Pet Sitting

November 13 to 22, 2013

Ken was off to El Salvador on a site inspection (he has a tour group going there in February so he is viewing the resort, setting up golfing and tours) so we had a couple weeks vacation from house building. For Ken, the vacation is a week of luxury – hot and cold running water, hot showers, flush toilets, all those little luxuries he does without.

As I did not go along, I volunteered to take care of his pets. Hanna and Sox are enjoying (NOT) a couple of weeks in the city in my small apartment. Actually Sox seems to be enjoying herself/himself (still not positive on the sex), she/he is a very adaptable cat. I guess everything is great after you’ve been an orphan fending for yourself. Hanna, on the other hand, becomes thoroughly depressed in the city – doubly so if Ken is not around. This was a bad couple weeks for Hanna. Originally Sox was supposed to go to Kerry’s as I am allergic to cats, but we changed our mind as Hanna needs her little buddy.

Sox uses Hanna's tail as a pillow

Sox uses Hanna’s tail as a pillow

Two weeks of constant companionship with the cat and my allergies seem much improved. The things I found that seemed to help lessen the allergic reactions were:
• Lots of greens. Greens is what I found helped me through canola season previously. So it was a big green smoothie (2 cups green leafy veggies) for breakfast and a cup of spinach or kale in my noon hour soup and a big green salad for supper. And alfalfa tablets.
• Misting the air to remove dander in the air. Add a few drops of essential oil to the spray bottle (Thieves Oil is my favorite)
• Using the humidifier in the bedroom overnight and sleeping with the window open
• Keeping my bedroom door closed and the bedroom of limits. Tough to do as that essentially halves the amount of area they have to roam in.
• Spend lots of time outside with them.
• Meditate. Seems odd but meditating seemed to lessen the symptoms.

I used to have horrid allergies to dust, pollen, bananas and avocados and have managed to get rid of all of them. All that is left is cats, and I am sure I can beat this one too.

Over the 10 days Ken was gone, we settled into a routine:
• Out the door at 6 am to the Parker Street off leash dog park for a 45 minute walk (Sox gets fresh air riding along in her cat-backpack)
• Feed the kids and walk to work
• At lunch, walk back home and take Hanna for 30 minutes in the local park playing fetch with the Chuck-it. Sox generally stays home so she can eat lunch in peace. The smell of catfood drives Hanna crazy. I feed Sox in the bathtub with the door closed. Hanna hates the bathtub.
• Walk back to work
• Walk home after work and head back to the dog park for a 1 hour walk with sister Sheryl and her dog Kensi. The dogs tear around and tire themselves out good. Sheryl walks fast and tires me out.
• Feed the kids supper, make my supper and clean up. By then it’s time for meditation and sleep.

After 3 days, I had shin splints from 3 hours of walking every day. When those got better they were replaced with sore hip flexors from walking through snow. By the time I got used to all the walking, Ken came home. Too bad you can’t walk 3 hours a day without taking 3 hours out of your day.

Lunch hour in the park (Nov 14, before the snow)

Lunch hour in the park (Nov 14, before the snow)

Sox getts a bit of exercise on our lunch hour walk (Nov 14, before the snow)

Sox getts a bit of exercise on our lunch hour walk (Nov 14, before the snow)

One of the joys of living in the country is you never have to pick up dog poop if your dog is trained to go in the bush. One of the disadvantages is you can miss that fact that your dog has worms. Yes, on my first poop pickup, I find something in Hanna’s poop. Google provided the answer, tapeworms. Damn. Why do I get to have all the fun.

Tapeworms are caused by ingesting infected fleas. Treatment – deworming medication to get rid of the worms and getting rid of the fleas on your pet and in your home. I picked up an over the counter homeopathic remedy – HomeoPet WRM CLEAR. Its 100% natural, has no side effects and safe to use for extended periods. The reviews on the product are mixed on the internet, but mostly the negative ones are from folks who preferred a one pill cure rather than the longer but not toxic approach.

I also bought a flea treatment for the cat and dog as well as one for the furniture, horrid chemical stuff. However, more research shows that fleas are dormant in cold weather so since I can’t find any evidence of fleas I opt for hot water washing/drying of all the couch covers, etc and baths for the kids. Hanna loves to lick Sox, so I won’t spray that stuff on her unless necessary.

Thankfully, Sox does not appear to have any. I’m pretty sure this is from the rabbit carcass she found in the bush (September or October). It probably had fleas. I had to throw it down the outdoor biffy to keep her away from it.
Was Hanna happy to see Ken come home? Well if the puddle of pee is any indication, I would say yes. There is very little chance that Ken will get to leave the room any time soon without his shadow.

We are heading back to the Ponderosa tonight after the after work walk. Hanna will sleep contentedly all the way home. Sox doesn’t seem to mind travelling in her carrier. We all could use a weekend in the country. Sox, Hanna and I did go back last weekend. It was a glorious relaxing weekend. I cleaned up the house – swept up all the sawdust, picked up all the pieces of lumber lying everywhere and made a shelf for all the tools. We will so how much of my cleaning work Ken can undo this weekend.

Things that I will miss with the animals gone:
– Joyful welcome homes and big doggy kisses
– Long walks – walking 3 hours a day is great exercise.
– Being out in the sunshine and lots of fresh air
– Contented kitty purrs

Things that I look forward to with the animals are gone:
– Having time for my yoga & stretch classes
– Not being woken up at 2 a.m. by a rambunctious game of bat the ball with the bell in it.
– Not having to get dressed and go outside at 4 a.m. to watch the dog go pee.
– Not having to examine poop.
– Not having to walk home at lunch
– Clean floors
– Time to cook

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About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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