This is it! We arrive at the Dunedin house which will be our home for the next 3 months.
As we have experienced with all of our past house / pet sits, initial nervousness is quickly calmed once we arrive and meet the homeowners and pets. For this Dunedin sit, we have communicated often by email and skype and have even had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners back in California.
We never cease to appreciate the kind efforts of homeowners to make us feel comfortable. Here in Dunedin, a party is hosted in our honor with guests including neighbors, donkey owners, book club members, theater enthusiasts and English teachers. It is perfect to match faces to the names of people we can call upon if needed.
There is a busy day learning the ropes of the house, practicing driving (on the wrong side of the road) and most importantly, meeting and familiarizing ourselves with the day to day lives of our pet charges. Our new crew includes 7 chickens (chooks), 2 Staffordshire terriers (Whistle and Lucy) and 2 donkeys (Travis and Hoti - as in Don Quixote or donkey Hoti!)
We drop the owners at the airport and look at each other. It begins!
This first week flies by. We quickly become comfortable in this interesting straw bale home. After several days we have the pet routine down - feeding all mouths, collecting eggs, mixing vitamins, mucking stall and paddock, cleaning hooves, conducting donkey enrichment activities and walking on Brighton beach with the dogs.
By weeks end, we have mastered the driving and managed, in the process, to not kill each other. We both agree that riding in the passenger seat is harrowing. Julie has confidently assumed animal duties (did I see a donkey laugh?) and Tim has settled into a work routine. A highlight of each day is our beach walk with the dogs.
We venture into Mosgiel and Dunedin for groceries, some meals out, a movie and some local beer and music at a great little venue, The Dog with Two Tails. How very appropriate. We are settling in…