A Tandem Leash at a Solo House Sit

A wooden house mostly covered by treesWhere Are We Going to Sleep?

It’s happened a couple of times in our line of living/work that we agree to house sit for someone who can’t commit to a specific ending date. Such was the case with the house in Lincoln City. At one point an early finish was looking like a real possibility, so we began looking for a filler.

That’s how we ended up with this house in Portland. Since it was close by, we knew we could handle the overlap if necessary. After agreeing to do this stay, the owner in Lincoln City didn’t return early, so Jim did this one on his own.

a backyard filled with greenery

We Love Referrals

These homeowners came through a referral from another host family in Portland. We had heard about them, the sister and brother-in-law and their two dogs, and couldn’t wait to meet them and get started. Jim met them before his stay and then arrived at the house after the owner’s departure. 

Though he had met the dogs on that visit, they barked and barked at the intrusion. Then they hid behind the furniture for a couple of hours. Soon enough the male came around and later on the female, and all was well.

large trees in a yard

Such a Terrific House

This house kind of sneaks up on you. The landscaping hides much of it from view at street level, as does the location at the end of a cul-de-sac. The backyard was part forest, part jungle. Gorillas could live up in the trees, and you wouldn’t notice. It was that dense. 

The sun never got through directly – so many trees right above the yard. But you could see sunlight hitting north of the garden.

backyard filled with plants

Inside you find twists and turns to rooms, spread out unexpectedly in various directions and levels. It’s anything but a ranch house, fascinating, very comfortable, very distinct.

The finish carpenters went to work on this one: nooks and crannies, hidden closets and shelves, rounded walls and lots of angles, not many at 90 degrees. Generous windows throughout gave a feeling of living in the woods.

Most importantly, plenty of room indoors to chase a ball when it’s raining outside. The dogs especially liked that part.

trees near a small hill

A Wonderful Area

The neighborhood was about as good for walking dogs as you’ll find: start out on a busy street, popular for walking dogs, joggers and bikers, then veer off on side streets for some up and down a hill adventures, far away from any traffic.

There was always an interesting house to look at just up ahead. Get a couple of miles of walking in and never be more than a few blocks from the house.

two dogs on a tandem leash

Now, About Those Dogs

The female was around five years old, the male just over a year. He was, as they say, intact. That’s relatively rare in our experience, but then he was too.

He was living here by agreement with the breeder/owner who reserved the rights to some future, shall we say, ‘playtime’? Until then he was a foster dog, if unusually valuable.

The male was in the center-ring most of the time, wanting and giving lots of attention. The female was content to stand to the side, except for playing fetch where she was the all-star.

If her counterpart found the tennis ball once, she found it ten times: a smart girl that one. She would also settle any disagreements – quickly and finally.

one dog sitting under a picnic table

In the photo above, you see the older female. Look at those eyes! She knows something you don’t know, and it may just stay that way. 

The strangest behavior was their objection to Post Office trucks, at a constitutional level. Not UPS, not Fed-ex, or any others. But let a post office truck come by and you would hear about it. 

That happened a lot as there was a post office just a few blocks down the road. How does that happen? Dog psychologists, please call in.

two dogs resting under a picnic table

A Lot of Fun

Even though this engagement was for less than a week, the dog’s personalities shone through, and they were such fun to be around. They were also well behaved, a good thing indeed!

“So here’s how it’s gonna go – you throw the tennis ball, I find it and bring it back. Then repeat. Got it? Yes, of course, all day. No matter what they told you, that is your job around here. What else could you possibly have to do?”
one black dog

“Hey, before you sit down how’s about tossing that tennis ball one more time?” He’s saying that, right? And in no mood to discuss the matter.

Evenings, after quiet dinners would find them trying to spark up a game of indoor fetch. But that wouldn’t last long, and soon they were sleeping on the couch or in an easy chair in the den. I can’t remember a single quarrel between them.

a black dog looking happily at the camera

I loved the whimsical art throughout the house and gardens and just had to shoot this one. Is this how Noah got all those creatures on the Ark, stacked on top of each other, biggest below?  

decoration of animals stacked on top of each other

Portland’s Major Perk

For me, it’s getting to visit my granddaughter. Now around eight-months-old, we got together and played in the backyard a few times. She would crawl over to the garden wanting to chew on some rocks; I would bring her back on the blanket. Then repeat.

I’m sure every grandparent says this, but here I go: she is a terrific charmer, a breeze to care for and amazingly content. 

Another perk? No doubt this is repetitious, but Powell’s Bookstore is about the closest to Mecca I ever hope to be. We have neither the budget nor space for any more books, but I can’t take ten steps in that place without seeing a book I want to take home. I go there whenever I want to build up my restraint muscles. 

What’s Next – Our return to Dallas

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    • Lee Wanetik on June 14, 2017 at 8:33 am
    • Reply

    Always enjoy reading your blogs – you are a talented writer. Elmo and Butch are looking forward to being with you two in April…..if not before! Lee

    1. Thank you Lee!
      We look forward to seeing you all again as well.

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