Tinkerbell The St Bernard

Tinkerbell (Tinks) is the first Saint Bernard that we have cared for and we are loving learning about this beautiful gentle giant of a breed.   This Sit was to be for two Saint Bernards, 6 year old Tinks and her Mum, adorable Nana.  Very sadly Nana passed a few weeks before our Sit began.  So not only had Tinks recently lost her Mum, she normally has he family around her at all times and this is the first time she has been left with strangers.  Luckily her pal beautiful black lab, Bella, was here with her.

We love it when we get to care for a new dog breed to us and this is the first time we’ve cared for a Saint Bernard.  We’re loving learning about the care and attention Tinkerbell needs. She definitely is high maintenance but of course it’s rewarding to care for her and keep her looking nice. She needs daily grooming and she absolutely LOVES it when she sees us pick up her brush she rushes outside ready for her brushing, where the lawn is quickly covered in her blonde hair.  Actually it’s quite addictive, we’ll often be gently pulling out little clumps of knots.

We call her Slobber chops (affectionately).  Tinks drinks a lot of water and a towel always has to be handy to wipe her slobbering hanging jowls as water and saliva often gets trapped in her many skin folds. 

Because of her beautiful sagging jowls she drools especially when she takes a drink, there is a lot of slobbering we have a towel ready to wipe all around her mouth, and bless her she turns her face to us for her clean up.

 If we haven’t dried her off, she will shake her head to shake off the slobber and it goes all over the walls and ceiling! 

She needs her eyes wiped daily, Tinks has particularly droopy eyes that get a lot of gunge and need cleaning often, just with a moist cloth, she’s not everso keen on it but she’s a good girl and tolerates it, in fact we think she is grateful when we do it as her eyes must feel much better. 

Its been a great experience for us as we feel we now know so much more about her breed.   Her head is big and beautiful and her huge soft furry feet are gorgeous and she loves her belly rubbed. She has so much love and affection and I wish I could show you how she kisses Bella in the morning, will try to video, it’s adorable.

We had already been told Tinks is a nervous doggie and when her Owners left us early evening she spent the rest of the evening upstairs on the landing and we could tell she was missing her owners when we went to comfort her.  We were surprised and pleased she followed her normal routine the next morning and 7.00 am on the dot she came up to our bedroom and placed her big head on our bedside for some stroking and to tell us it was her breakfast time.  After breakfast she had a few cuddles with us and then laid in the lounge for a little snooze.  Then it was walkies, which she loves.  Like a little excited kid, harnessed up we walked to the local park, lots of stroking as we walked.  (last week we had miniature daxies with tiny poo bags, this week we were taking carrier bags with us haha!).

The Owners kindly left their truck for us to take the dogs to some scenic walks a few miles away where they can be off lead.   We wanted to walk with them the first day straight from the house on the lead for some bonding time and to get them used to us.

On our return to the sunny garden, we groomed Tinks.  She is a typical St Bernard and needs regular brushing – and she LOVES it !  She happily stood and sat and it was amazing how much hair came out, the green lawn was almost covered!  But you could tell from Tinks the brushing felt sooo good.  Bella had cuddles instead of brushing so she didn’t feel left out for a moment.

Most of all Tinks loves human company, and we can tell already, on Day 2,  she knows we are here to care for her and love her and she’s giving us a lot of affection.  She loves to lay near us and know we are nearby.

The Saint Bernard or St. Bernard is a breed of very large working dog from the Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred for rescue work by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border and were known as ‘Valley dogs’ or ‘Farm dogs’.

There are actually two breeds of St. Bernards – some have long fur, and others have shorter coats.

These gentle giants love every member of the family – even cats!

With a towering height of 26–30 inches at the shoulders, and weighing in at anywhere from 120 to 180 pounds, St. Bernards are one of the largest dog breeds in the world. Famous for heroic mountain rescues, they are also one of the gentlest breeds, known for their endless patience with children, other dogs, and cats.

