A surprisingly chilled week of dog sitting

A week ago my friend Kathy phoned me from holiday, in Perth visiting family, to ask a BIG favour. Due to sad circumstances her house and dog sitter had to return home and she was left without anyone to take care of her dog, Nina. There were two reasons for me feeling nervous at the proposition. Firstly, we have a cat. Secondly, Charli is a little scared of dogs. Well, I said, ‘Yes’. Charli was nervous, but I explained that friends have to help one another out, that’s part of friendship. I also know that Kathy would be the first to help me out if I needed a hand. So… last Sunday evening we picked up Nina.

We arrived at the house, found the keys and started to fumble through them to find out which one opened the front door. Nina surprised us all, having got out of the back yard, and came bounding up to us in great excitement. Charli ran like lightening back to the car! Nina was so good. No barking, yapping or jumping up, simply lots of toe licking and tail wagging. She eagerly hopped in the back of the car and was incredibly calm enroute to our home. Charli soon calmed down, realising Nina wasn’t at all threatening.

As soon as we got home the girls raced into the garden and Charli surprised us all. She spent the week throwing balls for Nina to catch (she’s got a bit of sheep dog in her and is so alert and a darned good catch!). Nina was amazing for us and played so happily in the garden. At night she slept contentedly in the lounge on her bed.

We took her down to Lyall Bay beach a few times and she is such a fast runner! She delighted in splashing in and out of the waves and catching the ball. She’s also very good at football, ‘kicking’ the ball with her front paws and nudging it with her nose. However, she managed to decimate five balls, leaving her favourite in one piece and taking it to her bed when she needed a nap.

Our cat, Blacky, was less than enamoured! On the first night I stepped outside to empty the rubbish. Nina, who had been sleeping, bounded to the kitchen door. Blacky was waiting to come in. Blacky’s back arched up and she started hissing defensively. Nina barked for the first time and, before I could contain the situation, chased Blacky up the nearest tree. I had to wake up Dan to help me get Nina back indoors as she was guarding the bottom of the tree. Blacky was letting off a mournful, haunting mewing sound.

We didn’t see Blacky for a day. After that, we managed to keep Blacky and Nina in different areas of the house. Though Blacky spent most of the time under our bed, with her food, water and a litter tray all close at hand! Blacky usually spends her time trailing my ankles, constantly ‘squeaking’ and chatting to me. She frequently trips me up and barely leaves me alone. When I’m typing on the keyboard she’s on my lap, trying to rub her nose against my fingers. When I’m playing the piano she sits on the stool beside me, occasionally trying to step up onto the keys to rub against my fingers (driving me crazy!). At night she tried to sleep on my pillow, as close as possible to my head (which I really couldn’t stomach!). She normally sleeps in the lounge – but there was no way that was going to happen this week!

Anyway, Blacky survived. Nina was happy. The girls didn’t want to go out all week as they were having far too much fun dog sitting (and I went a little stir crazy!). But it has been wonderful to see them so happy in each other’s company these holidays (and daring each other to scale new heights at tree climbing in the garden!). Spot Sophie up our Pohutukawa tree in the photograph below!

Having Nina around has been a wonderfully, happy distraction and brought hours of entertainment. I’ve been left with so much time to cook, clean and dabble in more pleasant pastimes, such as spending hours playing the piano. Nina’s been good for our health too: a couple of evenings Dan and Charli walked Nina down to Houghton Bay, which isn’t something they’d normally do. It was a really good switch off for Dan after work and lovely for Charli to spend some one-on-one with her Daddy. We must make that a more regular event, whilst the summer evenings are still very much with us.

So, are we going to get a dog? Nope. Though, one day, it would be nice. We are missing Nina already and will really look forward to visiting her and having her round to play. But, whilst Blacky is in our lives a dog just isn’t possible.

So, our little adventure in dog sitting has come to a close. Kathy came round to pick Nina up this evening, bringing gifts of wine and beer for us and books for the girls. The girls were so surprised, as they really weren’t expecting anything. Of course, we didn’t expect anything either, but nonetheless we are very grateful!