Reflections from a K9 sitting Rookie

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Today, Mom will share some thoughts on her nine days K9 sitting Austin.

When I offered to take care of Austin while his family (my employer!) enjoyed a much deserved holiday, I never imagined how much I would learn from the experience. My intention was simply to let Austin know he was loved and cared for in the absence of his day-to-day forever family. As many readers know, I have a penchant (vocab builder) for golden retrievers, and dog sitting brought me back to my teen years where I often looked after my Aunt and Uncle’s once-in-a-lifetime golden girl, Brandy.

The first reaction that surprised me came from fellow humans who expressed surprise that I would visit Austin four times a day. My thought pattern followed the “do what you do for Jet and JJ” mentality. I take them out four times a day, why would I treat Austin differently?

As with humans, K9s have their own personalities. Within a day or so, I learned:

  • Austin likes his tush scratched, much like Dixie does!
  • He barely drinks water… at least when I looked. Jet and JJ drink as if they are preparing for a trek in the Sahara.
  • He felt comfortable to ingest breakfast and dinner only when I sat at the kitchen table.
  • You can tell that several members of his human family are left handed. (How you ask? I hold a leash in my right hand and if I’m walking only one dog, usually keep them to the right. Austin, on leash, always exited the house on my left side and naturally stayed on that side. He caught on and quickly adapted most of the time to his right handed temporary caretaker.)
  • He absolutely LOVES fetch, chewing and Frisbee; he needed new toys in my opinion. (read here.)
  • His family warned me about his inability to get along with other K9s. Of course, I brought JJ on Day 1 and he did reasonably well. I would have liked to bring her each night for an evening constitutional, but, I felt another person would have helped at the beginning and … Rachel was not in the mood.
  • His family warned me that he might challenge me during walks. I did not experience this; we did practice non-pulling ideas. I noticed that Austin pulled more walking away from home versus towards home which was contrary to my assumptions.
  • His family warned me that Austin might misbehave if he saw another dog while walking. The few times we passed other dogs; I kept him on my right, stayed calm, and continued walking…no big deal.
  • You can tell his family uses a gentle leader because when he did get excited outside, he looked like one of those beautiful prancing horses that bob up and down while executing fancy footwork!
  • On our evening walks, we passed 2 homes on large, fenced in property, separating 2 dogs on one property and 6 dogs on another. To say they barked like crazy and tracked us on the fence line is a strong understatement. I decided that every time I saw Austin get excited I would get in front of his laser line of vision and ask him to sit. I wish I thought of bringing treats; instead, I praised him and gave him a teensy head massage. He picked up the pattern easily.
  • I waffled on whether he liked grooming like JJ and Jet. They relax at the end of the night as I comb them out. I brought my combs and brushes to see if Austin felt more comfortable. He seemed ok with the idea, he didn’t really relax though.
  • Belly rubs, well they were another story. I sat on the floor with him on all four daily visits, played with him and ended each visit with a belly rub, a head massage and lovies. After giving him his new rope on Thursday, he used the rope like Linus used his blanket, which made me smile.

I will enjoy having my 3 ½ hours a day back, but, I will miss that waggy guy. I may have to ask my boss if I can schedule a visit from time to time.

Another great, little teary saying goodbye to Austin, day.

20 thoughts on “Reflections from a K9 sitting Rookie

    • Hey Mollie, Hey Alfie, Jet here.

      Mom asked me to share a big thank you for your kind words. She’s going to miss him, too. She’s going back for one last turn down service in about 1.5 hours. She thinks she’ll groom him so he will be extra handsome for when his human brother returns. 🙂

  1. When we dog sit the dog usually stays with us at our house and mom treats them just like one of her own dogs. Most people tell us similar things to what they told you – oh, you don’t need to walk him or he has his own treats but we take our guests everywhere with us, on walks, in the car, even to Gramma’s house sometimes and they get the same treats we do so everyone has the same thing. I think the guest dogs really appreciate it as they are usually really happy and the humans are amazed that we do all that but why not – let the dog have a fun vacation as well!

    • Hey Emma, Jet here.

      EXACTLY… Austin’s humans were too concerned he might show aggression towards JJ and me, so, they asked Mom to go there.

      Mom believes and assumes all will be harmonious and if not, she will create that environment or figure out options. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, we really admire your efforts, too.