In fact Tinkerbell’s parents run a children day care class and Tinkerbell is a main attraction the children love her and she loves them.  She’s such a gentle giant. Saints do not have an aggressive bone in their body.  Saint Bernards’ do have a deep brutish-sounding bark so you could easily be intimidated by these gentle giants would much prefer a huge big cuddle with you than show you any aggression.

Saints are famously watchful and patient ‘nanny dogs for children – hence why Disney used a Saint Bernard for his Nana in the animated Peter Pan feature film.

We’ve had a fabulous time and experience caring for a Saint Bernard. Tink’s has been a dream to look after and we really appreciate the work involved in keeping this breed. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted but for us we’d jump at the chance to care for another.

Our 3 Months Housesitting in Australia

This truly is one Housesit we really had been waiting for!  Our House sit in Manly, Sydney, caring for adorable little Cavapoo, 17 month old “Charcoal” allowed us to live close to our family that we hadn’t seen for over 3 years.

For all of 2021 we had been desperately waiting to travel to Australia.  Then, at last, early in December 2021, our Special Travel Exemption Application for entry to Australia was accepted and we immediately booked our flights and confirmed the sit with Charcoal’s owners through Trustedhousesitters.  We had been desperate to visit our family, especially as we had a baby Grandson, Franklin, born in January 2021 we were craving to meet  He was now heading towards being a one year old.  Facetimes have been great but we were desperate to hold him.

Housesitting has allowed us both, who travel on a small budget,  to experience something we could have only dreamed about, staying in Australia for 3 months, accommodation free, allowing us to really bond with our new Grandson and spend quality time with him.

High season summer rental rates to stay in Manly for this long would be impossible on our budget without housesitting – but along with this free accommodation and living like locals in one of the most sort after areas of Sydney, for almost 2 months we have had the furry love of little Charcoal, he’s definitely been a massive bonus for us. We knew from his owners how sociable and easy Charcoal was so that we could take him everywhere with us, he was great with meeting everyone and all our family loved him.

Once in Australia we also secured another Housesit caring for the owners home and their swimming pool, also close to our family. 

We arrived in Sydney on the 19th December and had almost 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year staying with our family near Manly, so we were able to arrange a pre-meet up afternoon with Charcoal and his owners.  We instantly fell in love with Charcoal, he’s cuter than even the photos on the owners profile.  We had a tour of the house and learned more about Charcoal’s routine and we all went for a walk to the nearby doggie park and found out even more about Charcoal and Manly on the walk.

On the day of our Sit we arrived an hour before the Owners had to leave for the airport, immediately Charcoal was happy and playful with us.  His owners Welcome Pack was amazing, ultra thorough, over 40 pages of completed info, perfect for us Housesitters!

Charcoal’s home is just a 5 minute walk to the Manly Ferry wharf and all the many beautiful coastal walkways.   We’ve explored all of Manly with Charcoal. One of our favourites is the Fairlight Walk and the trail to pretty Shelly Beach taking the path up the Clifftop to the Lookout Post with vast ocean views and if you are lucky you may get a sighting of a whale or dolphins. 

We feel so lucky to be living the dream!  Walking alongside the main Manly beach, famed for its surfing,  you have breath taking wide ocean views.    The waves are spectacular.  It has a large sandy beach always full of families having fun and watching the displays by the talented surfers of all ages.  We love walking this tree lined ocean promenade, with plenty of seating providing an ideal stop, for us to people watch and doggie watching for Charcoal.  This walk takes us to one of Charcoal’s favourite swim spots at Manly Lagoon.

Charcoal is a clever pup and quickly bonded with us, he knew we were going to care for him and play with him and give him lots of cuddles.  We couldn’t have asked for a better pet, he was so happy to go everywhere with us, such a sociable and obedient little pup. From day one when letting him off leash in the dog friendly parks and beach areas he new exactly who is temporary owners were and came back to us every time.  In fact he would run and chase any other dogs that approached us, it was really funny,  – get away from my Foster parents haha! 

