When THREE isn't a crowd at all!
I had the pleasure of looking after the gorgeous Oscar and Lily, (both King Charles Cavaliers) and Archie (a Shih Tzu X Maltese) this weekend while their Mum and Dad were away.
I have my exams coming up next week, so I spent a lot of my time curled up on the couch with a computer on my lap. Archie, Oscar and Lily seemed quite happy with this arrangement, and would spread out to sleep on the couches, rugs and dog beds. Archie often reminded me when it was time to take a break by worming his way onto my lap, looking for attention. Of course, Oscar and Lily would get jealous and come over as well - I was constantly wishing I had three hands. It was quite a full couch!
All three elected to sleep on my bed at night. Oscar could jump up by himself, but Lily and Archie needed a hand. Lily often came to bed a little later than Oscar and Archie, who jumped up as soon as I said the words ‘bed-time’. On the first night she slept on the floor next to my bed. By the second night she was feeling left out, and grumbled until I lifted her up. As you can imagine, with three dogs on the bed, I was pushed for room!
I was told Lily likes to think she is the perfect child, and I could see it in her angelic eyes! However, I think she was the cheekiest when it came to dinner time – always trying her luck with Oscar’s or Archie’s food before even touching her own. At 11 years old, Lily, like many King Charles Cavaliers has developed a low-grade heart murmur, fortunately not requiring medication. Due to historical inbreeding, many King Charles Cavaliers will develop heart disease, of which the first sign is heart-murmurs. Regular veterinary check-ups are recommended for dogs with heart-murmurs, as some will require medication.
Archie is 10 years old and was born with detached retinas, resulting in his eyesight rapidly deteriorating. He is a little uncertain of new people and strange sounds due to his blindness and requires daily eye drops to keep his eyes comfortable. Perhaps in conjunction with his blindness, Archie has some behavioural issues and separation anxiety. It is important to work slowly with blind or otherwise nervous animals. If they cannot properly identify you as friend, it can be very stressful for them and may cause them to lash out. Being anxious does not make a dog ‘bad’, it just means that new people and situations are scary, and these transitions should be introduced as slowly as possible.
Archie was a bit unsure at first. I let him smell my hand to get used to my scent before patting him. After a couple treats and a few minutes of fetch, I think we had become fast friends. Despite his anxiety, Archie was the most loving dog, always up on the couch next to me, as soon as I had sat down, and often standing up on his back legs until I picked him up for cuddles. Kate, who looked after Oscar, Lily and Archie previously, mentioned that Archie was amazing at fetch. She was absolutely right! I had a ball playing with him… (pun intended). After a race down the hallway to the sound of the ball bouncing, I could hear Archie begin to smell out the ball from all the way down the hall. It was amazing to watch.
Oscar is going on 5 this year, and a bundle of excitement and fun. He was always under my feet, keen to follow me wherever I was going. Oscar was a little unwell during my stay. Within an hour of my arriving, he had vomited on the carpet, (it’s always on the carpet, isn’t it?), and wasn’t too keen on dinner that night. Despite feeling a little under the weather, Oscar was in bright spirits. He wagged his tail with his whole body every time I stood up and was very keen to surprise me with kisses. I brought some food which would be gentle on his tummy from the veterinary clinic where I work, and on the second day, Oscar had wolfed down his dinner.
It was very rewarding looking after Archie, Lily and Oscar this weekend. Not only did I get to make sure everyone was healthy, I got to cuddle and entertain three gorgeous dogs. This was my first house-sit with SitStay and I am already looking forward to my next one!
Written by: VNS Natasha