Housesitting in Ireland

We are now spending a week house and pet sitting on a farm near Gort, a small town near Galway. The family are off to Gran Canaria for a summer holiday so we’re keeping their animals in good health and giving them company. We found this assignment through www.trustedhousesitters.com too.

The house is lovely and big with lots of light, the land is green and there’s even an old castle! Because we’re out of town we’ve been given the use of a small van for the week. We truly are ‘trusted!’

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John keeps horses on his land, about a dozen, but we don’t have to do anything other than look at them as they come in from the fields and let a neighbour know if there are any problems.

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Our responsibilities lie mostly with the four dogs, two white rats, the ferret and the cat.

It’s not as much work as it sounds – the cat comes and goes as she pleases and only gets fed once a day, the ferret mostly stays in his cage and only gets fed once a day and is taken out to play for about five minutes, the rats most definitely stay in their cage and only get fed once a day, preferably while they’re still sleeping so I don’t have to look at their gross tails.

The dogs take up most of the work and even then it’s not too bad. There are three little dogs who get fed once a day. There is a teeny weeny Shih Tzu cross named Zidane, an old, deaf Jack Russell called Jack, an antagonistic terrier called Chebal and an enormous eight month old Great Dane puppy, Elvis, who gets fed three times a day.

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Elvis is a very nervous and scared puppy, which is quite amusing for such a big animal. Although he’s young he’s almost as big as me. At first I was a bit nervous of him, he’s just so big. He was a bit overexcited and playful the day we arrived too and thought that barking and jumping on me would be a good idea. When the terrier jumps on me, his paws hit my thighs and I bend down to pat him. But when Elvis jumps on me his paws hit my shoulders and he towers over me. A bit terrifying at first, especially when he’s barking as well. When I discovered that we were the only people to apply for this gig I thought that maybe we were over our heads and other people know what they’d be getting themselves into.

But we’re used to each other now. There was no dog pee to clean up this morning which was progress (we accidentally slept in to 8.30am yesterday and woke to quite a large mess). The dogs are excited to see us now and Elvis will follow one or the other of us around like a shadow. Probably because we feed him. And because he’s scared of everything else. I very calmly pushed him off my shoulders this morning after breakfast (good for me!). Though he did nearly bowl me over this afternoon when he jumped on my back.

If I was ever to get a dog of my own, I’d want a Great Dane.

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It’s not quite the summer break that we had in Belgium. It has rained everyday since I flew in. The soft gentle rain falling on the fields keeps the country green and, probably, the farmers happy, but it makes me want to curl up inside. So we haven’t been as good about the exercising as we were in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. We manage a 16 minute tabata most evenings and few strolls around the land with the dogs but that’s about it.

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Pot of gold and a leprechaun at the end of this rainbow?

Dare I say that Ireland is wetter than Scotland? No, that would be silly.

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