We even took him to Sydney on the Manly Ferry and he was our pawfect tour guide as we visited all the star attractions. Dogs normally have to sit in a crate on the ferry, but Charcoal went in his large toy bag and was as good as gold, needless to say he got lots of loving attention from other pasengers.

He totally loves human company and was happy just being with us, at home watching our every move, snuggling up on the bed with us at night time, playing with his tug of war toys at home or chase games in the parks, swimming with us in the sea and going out with us, sitting quietly at the open air restaurants and cafes we stopped at.

We’ll never forget his cute little waddle, he can really shake his booty!  His cuddle time with his favourite soft Wombat toy, its been his favourite toy since a 6 week old pup his owners tell us.  He loves to suck and cuddle it (truly – he cuddles it with his paws).  Also, the fun time he has swimming in the sea, pretty sure he has a big grin on his face as he returns to shore to us.

Charcoal loved visiting our family, he adored little Grandson, Frankie, and playing with their dog Moose, they became best pals and we often took them out together to the doggie parks.  Charcoal adored Moose the Groodle.

Charcoal is such a sweetheart and Manly is a beautiful beachside location on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Charcoal is the most ‘pawfect’ little companion, so well trained and even does little tricks!

He’s a super clever pup and his Daddy showed us a few tricks that Charcoal had learned, including play dead and high fives.  All for a treat of course!

It was really sad for us to say bye bye to sweet little Charcoal, after 7 weeks with him, he really did feel like our own.  No doubt we will be talking about him for weeks to come and will definitely miss him.  
Thank you Richard, Gabbie and Charcoal for making our stay in Manly so memorable. We hope we will meet up with you all again on our next visit to the Sydney area.

3 months House Sitting in California Accommodation Free!

For years we’d talked about exploring California.  High on our list to visit were Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon and Death Valley  as well as San Francisco. We never really thought that dream could possibly come true.

It was thanks to being part of the Trustedhousesitters Community that we had this great opportunity for adventure and travel.  Our dream did come true!

31st October 2019, with House Sits all booked, we left the UK for Los Angeles ready our for 3 months of house/pet sitting almost rent free!!

But here’s the thing!   all the savings we made on our accommodation, house sitting as we travelled, stretched out our budget which allowed us to visit all the fabulous attractions of California.  The trip was amazing.   

All of our home/pet owners were super kind and all of them have become our friends and we keep in touch.   The pets we cared for were adorable, each and every one of them, they all have a place in our hearts.

Our first Sit was with Mookie in San Francisco.  What an adorable Goofy character he was, he completely stole our hearts!

House sitting with Julian, the very shy Poodle, in San Rafael allowed us to explore more of San Fran and the coast.

Our next house sit was  further North, in the ‘gold rush’ town of Placerville, caring for Suni the cat and 3 hens with big personalities.   Most mornings we had a visit from the Wild Black Turkey crew! 

An hours drive away was Lake Tahoe.   The most breathtaking scenery ever!

Christmas was in wacky and interesting Venice Beach with Smudge and  Cashmere.

January 2020 we cared for Kai in Santa Monica – Kai was our most challenging pet sit to date, our most rewarding  one too.

We got to visit, Yosemite Park, Sequoia Park, the Hoover Dam,  Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Palm Springs, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Carmel, whale watching in Monterey, driving iconic Route 66 and the beautiful Highway 1 Coast road.

Artists Palette Death Valley
Whale watching Monterey
Bixley Creek (Big Little Lies)
Hoover Dam
South Lake Tahoe
Glacier Point, Yosemite
Yosemite National Park
Grand Canyon

Our First Ever House Sit with gentle giant Txuri in Aldeburgh, January 2018

Meet 9 year old Pyrenean Mastif,  Txuri, she’s a super-sized softie and she was our first ever House/Pet Sit that we applied for after joining Trustedhousesittters.  We cared for her for 5 weeks in January 2018 in the charming coastal town of Aldeburgh, in Suffolk.   

