Ruling the roost
Our fourth pet sit is a four day stop in Ourimbah about an hour north of Sydney. We are on our way north and this just happens to be in the direction that we are going.
We have some rules when it comes to selecting our pet sits, including:
The owners have posted photographs of the house and pets (no snakes).
The sit must be in an area that we are interested in and is convenient for us to get to.
It must be for a minimum of two weeks so that we are not constantly moving around.
We also meet all the owners and pets before we confirm the sit.
This current pet sit is in the country, surrounded by national parks. On day one I got more mosquito bites than I have had in the last 12 months! We are both now sprayed top to toe in repellant every day. We are also on snake and goanna lookout! Spot, the dog, had a chunk bitten out of his left ear by a large goanna in the garden.
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside
As much as we like the country, we do miss the coast. Luckily we are about a 30 minute drive away from The Entrance, on the coast.
Here there is an inlet that pours sea water into several local lakes. It’s also where pelicans are fed each day by local volunteers who toss pieces of fish into the gathering of pelicans.
Meet the pets
This pet sit includes our first ever feathered friends. We have ten birds made up of seven chickens, two chicks and a rooster. They have to be released from their cage in the mornings and fed and watered twice a day. Then they are rounded up and locked away for the night. Other than that they keep them selves entertained during the day pecking, chatting and laying eggs.
The chickens love all the fruit and vegetable skins and peelings from the kitchen which they are fed in the mornings. On top of this they are fed grain in the afternoons. In return the girls keep us supplied with eggs each day, it’s a win win kind of deal.
With a little creativity the eggs can be turned into a pretty delish shakshuka dish with the addition of black beans, tomatoes, chilli, avocado and limes.
Nessun Dorma (none shall sleep)
Tom Tom is a very needy two year old male cat. He meows (lots) for attention and is not shy in giving you a swipe with his right front paw as you walk by him. He’s a huge attention seeker. He’s also a night owl with a big vocal range. He holds concerts on the hour through the night starting about 2am, “O sole Mio” is one of his favourites. Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a sleep deprived pet sit!
The security team
We have two outdoor, pony size, huge, enormous, dogs to look after on this sit. Petey, an Irish Wolfhound and red cattle cross, and Spot, a Mastiff and red cattle cross. On our initial visit the two them pounded up the drive towards our car barking like crazy. We almost turned around and drove off, but we saw Liz down the drive and she called the dogs to her.
Throughout the pet sit, the dogs have been the most gentle animals. They live outside and sleep most of the day. They are fed 3 Weetabix and milk (!) in the mornings and then 1 1/2 Kg of raw meat each later in the day. These big guys don’t go hungry.
Five star treatment
We didn’t go hungry on our first night either, Liz cooked dinner for us before they left and so we have returned the favour. We have cooked dinner for them to return to, a chicken, pumpkin and spinach pasta bake that just needs to be popped in the oven and some Ottolenghi chocolate fridge cake. Now where’s that five star review?
Ride ‘em Cowboy
So after our shortest pet sit we head off another hour north to another country area, Melville. Our CV of pets will increase as we will be adding over 20 horses and 10 cows to our experience list, plus there’s one farm dog.
Country roads take me home, to the place I belong.