July – Two weeks in Marlborough
This blog post was originally published on the 20th October 2018.
For our next housesit we took a gamble and applied for a sit where the only photos were of the pets – usually we like to have more visual information before we commit to applying for a housesit just so we know what to expect. But on this occasion we just couldn’t resist looking after three gorgeous French Bulldogs! We spent two and a half weeks in Marlborough taking care of Teilo, who was really laidback and loved to snooze, Cookie, who was definitely the alpha and kept the boys in line, and Linus, the puppy of Teilo and Cookie who was a sweet and playful whirlwind!
A very warm welcome!
When we first arrived at the house, we were both literally bowled over as we crouched to meet the three dogs who were incredibly excited to meet us! Our hosts gave us a tour of the gorgeous, spacious house as well as the garden with its swimming pool and gym! We came to appreciate the pool very much on the hot July days that followed. All three dogs eagerly padded along behind us for the tour, but it was clear from the moment we arrived that Linus in particular had taken a shine to Chris, and as a result they became inseparable for the two and a half weeks of our stay. We spent the evening settling into our new home and figuring out all its nuances – such as the separate wifi codes for different parts of the sizeable house – while Teilo, Cookie and Linus snored soundly on the sofa beside us.
On our first full day at the house we played games and ran around with the dogs in the large garden, before rain set in for the day and we retreated to the cosy lounge for more furry cuddles with our snoring trio. Linus was never far from Chris’ side, and the two of them enjoyed playing tug of war or fetch in a long corridor between the lounge and the kitchen. A few days after we arrived at the house, it was Suze’s birthday! All three pups were very keen to help celebrate, jumping up into the bed in the morning and snuggling with us while Suze opened cards and presents. As it was a beautifully sunny July day, we took the opportunity to take the dogs for a leisurely walk around fields not far from the house – though we had to be careful as the bulldogs, with their flat faces, had difficulty walking for too long and we took lots of water breaks in the shade of the trees lining the fields. In the afternoon we left the doggies relaxing on the cool stone floor in the kitchen, while we ventured into Marlborough town centre for some celebratory tea and cake! ‘The Food Gallery’ lived up to its name with its beautiful display of homemade cakes, and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon sipping tea and reminiscing about how many birthdays we’ve shared together!
In the days that followed it became increasingly sunny and hot, so we decided against walking the dogs too far and instead opted for games in the garden where Cookie, Teilo and Linus could chase each other around and have lots of water to stay cool. As for us, we made the most of having a swimming pool to cool off in and spent many hours splashing around with the array of novelty floats before soaking up some rays on the sun loungers. We soon discovered that none of the dogs liked water, as any big splash made them bark and come running for us! It was lovely to go for a quick run or row in the gym and have the refreshing water to relax in afterwards, while watching all three dogs wrestling over a frisbee or their line of toy sausages!
When the weather became milder, we decided it would be a good day to visit the Avebury stone circles. Gigantic stones formed an avenue which we strolled along, before arriving at the main stone circle where we stopped to take some photos and make sure the dogs had a good drink of water. We continued around the circle and passed a wishing tree full of ribbons tied to the branches, while sheep grazed in the fields all around. We were blown away by the beauty of the impressive stones, though the dogs just loved having a good walk! We were lucky to have cooler weather to take them with us, as for the rest of our stay we had to stick to walks around the local fields while temperatures soared again! On another particularly warm day, we left the pups at home while we explored Devizes and Caen Hill Locks – one of the longest continuous flights of canal locks in the country and a real sight to behold. We spent some time sitting at the edge of the water watching canal boats float past, before rewarding our long walk back up the locks with a cold drink and a picnic in the park. We came home to three very excitable doggies and before we knew it, normal playtime was resumed and we were tearing around the garden playing games and collapsing into a group snuggle in the shade.
We had our ups and downs with this sit, not least when Cookie went snuffling around in the garden late at night and came running into the house to throw up, having tried to eat a toad! Fortunately we had access to the Trusted Housesitters 24 hour helpline with our membership, and we were able to speak to a professional veterinarian who talked us through how best to take care of her. By the following morning she was back to her usual self, though both of us (plus Teilo and Linus) needed a big snooze after staying up late to take care of her! It was quite difficult to watch the three of them huffing, puffing and snorting away when we walked them – being one of those breeds with breathing difficulties resulting from such a flat face, it was hard to see them struggling in the heat although we made sure to always carry water and stop for breaks to shade from the July sun. It became a routine to walk early in the morning or late in the evening, staying at home during the day so that the little ones didn’t get puffed out. Despite their difficulties, they are a truly beautiful and friendly breed! We were so sad to part from all three of them (Chris found it hardest to say goodbye to Linus!) and in the days that followed our departure we missed our evening snuggles with these three little barrels of love! We’ve love to take care of French bulldogs again – their constant smiles make them lovely, fun companions!