On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘House Sitting’

Meeting Dobby | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 31, 2021:

This column is dedicated to Judge Wayne Wolfe who passed away early last Thursday morning. I didn’t know him very well, but I knew him well enough to know that he was a man who loved the Lord, his church, his family, and Rains County. The only animals I saw on his Facebook page were cattle, so a story about a dog might not be his favorite, but maybe he would relate to Dobby, a character from the Harry Potter stories who was willing to give his life in the service of those he loved. It’s true that I didn’t know a lot about Judge Wolfe, but this Facebook post from someone who knew him well says all that needs to be said: Uncle Wayne made doing the right thing seem easy even it wasn’t.

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Kent and Stella are visiting his family this week, so if you’re a regular reader, you know what that means. David and I are staying with Spike, the Great Pyrenees who chose Kent and Stella several years ago to be his family. Shortly after his arrival, we became Spike’s official dog sitters when his family travels, and now we’re more like a step family to him.

We’ve been through a lot as he grew from a willful, energetic puppy who required a strong leash and quick hands to control his wandering ways. But like most of us, Spike has become a bit heavier, a bit more settled, and a lot more fond of the air conditioning than of running in the fields. When Stella contacted me earlier this year to ask us to save this week, we expected to spend a restful week – except for the part where he stands at the window and barks at the coyotes at 3:00 am. But things have become a little more complicated since then.

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Pets and Their Rituals | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 4, 2019:

Kitty 061515Kitty came to live with us four years ago this month. If you’ve followed my column for any length of time, you know that her assimilation into our family has not always been smooth. However, through the months and years, we’ve worked out routines that work for all of us. Some of them have even become rituals.

Kitty makes no secret of the fact that David is her favorite, but since I’m the first one up after a long, lonely night, she’s usually glad to see me. When I come into the kitchen, she stands by her feeding station and looks at me pitifully. While I scoop kibble into her bowl, she runs around the island counter clockwise, stops in front of her bowl, and looks up again. This time she has a more demanding look, asking without words why I’m not petting her. (more…)

A Spike Update | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 25, 2018:

City Girl Banner at BoothBesides sharing a booth with Tennille Case, another fun part of the Fair was visiting with those of you who stopped to tell me how much you enjoy reading my column each week. One gentleman specifically mentioned my Spike stories, so I thought it was time for an update. Conveniently, we’re staying with him this week, so I have news to share. Spike hasn’t been well the last several weeks, but he’s improving. In fact, he was feeling well enough to give me a hard time the first night we were here. (more…)

Spike is a good boy | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:

Cows by the gate

The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.

This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.

The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great

Spike is a good boy

Spike surveying his kingdom

Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. (more…)

An adventurous first day with Spike | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 11, 2017:

SpikeDavid and I are Spike-sitting again. For those readers who have not been introduced to Spike, he’s a Great Pyrenees mix who likes for us to come over and play when he’s home alone. His people went in different directions this time. She’s on a travel-business river cruise in Europe, and he headed north on road trip, so we’ll be with our furry friend for ten days.

There have been some major changes since our last visit. Kent called on Thursday on his way out of town to let me know that Spike has become a house dog. Although he loves to run around in the woods and the hay fields, he doesn’t tolerate the heat well, so when the triple digit temperatures arrived, he was allowed to come inside during the heat of the day. He behaved so nicely that he has now been invited to spend most of his days – and nights – inside. Not only that, but he has also begun to walk on a leash. (more…)

Spike’s Big Adventure | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 4, 2017:

SpikeDavid and I spent last week with our canine friend who lives in Alba while his humans were on a cruise. He would have preferred a pair who would have stayed on the patio in case he was hungry or wanted to be petted and otherwise allowed him to run free. Unfortunately, he got us instead, so he had to resort to trickery. (more…)

Our last week with Spike | by Linda Brendle

drama-alertOur three week stint of house and pet sitting has come to an end. Spike’s people are back on this side of the equator, and David, Kitty, and I are back home. Our final week was mostly calm, but there was just enough drama to provide material for another column.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulty we had in tethering Spike one afternoon because a huge truck was spreading “natural fertilizer” on a hay field near the house. Because of Spike’s interest in rolling and nibbling, he wouldn’t come, even when tempted with a slice of bologna and a doggy treat. Only after running after the car for a mile down the road and back was he compliant enough to allow me to hook him up to his daytime spot by the covered patio. (more…)

Diary of a Squatter | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2016:

House SittingDavid and I are house, dog, and cow sitting again, this time for three weeks while our friends go Down Under to visit Auckland, New Zealand and Perth, Australia. Here is a brief account of our first four days.

Thursday Morning: Spike’s people left for Dallas in the wee hours of the morning, so David and I left home extra early so we could let Spike out for a brief run before tethering him by the patio. My fears of having to chase him across the field, frantically waving his leash in one hand and a doggy treat in the other, were unfounded. After about twenty minutes, he showed up at the back door and submitted docilely to his daytime limits. I left him with assurances that he was a good dog and that we would be back as quickly as possible. (more…)

Adventures with Spike | by Linda Brendle

SpikeEarlier this summer, I wrote about our adventures while house sitting for the Larsons. They have a beautiful home, a few cows, and a Great Pyrenees fur baby named Spike who doesn’t like to be left home alone. When the Larsons recently hit the road, we took up temporary residence again. As any parent knows, children are on their best behavior the first time they meet new people, but once they are comfortable, they tend to show off a bit. Dogs are apparently no exception, and Spike provided lots of writing material this time.

He was really easy to care for. He has a 65-acre yard, so there was no walking involved, and as long as there was a bowl of food and a bucket of fresh water on the patio, he was a happy dog. There were a few restrictions, though. When we left, we tethered him on a twenty-foot lead that allowed him access to both the covered patio and plenty of grass in case of potty emergencies. This arrangement also ensured that he wouldn’t follow us down the driveway and out the gate. The problem came when he didn’t want to be tethered. (more…)

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