The Owner, Diana, was planning a special 5 week ‘trip of a lifetime’ taking her family to Tanzania.

Just like us, Diana was a ‘newbie’ herself to the THS website, which kinda felt nice, both of us starting out together.   After sending in our Application to Sit for her and her quick reply back to us, we then chatted on the phone for ages, we all seemed to ‘jell’ immediately. 

We discovered that we both had a great love of Spain.  Diana having lived and worked there, still owning a property in Madrid and we had recently returned from living there ourselves, so we had lots to talk about.

So we planned a date to visit Diana and Txuri, we only lived an hour away in nearby Norfolk.  We were all super excitied and couldnt wait to meet up.

Our plan was always to house sit locally in the UK initially, to build up a good set of Reviews from owners and also we knew how beneficial it must be for house/pet owners to meet in person the people they may hand over their precious pets and house keys to.

As animal lovers that had experience of property management and working in the Public Services and hospitality Sector, we felt confident we would love the concept of House and Pet Sitting.

Diana invited us over for a lunch, this was November 2017,  to meet her and Txuri.   Txuri instantly stole our hearts.   Diana made us feel incredibly welcome and after chatting for only a short while and lots of cuddles with Txuri, Diana burst out with  “Can I just say now, I already love you two and want you to care for my precious hound and home,  is that ok?”         It was really quite emotional and have to say both myself and Jonathan’s eyes welled up a little.   We chatted more for hours, hearing all about Txuri and her journey from North Eastern Spain as a puppy.    We absolutely knew we would fall in love with gentle giant Txuri. 

Diana said she had noticed Txuri leaning on us both and said that was her sign of giving comfort and affection.

Diana is an amazing cook and served us a fabulous meal with homemade profiteroles to honestly die for.

Diana’s house is beautiful and just a few steps from the sea front and Aldeburgh town centre.   One of her passions is wildlife and her garden is a real haven for birds. Diana has an enormous bird book collection and told us which birds to look out for and their habits.  Of the 2 large Garden Summer rooms, one houses every kind of bird feed/nuts imagineable and the other, well that is Diana’s very own Gin Palace, haha!

So you are getting the picture of how lucky we were meeting this super interesting, generous and funny (oh yes, she had us laughing on the floor with her stories) lady, owning this most adorable beautiful doggo and she was happily going to entrust her precious Txuri and home to us.

We arrived the day before Diana’s departure and after a cuppa and chats and lots of cuddles with Txuri and a visit from one of Diana’s best pals and Cleaner and our contact in Diana’s absence, the lovely Ginny,  we had a quick explore of the town and Diana genned us up on all the local knowledge.   

Everyone we met knew and loved Diana! 

We then all had a walk out with Txuri and Diana showed us the best pathways along the river banks and fields and Txuris favourite routes.   How wonderful that we would have so many pretty riverside walks direct from the doorstep, as well as the beach just opposite.

Living in Diana’s lovely home was truly fabulous and we very quickly bonded with adorable Txuri. She became like our own.  She has such a kind calm temperament and loves human affection and as big as she is she is super happy cuddling up.    Oh and her grooming time, she loves that, her smile on her face told us it must be like such a pleasing massage for her, as well as removing excess fluff from her dense coat.  She slept at the side of our bed from the very first night with her.   In fact, Diana told us that for the first couple of nights on her return home, Txuri still slept in our bedroom and looked for us.

Exploring Aldeburgh and the surrounding area with Txuri was fun.   Txuri loved a  car journey and was a delight to take out.   Diana left us loads of info on where to visit,

We kinda new the area, but mostly only Aldeburgh main town and beach front.  

