We’ve been dog sitting this last week. Two big dogs: a golden retriever and a shorthaired german pointer. The former is a sturdy girl, the latter a horse. Rose and Lily. Sounds like a ladies’ vintage undergarmet apparel boutique in Portobello Road. (Or maybe perhaps a herbal remedy shoppe: Rose & Lily's Herbal Apothecary). Those are the girls. Then, we've got the boys. Middleweight champion of the world, Bubba aka, 'The Boppa', our little bull, the Staffordshire Terrier. My sausage boy. And last but certainly not least, there is the King himself, Fujisan or Bixo, our huge ginger the cat. All of us together in our tiny one bedroom flat. You could almost call it a maisonette. Thank god we have a garden.
It was arranged last minute and luckily I was home this week to be here with them. Lily had to be picked up from the Vet Hospital a few days in, she has Addison’s Disease. But if you ask me, she needs a job. Seriously. A very large breed gun dog like her needs to be kept busy. Her nose is so big and sharp and she pokes it into everything. She is also very tall. Did I mention that we are smaller people, and short too? Well, we are. ‘There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many doggies she didn’t know what to do…’ and we like to keep to a Scandinavian household whenever possible. What I mean by that is that being on the bijou side of living arrangements, keeping things tidy, simple, clean, functional and maybe even with a little bit of style too is how we roll. These doggies however come from a big country garden home lifestyle, albeit, in the middle of town. They have different ideas in mind.
To be honest, I have been dreading today. The weather is supposed to be rubbish and rainy and that means being cramped inside, the five of us, as I work from home. Yes, for sure we are going to head out on a long walk. The thing is with these two is that they are ‘runners’. No surprise. Retriever, Pointer, what else? So I have been spending one-on-one time with each of them. Going on three walks a day. The weather has been just wonderful so I’ve loved it, and I think so have they. Both are much more calmer and appreciative of our quality time well spent together. They have settled into a routine of doing yoga out in the garden with me every morning. Yoga means stretching, or sniffing or digging or watching me, or better yet, getting an early start on their midmorning nap. An afternoon excursion just two of us where we walk and talk and bond over the beauty of the scents, the changing temperature of the breeze on our noses, feel the soft wet grass between our toes.
Also, we’ve been using treats as rewards. And they are responding beautifully to it. Six days in and these galloping beauties, especially the horse/dog, is wonderfully obedient and a delight to be around. The noticeable difference of serenity in her eyes is such a pleasure to observe. She isn’t constantly ‘searching’ for something to do. We keep her engaged throughout the day, involved in what I am doing. She helps out in her own pointer-sort-of-way and boy oh boy is she a calmer canine, a more settled dog for it. Also, I’ve noticed that she is very thirsty. Probably as thirsty as Bubba. It could be the medication she is on for her Addison’s, but truth is, most owners simply forget to keep an eye on the dog's water bowl and let it go dry. Don’t ever let your dog’s water bowl go dry.
Have you given your dog PLENTY of fresh water, today? If not, please go do it now. - Tweet
So here we are the four of us chilling in the tiny living room. Everyone has their own sofa. Im at the desk. The day I have been dreading has arrived and it is beginning far better than I could have imagined. There is a tea tree, lavender, patchouli aromatherapy blend on the go to keep the air fresh, microbial free, soothing and calming. It works on me and it works on them. (Please be cautious when using essential oils with pets, some can cause adverse reactions). I’ve put the fairy lights on, multicolored in the hallway, soft white over the office space for a gentle warm indoor glow. As I type I am listening to Native American Indian flute music and the wheezing, snortling and gentle doggie dream yelping of a relaxed and dynamically stable and emotionally secure pack. Everyone knows their place, and that’s how they like it.
There is only one rule in this home and it is simple to follow: It is a small house, so we all need to learn to get along and respect one another’s space.