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I’ve just completed a stint of house-sitting duties. More accurately, I’ve completed stint of dog sitting duties. I had three long, glorious weeks of leisurely days in a lovely house looking after two gorgeous dogs in delightful Brisbane winter weather. It’s not a bad gig.

The dogs we were looking after belong to my daughter, who was on an international trip with hubs and bubs doing a big family reunion (on his side). Someone needed to look after them, and given the usual suspects were all travelling with her, we scored the vacant position.

At the end of the assignment, which was punctuated with many, many doggie walks and absorbing the perfect winter sun, here’s what I discovered, or perhaps have been reminded of.

Dogs are marvellous company

After my two old girls Mookie and Misty went to doggy Rainbow Bridge a couple of years ago, we haven’t (yet) got another. Our frequent travelling has made me delay bringing home another doggy family member, but I am reminded how much I love having a dog around and how much I miss their super-excited greetings when you come back home, even if it is after only 10 minutes. Nothing is more joyful than a dog when you return home.

Apart from a dog waiting for you to put the dinner bowl down. Or a dog going on a walk. Or a swim. Or getting a tummy scratch. Or lying in the sun. Basically, they’re usually pretty joyful creatures, which makes them entirely good company.

Picking the right breed of dog for your lifestyle is essential

I’m completely besotted with these two boys, but man – do they need a lot of exercise! For the few weeks I was up for it, but my vigilance would lapse if they were my own. If you don’t take them running or swimming regularly, at least once a day, usually twice a day, they get edgy and restless and start bouncing about and creating havoc in the house (a bit like kids in the witching hour when they start getting all hyped up). The boys are a Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd, both working dogs, so no surprise there. Luckily their mum and dad are busy busy busy and always exercising, so it works for them.

I’m constantly amazed though when people buy a dog breed that really doesn’t complement the way they live. If you’re lazy, do not get a working dog (like these, or a heeler or a kelpie). If you’re allergic to dog hair, don’t get a Golden Retriever. I personally think they’re worth the clean up, but crikey they give off a lot of hair. If you don’t like constant yapping, don’t get a Maltese. Research the breed and match it to your lifestyle. It’s not fair to the dog otherwise.

There were two dogs next door – a kelpie and a mixed breed – and the poor things never get taken out for a walk or exercise. So they spend a lot of time barking and even moaning when they’re alone. Irritating when it’s early in the morning, but terribly sad for the poor dogs who are obviously bored and sad and lonely. Wouldn’t they love a run.

Indoor mood lighting is wonderful

I forget to put on lamps and fairy lights when I’m at home, but I’m emulating my daughter while I’m here and putting on her soft pretty lights in the evening. It transforms the place and makes you feel like you’re somewhere special, or on holidays. Note to self: do this more when you get home.

Brisbane is the perfect place to be in winter

I adore my home town of Canberra and the winters there can be exceptionally pretty (see pretty pic below) but bloody cold sometimes to go with it. A mid-winter escape is the way to go. Shorts and sandals in winter – winning!

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House sitting allow you to explore a new city at leisure

House or dog sitting provides an excellent for holidaying. It allows you to discover a different location at leisure without feeling you have to squeeze too much in because you’re paying expensive holiday accommodation and/or you’re only there for a short time.We explored and discovered lots of new things (like free walking tours!) but didn’t rush around like maniacs.

And of course, no surprise, Brisbane is full of marvellous places to go and delicious places to eat and drink.

I’ve been discovering some gems. More of those coming in another post.

It’s easy to be holier than thou when you cheat

When you flat out absolutely refuse to get Netflix yourself (I don’t care if it’s only $9 a week, or month or whatever, still not getting it) but you stay somewhere that has it already, there is an enormous opportunity to binge watch multiple series in a relatively short space of time. We got through four series with a few other bits and pieces, with a list that should last us another year or two.

And even though we don’t have Netflix, further suggestions are also welcome for future visiting spates. Here’s a few that we watched and enjoyed:

  • Collateral
  • The Bodyguard
  • Line of Duty

Overall I discovered the concept and reality of a spot of house sitting is rather good. I also discovered the concept and reality of a spot of house sitting in the middle of winter when it may have snowed just a tad where you live in Canberra is an even better idea.

I might have to dabble in this practice more often.

And now I am missing the boys and had to kidnap another dog for a while to alleviate the withdrawal.

What about you? Have you done any house or dog sitting?