One of our favourite walks with Txuri, just over the road from the house, was along the sea front to the sandy dunes of Thorpeness, with the reward of a  Cafe stop when we arrived.  It was quite adorable watching Txuri enjoying the sea breeze on her face.

Just a short ride away was beautiful Snape,  a complex of river bank walks and pretty woodland walks.     Sizewell sandy beach and North Warren Nature Reserve were both just a short ride away. Great to have such a variety of doggy frendly places to visit.

During our 2nd week with Txuri, a cold February week, we had heavy snowfall.  

With all our warm gear and wellies on we made the most of being out in it with Txuri.  She loved it, she had so much fun running in the snow, feeling quite at home. It was a pretty awesome sight watching her in the snow.

Thanks to Trustedhousesitters,  we now have this incredibly special friendship with Diana and we will always be lifelong friends, keeping in touch regularly and planning meet ups whenever  we can.

We regularly sent Diana updates and whatsapp messages with  photos and videos of Txuri so that she knew all was great and Txuri was happy wih us.

Diana sent us amazing videos of her Safari trips.

On Diana’s return we cooked lunch for her and stayed the night, hearing all about her incredible holiday.

It was impossible for Jonathan and myself to hold back the tears as we said our bye byes, there were lots of hugs all round.  But it wasn’t long at all before we were back visiting, lunching, chatting, and lots and lots of Txuri cuddling.

Txuri will always have a special place in our hearts, our gentle loving sweet giant.

We never imaginged when we began our house sitting journey, excited at the prospect of travel and visiting new parts of the World, just how much we would bond with the pets we cared for and the enormous part the pets would play in our love of house sitting.  We adore them all and Txuri was the first of many.  48 Sits and 116 animals later we are loving this journey of pets, people and places and the amazing Community of Trustedhousesitters.

Kai – Our most challenging Pet Sit yet our most rewarding one!

This is our story of our house sitting experience caring for Kai – a strong 4 year old rescue German Shepherd/Pit Bull cross.  It has been our most challenging pet sit and at the same time, our most rewarding one.

We were able to meet Kai and his lady owner at their small flat in Santa Monica a few weeks before the Sit start date.   She had chosen us because we had experience with large dogs.   During communications, she had already informed us that Kai had huge anxiety issues and that he likes to be dominant and he can be very boisterous when playing.

On arrival at the flat we were greeted with boisterous excitement from Kai as he pounced towards us thrusting his Tug toy frantically wanting us to play tug with him. His Owner said he loved this type of play but can get a little aggressive.    As we chatted  we were constantly having to ‘defend’ ourselves from Kai by turning away from him and not acknowledging him, he wanted to play and of course he wondered why strangers were in his home.  We then joined in on Kai’s walk around the block.  We quickly noticed Kai pulled a lot on his lead.  His owner was constantly on the look out for other dogs and avoiding them as soon as she could, she told us Kai barks at dogs he doesn’t like.

Kai’s owner acknowledged Kai was very possessive of her and let us know about the strategies she has had to develop when she needs to leave the flat without him ie for work etc.  Kai does not like her leaving him and he began the behavior habit of placing himself between her and the door and even growling when she tried to pass him.  Her strategy for this was to entice him into the bedroom with a treat and then quickly leaving the house, Kai is a very clever dog and she said it almost always works and we may need to follow that same procedure.

To add to all of the anxieties Kai has, she told us about the awful experience Kai had when a previous pet sitter got his prong chain collar stuck on him tightly and had to call in Animal Control to snip it off of him.   Since then he has been understandably guarded about his collar. A next sitter left after just one day as Kai became aggressive towards her (all because of his anxieties with this collar). 

On returning back to the flat after our walk together she talked us through removing Kai’s choke collar,  it had to be done swiftly not to alert Kai and Jonathan also took a go at removing it and all went well.  Further down you will read that it didnt always go that successfully.

