A Summer with Whistler Dog Sitting
The beginning of Summer 2020 was tough. We lost our family dog “Jake” (a beautiful Staffordshire Bull Terrier).
Jake was the best member of our family. The most affectionate dog with the biggest heart. He had an embarrassingly high libido but his other qualities made up for that.
I have been pretty persistent in terms of contacting Anna for a position with Whistler Dog Sitting over the last couple of years - understandably, dogsitting is a very sought after job. I was over the moon when I was finally able to sit down with Anna to discuss an opportunity in August.
Whistler Dog Sitting has done wonders for my general wellbeing; loving dogs has improved my mental health and walking dogs has improved my fitness.
Cali the 14 week old Australian Shepherd was my first puppy to look after and I could not believe my luck - she completely stole my heart. I remember thinking; ‘AS IF I am getting paid for this?!’ She loved classical music and tug of war.
Remi was next. Remi was a 7 month old Border Collie mix, we adventured all day. First off, we explored the forest trails behind my house which are full of the most enormous skunk cabbage you will ever see. We then went for a dip in the lake before ascending the Nordic scramble. Remi seemed a little scared of heights but I hope he felt the same ‘on top of the world’ sensation as I did.
Trooper & Thor were a Golden Doodle and Giant Schnauzer team that my friend Anna and I picked up from the Four Seasons. Together, we walked them for SIX HOURS through the Lost Lake trails to Alpine Cafe, they did not tire. They sprinted around with friends at the dog park and played fetch with sticks in the lake. Thor (the Schnauzer), had an adorable habit of walking in a zigzag formation. We researched why and found out that it was just pure overexcitement to be out on a walk!
Neka was a crowd-stopping cutie! We didn’t get far walking her through Lakeside Park as hearts melted left, right and centre, everybody loved her! After our walk we cuddled up on the sofa and watched a documentary on Salmon fishing.
Velcro defied the odds. He was a 15 year old Maltipoo with cancer. Even with his medical complications, he was such a sweet natured boy. Velcro’s Mum Alice and I got on so well. I was admiring her rings and discovered that she is a jewelry maker with the most incredible designs. She gifted me one of her beautiful bracelets as a thank you for looking after her pup!
Team Lollie were a dynamic duo that started my love affair with sausage dogs! Lola was a princess requiring all of the attention, Ollie was more passive and laid back. Lola looked identical to my friend Anna which was hilarious; they would definitely feature as part of Gerrard Gethings’ ‘Do You Look Like Your Dog?’ collection of photographs. We walked them both to Alta Lake through to Southside Diner at Creekside - they seemed exhausted from walking so far on their tiny little legs and had a nap on our laps as we stopped for a tea.
Sofie was a French Bulldog that came to stay with us for five days. The first night she stayed in her crate in the kitchen but her snoring woke my housemates so I moved her crate ‘Chateau Sofie’ to my bedroom. By the third night she was in bed with me. My boyfriend Pierre surprised me on the fourth night as he returned earlier than expected from Vancouver Island. He knocked on my bedroom window, Sofie was RAGING - apparently there is only enough room for one Frenchie in this house! Sofie was such a character; she loved socks, cheese, mud and crocs! She despised the rain.
Phoebe was a 4 year old Daschund who was extremely anxious to be separated from her owners at the beginning of our time together. After a long walk she warmed up to me and we became best friends! She seemed quite content perched on my back as I completed a Sudoku puzzle.
Stella is the most perfect German Shorthaired Pointer. She is purple crazy - she has a purple leash, purple harness, purple poop bags, purple collar and even a purple jacket! She loves bolting into the forest after a scent but will always return to your side shortly after. She loves sticks and swimming. Early morning autumnal walks with Stella are the best way to start the day!
On last night’s dogsitting shift, I sat by the fire cuddling a giant Labrador called Gus and read this heartwarming story from Dave Trott - author of Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It):
Every year two million stray dogs are put to death in the US.
If only there was a group of people that had enough time to clean and train those dogs?
There is one place: prison.
In prison there are lots of people with nothing but time.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction tried an experiment.
They partnered with a rescue charity called Don’t Throw Us Away.
They asked prisoners to volunteer to train and look after dogs. For eight weeks the dog would share the inmates’ cells.
The results were better than anyone expected. From hardened criminals came an outpouring of pent up emotion.
While the prisoners were helping the dogs get better, the dogs were doing the same for the prisoners.
“When you’re in prison you put a wall up. A dog is a live being that trusts you totally, so you trust the dog. You don’t need that wall.”
Thanks to Anna the boss babe for running such an amazing business and contributing to one of the best summers of my life!