House Sitting those "Spoiled" Dogs

I watched in awe yesterday as a woman on TV explained how she spent thousands of dollars buying her children costly clothes, exotic holidays, expensive cars, and other lavish gifts as a reward for bringing home a good school report. On one occasion she arranged a party for her daughter that cost over one million dollars.
She admitted it was indulgent to spend so much on the children but said it was not doing any harm. She said her children were doing well in school, and that they were polite, humble, and well-adjusted. From the little we saw of them, that seemed to be the case.
Most people would call her children spoiled but I am not so sure. I think the great thing was the way she linked the reward to what she felt was “good” behaviour.
It made me think of some of the pets I have looked after. Some of them lived in mansions, and some of them in much more modest circumstances, but they were all happy and healthy.
In my very first house sit, there were three dogs and the owner described them as “spoiled” dogs.
They had the most complicated feeding routine that I have ever seen. Twice a day they had three types of food in their bowls, and when I went out they had a snack. Each meal seemed to include every variety of dog food ever made as well as some butcher meat that would have made a good stew. Half the cupboards in the kitchen were taken over with their dry food and treats.
They had to go for a walk together, so it took ages to walk just around the block. Especially when the smallest insisted everyone else stop at every interesting tree, post, plant, or what looked to me like an unremarkable grass patch. I could almost see the German Shepherd rolling his eyes when we stopped for the tenth time in twenty metres.
There was no use trying to hurry the little one along. The others knew who was boss, and I quickly learned for myself that unless I was prepared to drag her along the street, then I might as well put up with it.
Despite all this, they were just the loveliest dogs. They were patient with me and each other. They never clamoured for attention, or fought. They seemed happy, well-adjusted, and just plain content with their life.

In another home the three dogs were less restrained. They charged around the house making mess, dragged bones and sticks into the home, and sometimes wet the floor at night, despite there being an open dog door for them, I think the dogs were used to making their own rules because the family was out for most of the day at work.
In one home the dog would hide whenever anyone came by, including the owner, unless it was raining and then she needed a cuddle. In another home I walked two tiny dogs that would have chased people down the street if they could.
I looked after elegant cats, and moggies, and chickens, and fish, and I once looked after two four-hundred pound steer that used to try and hide behind a tree when I walked by.
There are so many advantages to house sitting and meeting the pets is one of them. After all the reason I got to house sit at all was often because people wanted me to look after their often “spoiled” pets. I learned to love them all.
I loved seeing how pets (like children) that have food, shelter, and most of all affection, are by and large well-adjusted whether they live in a mansion or a rundown inner city home. 

To learn more about house sitting, along with fun house sitting stories and tales of my adventures around Australia, go to or to buy my book.

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