Dog Sitting in Sonoma and Petaluma

two small white dogs looking at the camera

Look at These Two!

Are they adorable or what? We had the pleasure of caring for them through a referral from the Sonoma couple with the two cats. We came and met the owner and agreed to house sit her two dogs. One was a Maltipoo, the other a Westie. 

As arranged, we arrived after the owner’s departure. The dogs were not so happy with Jim at first. If I was in a room with them and he entered they would bark at him a bit. Since all animals love Jim, it must be because they lived with a single female.

close up of small dog hugging a toy

Let’s Go For a Walk!

Dog walks at this house were quite the adventure. The little guy loved going out and trotted merrily along. The bigger guy, well, let’s just say that he didn’t. For the most part, he stalled, sat down and wouldn’t move. When he did walk, it was at a snails’ pace. It was too slow even for me.

The owner had warned us about it and said she often brought the dog stroller for him. We couldn’t deal with that. So mostly we resorted to walking them separately, and that was much better for everyone.

small dog playing with a stuffed animal

The smaller and younger guy loved to play fetch with his little ball inside. He also loved his chew toys. He chewed at least one to pieces and hoarded the stuffing. I was afraid he’d swallow it, so I tried to take it away, and he started growling at me and hiding it. I waited a bit and snatched it when he wasn’t looking. He also got the squeaker out and hid that for hours until I finally found it!

two small white dogs looking at the camera

It’s All About the Dogs

This guy (the big fellow in front) always wanted to sleep on or against a human. He would also nudge you for affection, quite insistently and was quite the lover boy. He would run after the ball while in the house, so we knew he could move quickly, he just wouldn’t do that while on a walk with us. A funny fellow indeed!

We had a great time with these two canines. Did they have any particular habits? Oh, yes. Every dog has those, and these two certainly did. Barking at the door every single time anyone came up to or in the house, even after a quick stop in the garage: we consider that a good thing, and it was always over quickly enough.

small dog sleeping on a woman's leg

Feeding Time Was a Trip

The big guy was always ready and willing. The little, more active one would barely eat at all. I had to sit with him, coax him on just as his owner had said by sprinkling shredded cheese on the dinner to maintain any interest in eating.

Sleeping? Yes, generally in favor of that. But we’ll just have this half of the big bed, thank you. Perhaps the math is over our head, but that didn’t seem to leave a lot for us. Oh well, curl up and deal with it. Headed out for that late night stop? Both out the front door into the side yard. The little guy is back inside the front door in a minute. His friend meanders around through the yard, very slowly, to the back door. Every single time.

tiny pink and white flowers

Out For Dinner!

By definition, house-sitters and homeowners aren’t in the same place at the same time very often. Any time spent together is usually all about the details of pets and houses. In Sonoma, we had worked with several homeowners, so it offered a better opportunity to get together.

The dear couple with two cats, our first Sonoma house sit, invited us to dinner. Over they came and took us off to a great pizza place downtown. Now that was a treat and much appreciated. Great food, great drinks, great stories, and then…be still my heart (Jim here) out for ice cream at the very popular local creamery. How good can it get? That right there is the high-water mark. Wonderful, and delicious!

ice cream storefront

Visiting Two Vineyards

During our time at this house, we did get out a bit and even visited a couple of vineyards, not to drink or sample wine but to view the properties. St Francis Vineyard was just outside town and operated by the monks in a monastery. It had a nice feel, orderly, unpretentious and not at all uptight. Eats and drinks there are relished, enjoyed to the fullest.

Statue of St Francis

If you’re going to drop a monastery/winery down somewhere and wake up every day looking at things around you, might this be an excellent choice? We think so. 

vineyard in Sonoma

It felt laid back and peaceful, and this sweet whirlygig was the perfect touch!


The other one, Ledson was very fancy and upscale – not our style at all. Lots of people everywhere doing the wine-tasting thing, limos and town cars parked out back, drivers waiting to take folks to the next stop on the tour. 

vineyard in Sonoma

Don’t get us wrong – the place is exquisite, just a little too far towards the formal end of things for us.

vineyard in Sonoma

We think these two photos tell the story quite well.

vineyard in Sonoma

The Next House

Before we knew it, our time with these two dogs came to an end, and we went directly to our next house sit in the neighboring town of Petaluma.

This three-day house sit came up with little notice, but fit in our schedule nicely. We had a quick home visit and agreed to care for this Labrador. A terrific dog, who lived in a great older stone house in the downtown area.

close up of black dog's face

What a Character!

The owners had a great garden in the back, and the house was filled with art pieces of all types. We only met one of the owners as the other was out of the country at the time. 

This fellow loved tug-of-war and fetching his toys in the backyard: tennis balls, knotted ropes and his favorite, a ball of leather. That never ended. Inside toys also got a workout. Pop open the video and see what he would do a hundred times a day, before going outside for the real play-time. 


He was always ready to play. Can you guess what he is doing in the photo below? Staring at the ball in Jim’s hand waiting for the throw!

A good walker, though he liked to go over the speed limit, meaning my normal pace. We ended up at an average somewhere near speed-walking (for me), and a slow trot (for him). 

black dog in his yard

This house was in a great neighborhood for walking the dog, residential mostly but close to the downtown shops and riverfront. Grand old houses close by, and an actual working dairy just a block away. Who knew how many trucks go in and out of a diary? We didn’t. Now we do.  

big black dog inside looking at the camera

This is what we love about dogs, especially labs: they are ever-present, their full attention on whatever is going on, full-tilt living, no half-measures. He set a good example for living.  

old building in Petaluma, Ca

Touring Petaluma

While at this house we did tour downtown Petaluma a bit since we’d never been there. The architecture was quite different than most towns we’ve seen. Look at all those great buildings. Lots of brick ones from decades ago.

church in Petaluma, Ca

This church was two blocks away and another example of the surrounding architecture.

old building in Petaluma, Ca

Is that the clock tower from Back to the Future? Maybe. That movie was filmed here.

old building in Petaluma, Ca

Our Favorite Building in Town

It’s an old bank building on the corner of the two main streets. Seed Bank? We had to find out what that was. It’s a seed store, everything you would ever need for gardening.

Thousands of seed packets in every variety. Classes downstairs in the old vault area. A balcony in the main room. You can easily imagine the bank managers keeping an eye on things from up there. If you’re in the area and into gardening – stop by. It’s worth the trip. 
old building in Petaluma, Ca

They don’t make them like this anymore. But this one is firmly in place and will be for a long, long time. Oh, and did we mention the restaurants in every direction downtown? We should. Full of locals and visitors, relaxed and enjoying themselves. This was an engaging stop on our roaming.

old building in Petaluma, Ca

What’s Next – Yosemite!

You’ll get every post!

Sign up below!

Permanent link to this article:


    • Laura Ferris on August 19, 2017 at 7:24 am
    • Reply

    Your postings are so engaging and well written! You have the makings of a book here…perhaps one on animals and what they have to teach us about living or the roamer’s guide to the west!

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Laura! We’ll think about the book idea one day. Hope all is well!

We would love to hear your thoughts or questions!

%d bloggers like this: