Auntie John and Auntie Carolyn’s four years
JOHN AND CAROLYN CLARK
Animal Aunts on three occasions totalling four years
My husband and I have had wonderful experiences both travelling and living overseas, but our best time ever was our time spent house and petsitting as Animal Aunts.
If we didn’t have family in Australia who like to see their mum and dad regularly, we would spend all our time wandering around England, not knowing what the next week would surprise us with. From the smallest two up two down to the grand country mansion and from one dog (or cat) to the largest brood, every day was a magical experience.
I could write a book (and I might even do so one day) on our many and varied experiences, but here are a few which come to mind.
The ‘loveables’ in our care were as varied as possibly could be and never ceased to delight or surprise us. Some were easy to love, some challenging, but each in their own way created days that were never dull or boring.
The most ‘loveables’ we had at any one time were two Shetland ponies, two dogs, one cat, one rabbit and a tortoise (which had free run of the house).
Another sit consisted of four dogs, one cat and 22 guinea fowl that hatched whilst we were in residence and necessitated us raiding the property to build a hutch to safeguard them from foxes (we didn’t lose one!). Also, two of the dogs came into season at the same time, so we had to raid the linen cupboard for old sheets to protect the carpet. Can another Aunt better these numbers ?
I took one sit on the condition the two dogs slept on the bed with me and as they were a snuffling, snoring breed, no guessing what the night was like.
On one country property of 80 acres there were hundreds of agisted sheep in various paddocks and even though they were not our responsibility, we naturally kept an eye on them as we passed them morning and afternoon on our walks with the dog. I was on my own on one occasion at this property and found myself having to rescue sheep
day after day. They either had their heads stuck in the wire fence or had fallen in the snow during the day and couldn’t get up. One memorable morning the poor sheep was so stiff I spent an hour trying to get it up, only to find when I managed to get it to stand on it’s front legs and move to the back to get those up, the front legs would collapse again. After much swearing from me it finally staggered off and I was thankful no-one had been watching or listening.
KEYS AND ALARMS
We developed a great respect and were fearful of these two items as they could provide problems when least expected. On one occasion John popped outside to get something from the car, when a sudden gust of wind shut the only door to the house (with three large dogs and the keys inside). As it was raining and the relative with the spare key was not at home, John finally had to give in and get a locksmith to gain him access.
I was in a very small terrace house in London, the only access to the outside being via a front door, with a very large dog. The very first day, the client having already left leaving the house keys on a dresser near the front door. The client’s husband, running late, rushed in to collect the luggage and race to Eurostar. You have probably already guessed but shortly after, when it was time to walk the dog, no keys !! On ‘phoning the husband, already on his way to Paris, he couldn’t believe he’d been stupid enough to take my keys. The only solution was to wait until the next day when the agent could bring round a spare set. Don’t ask how I managed to toilet the dog !!
During a stay at one property an electrical storm and blackout knocked out the alarm system leaving it to bleep loudly every minute. On contacting the alarm company we were informed that the clients had given us a one off code, which they definitely hadn’t. So we were left with two options, pay £500.00 or put up with the noise. As we were unable to get the normal code from the client, we put up with the noise for ten more days.
Our first car which we bought for £150.00 took us to our sits the length and breadth of the UK for 16 months. The second was an expensive £500.00 and also covered thousands of miles of happy motoring.
Having written this, it has made us eager to once again return to Animal Aunts. Don’t be surprised if we do.