We Did Good!
There we were in an enormous three-story house on the beach! The weather was as gorgeous as the house and setting. What is there not to like about watching the sun rise and set over the ocean from a private balcony, walking on the beach and hitting the hot tub?
We were learning that with house sitting you just never know how it’s going to go; the setup, the start, the finish, and this house sit was proof. Some take a long time to set up and get scheduled months in advance.
Not this one – it was quick and easy. We responded to the posting, got a reply, set up a meeting for that day and arrived at the house in the afternoon.
“Can You Do It?”
After an eyes-wide tour (it was an incredible house) we sat down to chat. It began with the normal “Tell us a little about yourselves.” Three minutes in we asked where they were going and when. “Tomorrow morning at 8:00 am. Can you do it?” We looked at each other, scanned our minds for conflicts and then replied, ‘Yes, we can.’
Done. Just like that, our plans changed from filling up another gap with a week of hotels to our third house sit – a huge Malibu beach house! Wouldn’t life be grand if they were all like this?
Now, How to Pull it Off
Excited and a bit overwhelmed by the sudden change in our situation doesn’t even begin to describe our feelings. However, we had to spend the rest of the day figuring out how to pull it off.
First, we had to drive two hours south and interview for another house sit in Redondo Beach, which we agreed to do. Then we had to figure out how to get Jim to the beach house by 8:00 am, and me to work.
We had to rent a car at the airport and get a hotel for the night. Oh, the joys of house sitting with one car and no home of our own.
Jim arrived at 8:00 am, saw the owners off and got comfortable in a gorgeous house with four friendly dogs – a giant German Shepherd, a large black Labrador, and two Schnauzers.
The Beach Was Just Out the Back Door!
For those who might not know, Malibu is an affluent beach city in Los Angeles with a population around 13,000. It consists of a 21-mile strip of prime Pacific coastline.
The community is famous for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of many movie stars and others associated with the entertainment industry, and, it is also a magnificent place!
Rocks jutting up a hundred feet out from the house would catch waves, launching spray up into the air. With doors and windows open, sounds of the shore filled the house. Is it possible to feel stress with such a beautiful rhythm in the background?
We even heard the waves with the windows closed at night. It’s one thing to visit the beach for a few hours, but all day and all night, days in a row? Paradise.
Dog Sitting in a Big Way
Our hands were as full as the house; a painting crew and various assistants there all day during the week. By late afternoon all was quiet, and we had the home to ourselves.
All four dogs were good-natured and well-behaved. They were super friendly and affectionate; we enjoyed spending time with them immensely after two house sits with cats.
The Shepherd was young and full of energy and enthusiasm. The Labrador, truly a gentle soul and oh so huggable, and the male and female Schnauzers, what funny characters they were.
The first night all four of them wanted to sleep on the bed with us, and we quickly realized that wouldn’t work, two of them were huge, and having all four was impossible; there was no room for the humans!
Dog Walks Were Pretty Intense
Since the exercise needs of the dogs varied tremendously, Jim would take the gigantic Shepherd alone and move swiftly. The Lab required distance but at a slower pace than the young buck. Then the two Schnauzers went together for a shorter walk. Six walks a day; Jim felt like a long-distance hiker most days. They walked along the road (the only road) as the dogs were not allowed on the beach.
Jim dealt with almost all the animal care and housework since I had to work. However, since the house cleaner came every other day, we only had to wash our dishes and keep our belongings out of their way.
Unfortunately, I only spent a few days here as I had to speed off to Palm Desert for a house sit that got pushed forward a few weeks. (You can read about it here.)
We Learned a Lot at This House
Harnesses are helpful for large dogs; it’s important to lock the pantry door because some dogs know how to open doors and get into food meant for another species.
Also, that appearance might not suggest the real leader of a pack. In this house, the youngest and smallest female had absolute authority over the pack though outweighed five to one. Get in good with her, which we did, and all is well. The dogs free fed so feeding time was not a big deal. They simply ate when they wanted, what a terrific idea.
Early one morning, Jim met the next-door neighbor, a well-known chef headed out to tape a television episode. A tall man with a firm handshake, polite, unexpectedly solicitous, and he couldn’t say enough good things about our hosts. We can’t either. They were extremely gracious to us and genuinely grateful that we could sit for them on such short notice.
This house sit had been a Godsend both in terms of the timing and location. After a week at the beach, it was time for Jim to join me in Palm Desert. We were beginning to think this whole house sitting thing just might work out well after all. Chalk it up to God, karma or beginner’s luck. Whichever one is fine with us.
What a Specimen!
Sometimes a particular pet stands out for whatever reason. For Jim, the first was the German Shepherd. He was an impressive animal. Two years old, beautiful classic markings and color, a fun-loving ball of fire. He was always ready to play or go for a walk, the faster and longer the better.
The week we spent with him led Jim to believe the dog didn’t know how large or special he was. How large? Easily 100 pounds. Tall and trim, he bounded up the stairs three or four steps at a time, gracefully and without a bit of effort.
Anyone who passed him, while out walking, inevitably gave a compliment. Some people can get intimidated by a huge, energetic shepherd, but his friendly nature came through after even a few moments. He was ready to make friends with everyone he met.
How special? Though clearly the largest of the pack at his house, he insisted only on fun, not deference. Perhaps though he was a little off on his body image. He would jump up on your lap with no idea that no one’s lap is big enough to hold him. Then a soft nudge shifted him sideways, and he lay his head in your lap. That’s when he was his sweetest.
He’s young, and like a school boy who lives for recess times, he was happiest when outside chasing a ball, catching a Frisbee or just running. His owners are lucky, and so is he.
What’s Next – Our personal interests
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