Often our clients and friends ask about our travels and our house and pet sitting experiences and we thought that a blog would be a good way to share our stories both past and present.

We have met and made friends with some lovely humans, canines and felines over the past 5 years and we hope that you enjoy reading about our pet sitting and house sitting experiences as much as we enjoy regaling our "tails"!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Mysteries to be unravelled whilst House Sitting

We enjoy sitting for regular clients as we pick up where we left off, into a routine straight away and the animals know us.  It is also great for us to take on new sits where we have a chance to explore a new area and its hidden treasures.

We have recently looked after a couple of sweet dogs on the outskirts of Bristol, and whilst on our walk we noticed a number of references to whales.  We thought this odd as we were on the banks of the Severn surrounded by fields of cows and sheep and didn't really see whales featuring much in this area.

We passed a road called Whale Warf, we saw a small sculpture with a breaching whale on it, and also a iron sculpture in the village of Littleton on Severn of a breaching whale.  Our curiosity was peaked so we did a little digging on the web.  

Surprise, surprise we came across an article from 1885 telling of the occasion when a whale beached itself at Littleton and caused a huge amount of excitement.  Apparently people came from far and wide to see the spectacle.  We were interested to read that the whale was hauled with chains not back out to sea, as would be the case today, but pulled up onto the shore to be harvested.  

A local vicar even stood in its mouth to see if the Jonah and the Whale story could be true.

As we are travelling around so frequently, we see places, even our home town, with fresh eyes, taking in the architecture and local history on each visit.  We do see so much more whilst walking rather than driving past places, and are lucky to have the time to soak in the atmosphere of a place on a daily basis.

We love our job.

A link to the full newspaper article can be seen below

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Summer Suggestions for your pets

Fetch Some Rays
Time to get outside! And not just you. Grassy backyards and sun-drenched porches are calling your furry friend’s name. Whether you’re already home or on the move, here are a few ways to pamper your pet this summer.
Catios (Yes, That’s a Thing)
Some have carpet and cushions. Some have ramps and perches. But “catios” have one thing in common: they make life safer – and a lot more fun – for outdoor-loving felines.
Pet-Friendly Gardens
No one wants to bark up the wrong tree – especially if it’s toxic. Our gardening expert has everything you need to protect Fido and Fluffy from poisonous plants.
Stress-Free Moves
Moving can be hard on your four-legged friend. We’ve compiled a list of essentials to make the process as pain-free as possible.
See more tips for living with pets

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ducks at the Vineyard

We have been busy over the past few months, sitting in Spain, France, the Cotswolds and Worcestershire.

The summer in the UK has held on until the beginning of December, and now the frosts have won out, plunging the temperatures back to seasonal averages.

Tracy and I find ourselves back at a regular sit in the East Sussex countryside.  A variety of animals from pigs, sheep, ponies and chickens, as well as our lovely dogs and cat.

As this is a regular sit, we slip back into an easy routine pretty quickly.   We have had a drama with the two ducks in situ here.  They are mallard ducks, both girls.  We found one walking about in the yard a few days ago, this is unusual because they are usually in a penned area with a pond, which they never leave.

We managed to catch it, which was worrying in itself, but she seemed ok, uninjured, so we put her back into her pen and hoped that she had just got scared and decided to fly out.

Unfortunately the next morning, when we opened the little house they live in at night, only one duck came out, the other one was dead.

We therefore had to find a replacement for the lonely duck, now quacking continuously for her mate.  After contacting the owners, they advised us of a few places to try.  We finally tracked down a duck for sale locally.

Went to pick up the duck, which was quite a journey after lots of wind and heavy rain the previous evening.  We were introduced to a very pretty Khaki Campbell duck, which we named Tinsel, as it is the festive season.  The owner showed us how to cut the flight feathers on the wings, as we have to do this to the original duck to stop her flying away.  Apparently Khaki Campbells don't fly.

She was very good in the cat basket all the way back home, and she was very happy that she had a pond at her new home.  She didn't stop washing and splashing around for ages.  The two seem to be fine together.  Tinsel is slightly bigger than the mallard duck.

Our next challenge was to get Tinsel to go into their little house when it got dark.  This did take a long time.  I thought she would follow the other one in but she was always looking in the wrong direction at the crucial moment.  Eventually, she allowed me to pick her up, as she is used to being handled, and I put her into the house via the back door.  hopefully she will be more familiar with it tonight.  

I am glad to report that Tinsel is a quick learner.  She went into her house straight away.  Phew.

The next day I picked up the original duck, which we have now named Titch, she was calm  whilst I cut her flight feathers on one of her wings.  I had a towel, scissors and a stool ready for the deed.  It was easier than I anticipated.

So now we have two happy ducks that can't fly away, and I know more about ducks than I did a  few days ago.  We now wait in anticipation for the first egg.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Tinsel & Titch

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Cinnamon Trust

There are always a number of questions we ask new clients upon meeting, relating to the pet's habits, likes and dislikes, and general routine.

Whilst chatting on that first meeting we get a sense  of the owner's expectations and also the day to day routine of normal, everyday life.