On leaving Kai and his owner after that first meet up, we had a conversation about Kai’s aggressive behaviour but we weren’t going to let his owner down, she needed her yoga retreat holiday we knew that and we also knew it would not suit Kai at all to go into kennels.  Kai’s dreaded prong collar was going to be the big issue.   As we tried to imagine what an awfully distressing experience it must have been for Kai, being held tight as his collar was cut from him, we began to think about strategies we would use to go about fastening and removing his collar before and after each walk.

We arrived on the day of the Sit and Kai was already hyper, we mostly ignored him and had a short chat with the Owner before she left for her trip.   
When she left of course Kai wondered what was going on.  He began leaping about on the furniture, frantically getting his toys, we just kept being quiet and calm.  And when he did keep still, for even a moment,  we praised him in quiet tones with a ‘good boy’ .  Eventually he curled up at the end of the sofa, but always having his ears pricked high.  Then it was tea time for him and his walk.  (We had asked his owner to leave his collar on when she left us, just for Kai to get to know us before any dealings with his collar).  That all went well, clipping on his leash for his walk, of course he wanted to pull all the way around the walk.  We already knew of strategies to assist with a dog’s frantic pulling, we had a pocket of treats for distraction needs and rewards.

From the moment we took charge of Kai, we toned down the tug playing game to a more gentle style, if we felt he was starting to show any signs of becoming over aggressive, as oppose to enjoying the game, we would immediately let go of the toy.

Also, we soon became aware that woe betide anyone that strokes Kai without him seeing your hand move first and takes him unawares, lots of loud defensive barking. But they are actions that sitters have to learn and know about the character of the dog and be respectful of his anxieties and patient.

Now we’ve sat for a number of dogs that love a game of tug of war, but Kai’s toy tugging play was true to his owner’s comments, meaning it quickly turned to aggressive behaviour and at one time this did happen,  a game of tug turned into Kai accidental biting Jonathan.  Kai really just didn’t know when and how to stop, the build up of excitement just got to a stage where he lost control.

With lots of praise and encouragement to be gentle and this very calm approach to his favourite tug play, as soon as the second day of the Sit, we saw signs of a much more calmer playing temperament from him and very little sign of the aggressive play we’d first experienced from him.   As with all dog training, repetition, routine and rewards are definitely key. We noticed through the week Kai was playing in a much gentler manner.

As experienced Sitters, we knew if a dog has aggressive issues, its perhaps not such a good idea to encourage games that encourage signs of aggression. We found Kai a Kong toy and this was his new playtime, we filled the Kong and rolled it around the living room floor space for him and of course then he loved the treats he found inside.

So back to the collar episode and just to describe Kai’s collar – it is a prong chain collar, his owner said she chose this type to help with Kai’s frantic pulling. Personally we are not a lover of this type of collar at all.

We’ve explained above that Kai was understandably very wary of having his collar put on him and in particular having the collar removed, especially with us being total strangers.   Therefore, we took a gentle approach which seemed to be working well for the first couple of days.  We knew it was far more comfortable for Kai to have this large metal collar off in the evenings, especially when cuddling up with us on the sofa and at night.   

When he relaxes and lays on us in the evening it melts our hearts. He actually sleeps on the bed, so he must want to feel close to us, we didn’t mind.

He has a cuddly blanket that he holds and sucks on at night when he’s tired, he’s such a needy boy really, it pulls on out heart strings.  He often burrows under the quilt and makes a ‘cave’ at the bottom of the bed, again we didnt mind.

All was going well.  Kai is a clever dog and we believed he could quickly be trained to walk better on the lead without pulling and then eliminating the need for the prong type of collar.  We kept him close to us when walking and avoided other dogs when we could.  When we had to pass another dog, we would turn and distract Kai away, getting him to sit for treats and then lots of praise when he ignored the other dog.    We soon noticed Kai was pulling much less frantically on his walks out.  His face when we praised him when he walked to heal, his eyes said it all, that he loves the praise (and of course he loved his treat rewards).   And we were so thrilled when he began sitting for us on command, as we waited at the traffic lights. 