  2. You are a good doggie caretaker. In fact, it sounds like you know a whole lot more about dogs and their behavior than Austin’s real family. You’re awfully sweet buying him new toys, too. That’s above and beyond. 🙂

    • Hey Bella, Jet here. HI Miss Leslie.

      Mom asked me to share a big thank you. She’s a curious human and enjoys observing and figuring out things. Thanks for saying that about the toys… even though Mom LEFT US OUT this time… We have a bunch of toys littering our floors, so, can’t blame her. 🙂

  3. Hi sweet Jetty – this post made me realize why I am so fond of and respect and admire your Mom so much and how truly special she is! She was so in tuned with Austin’s needs – she knows dogs so well – she really put so much effort into taking care of Austin, helping him and teaching him and taking the best care and showering him with much love. This post touched my heart and made me smile – please give her some extra Jetty hugs and kisses from me. I know Austin is really gonna miss her.

    sending HOORAY for your MOM goodnight hugs and kisses to you, JJ, Mom, Rachel and Pluffy xoxoxo

    • Hey it’s Jet here. Hi Miss Wendy.

      Gosh, Miss Wendy, you made Mom feel so special with your kind words. I gave her the extra lovies you requested. (mostly on her feet!) You would be just the same if you were K9 sitting, I would “bet the farm” on it!

      Turns out, Austin’s Dad asked Mom to pass by for one last turn down service in a few hours because his human son will return late! Mom decided she will play a little fetch and then groom him to make sure he’s extra handsome for his human brother’s return.

      BTW, she got pretty friendly with the outside cat. She calls it (gender unknown) Little Cat because compared to Pluffy, it’s a pipsqueak! Little Cat let her pet him/her and hung around at feeding times.

      Sending thank you on Mom’s behalf Jetty kisses and JJ hugs to you, Mr. David, Jacob, Cassie, Rex and Barkley xoxoxoxo

      • aww that is very cute about Little Cat – Little Cat is smart hanging around your sweet Mom – the cat must know that your Mom is a very special person xoxoxo

  4. It does help to take treats along on walks (in case of crazy barking episodes). Sounds like you had fun with Austin and did a great job! I usually do the belly rubs with our dog just before I go to bed.

  5. I need a pet sitter like mom to watch Sampson and Delilah when I go away. Dang, she’s real good. I hope you realize how good you’ve got it Jetty. 🙂 And JJ too!

    • Hey Sampson, Hey Delilah, Jet here. Hi Miss Jodi.

      SHHHHHHhhhhh… do not say this so loudly… or Mom will hop the next plane for your next vacation! And then what happens to Casa Jet?

      We appreciate Mom, we really do… she saved my life and bettered JJ’s… She always says we have done the same for her! 🙂

  6. Hiya Jetty and Miss Lori! (JJ and Pluffy too!)…whew..I am on a marathon visit schedule! I am sooooooooooo behind visiting…I can’t believe anyone even comes around to say hi to me! How do you do it with Mom working so hard and then she added another almost 4 hours with pet sitting sweet Austin! You guys are just great! Miss Lori, you are the best pet caretaker! We think you were probably the best thing that has happened to Austin in a while! Thinking a Golden is aggressive around other dogs is sort of contrary (VBP) to what we know about Goldens??!! ANyways, Mom says, you know she used to train dogs for obedience and showing, she says Austin may have been trained to walk on the left because that is what dogs learn in obedience school…heel is always on the bipeds left. That way, if the biped walks against traffic, the dog is always on the inside and not in danger of getting feisty and lunging in front of oncoming traffic. Anyways, thank goodness Austin had the experience of being pampered by Miss Lori! paw pats, Savannah

    • Hey Savannah, Jet here. Hi Miss Linda.

      Bravo! Bravo for catching up. We’re trying the same tonight as Mom took MAJOR naps today to catch up on much needed sleep.

      We feel the same about other kind blogpals who visit when Mom can’t keep up… we are most fortunate.

      Mom tries her best, what else can JJ, Pluffy, and I ask of her?

      Thanks for your kind compliments about Mom’s care taking of Austin. We agree about aggressive goldens…

      OH… thank you for the clarification (VBP) about the heel, another talent we didn’t know about your Mom! Guess you can tell that we have not had formal training!

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