Little Girl, Big City (and some dog poop)

I’ve always thought that housesitting sounded kind of luxurious..especially when you’ve been on the road for a while and the idea of having a whole house to yourself is very appealing. But a word to the wise… Dog sitting is different.

You picture yourself snuggled up on the couch with a fluffy, cuddly, endearingly named pooch, drinking cups of tea and stroking it’s tum tum. At least, my friend Sally and I pictured this when we decided to housesit for a Belfast man and look after his three doggies.

Enter Snowy, Coco and Zoe, three of the most appalling dogs you will ever encounter.

Snowy looks to be the nicest, cuddliest one of the bunch, until you are awoken at 6am by a rhythmic barking. You venture downstairs to find a seeping puddle on the floor and Snowy barking at the wall. There’s not a lot you can do, so you go back to bed and hope it’s all gone when you get up again. Take Snowy for a walk and he will trot along, urine dribbling the entire time, and then he will find a piece of stranger dog poop and put it in his mouth, then promptly walk into a fence.

Coco, the youngest, a wee terrier, seems to be quite eager and energetic but generally a nice dog, until you take her out walking and she lunges at strangers, teeth bared, head spinning around 360 degrees… Other dogs cower behind their owners, fearful of crossing Coco’s path. As soon as you leave the house she sprints down the road, with remarkable pulling power for such a small animal. You just have to run, there is no other option.

And Zoe…. Zoe is a very special dog. Profoundly hideous and magnificiently obese, Zoe snores like a truck driver, so loudly that I had to apply earplugs even when sleeping on a different floor of the house to her. Take her for a walk and she will not go very far at all, and then she will sit down and refuse to move any more. She is too large to pick up, so all you can really do is wait for her to catch her breath.

Ahhh, sweet doggies. I feel fond towards them now that they are no longer my responsibility, but I will not miss the thick coating of dog hair on every surface, and the occasional stinker in the corner.

Other than disturbing pets, Belfast was a wonderful week of initiation back into civilisation, with good coffee, cinemas, Christmas markets, ethnic foods and cocktails. It reminded me how easy it is to spend your money in a big city, and it made me miss the country a bit, but there are things you can’t get on the Wild West coast of Ireland that just really enhance your life. Like a good burrito, you know? I think Sally and I took three epic trips to Boojum (burrito bar) in our one week in Belfast, and we justified it by making it our only meal of the day, so really we were SAVING money. You can talk yourself into anything.

Before Belfast I spent a week back on a Achill, after finishing my job in Killary. So many goodbyes, but I like to think I’m getting better at them. Especially because I know I will be back next year… Our last night on Achill was of epic proportions, and naturally ended with Sally, Pat and I on the floor of the Valley House Bar, punching and kicking each other endearingly. Who knows.

Today I fly back to England then home to NZ very soon for a decent summer… Fingers crossed.

Looking forward to seeing my doggy, who isn’t rabid and doesn’t bark at inappropriate hours, and (hopefully) doesn’t leave little stinky presents lying in wait for me.
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