Sunday 2 October 2022

Coles' Adventure and the case of the Rogue House Sitter

Cole in the Garden

It had been a while since I travelled, like most people Covid had us locked down and to be frank the staying at home appealed to the hermit tendencies within me. 

Getting a House Sitter

I had decided to get a house sitter, (someone who looks after your pet and home while you are away), deciding that I wanted Cole to stay at home and not leave the house empty. Travelling and arriving at my sisters seemed very surreal by the time I got there, as it was my birthday and two days later would be mums funeral. 

I had spent the previous week getting my place ready for a house sitter, and  he arrived 2 days before I was due to leave so I showed him round Barbados and helped him settle in and get comfortable with Cole, who got on with him from the word go, only to have him walk out on the day of my departure saying that Cole had barred his teeth at him, and he couldn't continue. 

He had also listed a range of other things that previous hosts had provided that I wasn't, such as use of a car, air-conditioned room, and sleeping in the master bedroom!  I couldn't believe he was walking out as he knew before he came what was to be included and Cole had been treating him like a member of the family from the time he arrived and was very comfortable with him.

Cole loves his belly rubbed

Cole's favorite toy

I was an emotional mess, to be told that he was leaving on the day of my departure, a few hours before my flight took off, leaving me to scramble around to find a kennel.  I went into automatic mode knowing I had to keep it together.  I managed to change my flight for the following day and found the last boarding space at the RSPCA.  I used Seans Pet Transportation and was very impressed at his calmness and he was able to get Cole in a transport cage backwards!  Cole was confused, suddenly he was being put on a lorry by a stranger wondering where the stranger he had just let in his home a shared his toys with went.

In the waiting room

It was traumatic at the RSPCA as well, after I got him checked in to lead him back with all the barking dogs scrambling at their cages on either side of the walkway, it felt like a prison.

Cole's home at the kennels

He walked into his cage in a daze, the cold hard metal floors, the noise, no comforts from home and the only food for 30 days would be a daily dose of hard kibble.  I was so upset leaving him and eventually made my way home.  This wasn't supposed to happen, Cole should have been frolicking in the garden eating the food I spent 4 days preparing in advance, having his treats and daily banana, and sleeping in his padded warm bed with the sounds of the singing frogs and the crickets melodiously in the background.

Cole and art appreciation

It is funny, I didn't realize how much I liked dogs until my son brought him home as a month-old puppy. He has been a constant companion hanging out in my studio or when I am in the garden, and he also is great at reminding me when I have spent too much time in front of the computer screen.

Skin and bones 

While he was at the kennels it seemed like he didn't eat, you could see his ribs and his spine, he came back half the size he left. He smelt awful and had some sores on parts of his feet and elbows and it was like he had been in a war, and since he has come home, I have just been spending time trying to get him back to health.

Cole On the mend

I am not sure I would be able to trust another stranger to housesit for me again, it was one of the worst experiences that I had been through.  Despite being an older traveler and having references a list reviews, they were just words, and he wasn't in the right frame of mind to look after Cole or have the experience claimed.

For now, Cole is on the mend, he is enjoying being back home and settling into his routines, yet I wonder sometimes when he looks at me if he remembers his experience. 

Have you had an experience from a house sitter or put your pet into boarding while you were away?

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