything that moved, even the sand in the wind. He’d chase the birds, the leaves, his brother, me, kids, seaweed and anything that moved in the wind. When he would shake to get something off himself he’d shake his body with so much enthusiasm that his whole body would sway from side to side. Sometimes he’s wiggle to get sand or water off himself with so much gusto that he’d fall over from shaking.

I’ve also never met a dog with such a big reserve of pee. Walking the dogs on the beach could just be described as a pee fest. It seemed like every 10 steps he’d just want to leave a drop of pee. It was amazing to see that he always seemed to have just a drop in the reserve to mark his pile of seaweed.

The best part of Lefty was that at the end of a day he was a snuggler. If I was on the couch he would join me and snuggle right in. When we first started out with them the dogs had their dog beds on the floor at the end of the bed. After about a week Lefty took the big bold move of jumping up on the bed with us and he was so much fun we just never made him leave after that. He would snuggle right in with us and when it was time to wake up he’d gently climb on Andrew’s chest and give him little nudge with his nose. Once he knew Andrew was awake he’d keep nudging until it became a bit of a game and then we were up and walking them.

By the end of our time I can only say I’m in love with these two dogs and I wouldn’t trade in my three weeks with them for anything. And while I don’t think we’ll get a dog while traveling (even though Andrew wants to) I’m not necessarily against it if/when we settle down somewhere. I’ve been reminded of the joy and love that a dog can bring to your life combined with unconditional loyalty. I would however want to provide them with a wonderful life and routine because as I’ve seen with these two; they’re taken care of very well and as a result are healthy and well behaved dogs. Lefty and Rex were incredible hosts and I’m so lucky to have spent this time with them in their home.


Today’s Photographs

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