There is also that necessary,  but delicate, question of what to do in the event of the pet or the owner becoming ill or indeed dying whilst we are on a sit.   Most owners have thought about this scenario regarding their pet and have spoken to their vets to make their wishes clear.

If, however the owner dyes or becomes incapable of looking after their pet through illness, for example, the owner may wish to make their wishes known to us.

We have recently been advised by a regular client that they have signed up to the Cinnamon Trust, which is a free organisation, relying on donations, which will look after your pet if you die, become ill or your situation changes.  They provide volunteers to come in a help out with your pet or foster the pet out.

We have found that this gives the pet owner peace of mind whilst they are away, as they can rest assured their beloved pet will be looked after.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Keeping cats safe in your garden

We had the sad news recently that one of our clients' cats had got run over on a busy road adjacent to their garden.  They had tried all sorts if things to keep her from going over the fence but, short of not letting her out, they had to let her live her life and take her chances.

We have read an article in Your Cat magazine recently that gives a few suggestions to make your garden more secure.  

Plant a country- style hedge
Even city dwellers can bring a breath of country air to their gardens by planting a selection of classic hedgerow plants like Hawthorn, holly, beach and dog rose. Once they have thickened up they will provide a safe haven for wildlife and a dense barrier.

Add mesh to your fence top
A sloping wire or plastic mesh barrier fixed to brackets on the fence posts will go a long way to secure your garden as cats don't like stepping out on a surface that wobbles. There are other systems on the market that could do the same job and companies to install them if you're not happy doing D I Y.

Plant a thorny hedge
Fire thorn or pyracantha is like living barbed wire and quite capable of deterring intruders, whether they be the local tomcat or a cat burglar. Plant a mixture of Berry colours for a feast of fruit that birds will also be able to nest safely in.  

Erect a cat run
For total security an enclosed cat ran is the only solution. It can be accessed from inside the house via a dedicated cat flap. Make sure there are plenty of shelves inside for perching and elements to provide shade too.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Keeping Pigs

A clean bed is much appreciated

We have a few clients with pigs of varying sizes, and, as with chickens, we are finding it is more popular to keep these animals.  They are, from our experience kept as pets, rather than for breeding and eating. They don't do well on their own, so two are the minimum we look after.

We have grown to love these animals, they are very curious and like to come up for a scratch.  We have only been involved in the day to day feeding and general care, for example keeping them topped up with water and making sure the mud hole is wet and available for mud baths in the hot weather, when a wallow is most welcoming.

There is a great deal of information on how to look after them on the web and in books.  There is a fair amount of legislation involved to prevent disease etc.  We have included a couple of websites at the bottom for further reading.

They are allowed to eat fruit and veggies, but not kitchen waste.

There are different breeds of pig which are suited to different environments. for example, Tamworths like to live in woodland.

Tracy gives a welcome scratch

Pigs enjoy company.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dog Coats!

This post from Dog Links had our attention.  With the weather changing like.... well the weather, we thought this may be of interest to lots of you.

Hopefully Spring is around the corner.

New post on dog::links

Dog coats!

by dog::links
Yes I know, spring is around the corner BUT, if like me you have struggled to find a coat for you old, thin skinned, sick or just plain cold natured dog....... look no further :)
Each time I find something that WORKS for my lot of ruffians, whether it be food, dog beds, medicines, warnings etc., I like to pass it on because I know from the feedback I get from my regular viewers, that it's useful, can save time and money and information shared it always knowledge that can help your pet and you.
I have rescue dogs here of all ages and sizes - ones that find winter weather, walks and cold nights (despite the warm fireside), a trial, the oldies that struggle to retain their body heat and of course the ones that are sick or recovering and the energy they use up trying to keep warm and the discomfort they feel can now easily be alleviated.  Blankets that do not stay put at night when they need them to etc etc
I discovered Equafleece dog coats and am a total convert.  They are made in the UK and if you look carefully at the measurements, they fit any size or shape of dog!  However if you are uncertain about getting the right coat for the right dog, the people at Equafleece are really helpful if you call them!  I am useless at working out which size and have spent countless fruitless buys on coats that arrive and are either a bad fit and I have to mess about altering them or they are not warm enough etc.
Equafleece have a French website so postage is less expensive than coming from the UK and quicker too.  You can always ring the UK company to get them to help you choose the right model and then order it online from France - in my case they did all that for me and sent me a couple of the different styles into the bargain, for me to pass on to dogs in need which was so kind of them and proof of how confident they are in their beautiful coats!

They even have T shirts that help stop a dog licking/chewing at wounds/stitches after spaying or other surgical issues - help keep flies and midgies at bay especially if you spray lightly with some of the herbal fly repellents........ just go see the above link at the beginning of the posting for the catalogue of all products. 
I can more than confirm that these coats are light, very warm, fit beautifully with easy catches that are minimal and strong, are waterproof and wash perfectly.
At last someone has got the dog coat issue taped!  Thank you Equafleece :)
dog::links | March 11, 2014 at 10:08 am | Tags: dog fleece coats that work! | Categories:Uncategorised | URL: http://wp.me/p1gIMO-2ib