However, on day three, back at the flat, as we were taking off  ‘the collar’ after a walk, Kai got spooked by a loud sudden outside noise and became very aggressive to us warning us to stop.  Now any one that has experienced first hand a large aggressive dog lurching at them, will know what a scary experience it can be!

A few minutes after the event though it was so obvious that Kai was very sorry and that his intention was not to harm us but just to tell us he was frightened.

In order to ensure Kai didn’t have any undue stress we decided to leave the collar on while we came up with a plan that may help him become more trusting of having the collar removed and be more comfortable with what, for most dogs, is a regular part of daily life.

One evening when Kai was resting on Jonathan’s lap on the sofa, Jonathan saw a way to unlink the collar taking it apart, eliminating the need to remove the collar over Kai’s head.  But even though Jonathan was slow and gentle in his movement, Kai got upset and began aggressively barking, again afterwards when Kai had calmed he couldn’t stop licking Jon’s hands, Kai was so sorry.  But the collar was still on Kai now and its prongs can catch on material,  in fact he got a knitted blanket caught up in it later that evening and was running around with the blanket in tow, luckily he eventually let Julie unhook the blanket.  You could tell he knew we had helped him. 

We wanted to take him to the dog park, but if his collar got caught up with another dog when they are playing it could be a bad situation.  We began walking him to the beach , he loved it especially digging in the sand, it was fun to watch him playing.  Of course always on his leash and keeping our distance from other dogs.

We are true believers that the best form of dog training is praise and rewards.   So using this Reward method, we would sit Kai down, 4 times a day, and show him a treat while we clipped his lead to the prong collar. Each time he let us do this we gave him the treat and plenty of praise. Kai was very intelligent and got the idea very quickly that the treat related directly to him letting us clip the lead to the collar (no returning to collar removal as yet).

We felt that we needed to gain Kai’s trust more before we attempted again to take his collar off. So coupled with the treats and praise when attaching and removing the lead, we spent a lot of time cuddling him, stroking him and pretending to ‘accidentally’ touch the collar while giving him plenty of praise. We continued this for a full 3 days before we made the attempt to try and remove the collar. On day 6, on our return from the morning walk, Kai was already sitting waiting, his eyes fixed on his treat which was showed to him every time we removed the lead, but this time, very gently, we also SLID THE COLLAR FROM HIM…… and it worked!  He got lots of praise as well as his treat, as you can imagine.

The combination of treats, praise, building trust and repetition turned Kai’s bad experience into one that he now associated as being a positive experience (even if he ultimately new he would receive a treat as a reward for being so good!) 

Yay!......... No collar Kai!

Kai will always be our Special Boy!     We will remember mostly how much he loves his walks at the beachside and digging in the sand.  A real joy seeing his happy face when he heard us say “should we go to the beach”.   As we got our shoes on, his tail wagging so much,  licking our faces and hands and he sits near the door ready looking round at us as if to say hurry up. 

It was quite bizarre, this big dog that could easily show signs of frightening aggression, had his own comfort blanket and loved nothing more than cuddling up to us both.

Also, we remember, his routine at bedtime, as soon as the tv goes off he collects his cuddly blanket, jumps on the to the bed and watches and waits for us and then he likes to burrow down to the bed, yes he’s far too big really but he just loves it so much. 
He loves his morning cuddles on the bed before we get up, he’s never demanding about his breakfast or a walk etc. 

Kai is a big strong dog and he gets over excited and hard to calm down. But when he does we can tell he has a loving side to him and wants to be good.    

As Pet Sitters we do all we can for the pets in our care and call on all our experiences and kindness to keep them safe and happy and feeling loved and respectful of their characters and anxieties. 

We learned so much with Kai and so happy that we didnt give up on him and that we tried to provide him with the best pet sitting experience we possibly could.

Kai will always have a place in our hearts.