March – A long weekend near Bristol
This blog post was originally published on the 24th June 2018.
Our next housesit took us to Avonmouth, near Bristol, where we spent a long weekend looking after five miniature dachshunds (Ozzie, Poppy, Lucky, Stanley and Lexi), a tank full of fish, and two tortoises (one unnamed and one called Tuppence)! We arrived in the afternoon the day before our hosts were due to leave, to give us time to settle in with the dogs and get to know their routine. We were greeted at the door by lots of happy, wagging tails! We made our way through the crowd of tiny dogs to the living room where the pups lined up one-by-one, and gave us big puppy-eyes to get picked up and put onto the sofa with us to say hello! Our hosts were incredibly generous – having filled the fridge with food for the weekend they then took us to Costco and their local craft shop, before driving us to a country park nearby to show us where to walk the dogs. In the evening we enjoyed a home-cooked meal and a drink at the pub around the corner with them, where we talked in depth about their life together and travelling. When they left the next morning, our weekend of adorable mayhem began!
Kings Weston House
On our first day with the pups we drove back to Kings Weston House, a gorgeous country house just ten minutes away, to go for a walk through the beautiful surrounding woods and gardens. Just getting the dogs ready for the walk was a job in itself, as each one had their own specific coloured lead and warm coat for the cold. Watching them wriggle about and climb over each other in their bed in the back of our car made for an amusing ride! Even more entertaining was the sound of their individual jingle-bell collars as they bounded along beside us at Kings Weston House! Every group of people we passed on our walk descended into an instant chorus of ‘Awwww!’ upon seeing the dogs running together. Watching the pups jostle down a flight of steps in the gardens, with their collars all jangling together, was also an adorable sight to behold. The grounds themselves were picturesque – even on a chilly March day we enjoyed a lovely stroll around the house and through the woods, with badger dens on either side of the path which of course the pups had to investigate! When we got home it was cuddles all round, and we enjoyed a snuggly evening with all the doggies.
The day after we visited Kings Weston House we woke up to a blanket of thick snow out of our window! We received a message from our hosts advising that the dogs’ little legs wouldn’t do too well with this kind of weather, and to keep them inside for the day. This made for a day of relaxing, cuddling and getting to know the pups better! Even though physically they were mostly alike, their individual personalities shone through and made us smile. Lexi, mother to two of the four other pups and the oldest of all of them at eleven years old, was the most relaxed of the group and more than happy to tuck herself into bed upstairs while the others ran around in the living room. Stanley, seven years old, was patient and would always be the one trotting along beside us at the back of the group on walks. Ozzie at six years old was the youngest, and the one that our hosts described as a ‘man’s dog’. He spent most of his time trying to get Chris’ attention for a cuddle! Lucky and Poppy, both eight, were cuddle fiends and happily curled up with Suze on the sofa for hours. One thing they all had in common though was their love of FOOD! Something we discovered when, upon the return of one of our hosts, they happily crunched their way through a bag of prawn crackers we’d been given as part of our takeaway dinner – apparently these were their favourite snacks!
We don’t usually apply for housesits that only span a few days, especially if they’re a two and a half hour drive away, but this was such a unique sit that we just couldn’t pass up the chance to go. We thought it would be absolute chaos, but the most chaotic part was trying to fit all seven of us on the sofa for a big cuddle! We had so much fun looking after the dogs, and we also got to experience looking after a new kind of pet with the tortoises. They are possibly one of the easiest animals to look after – over our four days at the house they only needed their heat lamp switched on in the morning and fresh veggies to eat, otherwise they were more than happy to toddle around their home together! We like to try new things on each housesit and this one definitely gave us that opportunity. At the beginning of the sit we knew this would be a special stay, and how sad we were to leave on our last day was testament to how much we loved it! As if they knew it was our last morning together, when we awoke on the final day each of the dogs trotted into our room one by one and leaned up on the side of the bed, waiting for us to pick them up to snuggle under the duvet together. These babies were amazing to get to know and very hard to leave! We’d love to look after dachshunds again as they made great companions, especially in great numbers!