– Oh, my … carrot, it has had a heart attack, was the first thought that went through my mind, when I saw the big dog lying motionless on the roadside.
– What do I do now? What a horrible thing. What will the sweet old ladies say now. They left their beloved dogs in my care and on the first day I killed one of them!
I had come to California from Denmark a week earlier, and a Russian friend had arranged that I could visit her Russian and American mothers while traveling in California on my own. The mothers were about to leave for a vacation in Costa Rica, and we agreed that I would take care of their house and two dogs.
The big house was on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What a dream place to use as a base for exploring the surroundings a couple of weeks! In addition, I could use their cars in the garage.
The dogs were old, somewhere between 10 and 20 years. Mischa was a big labrador-like dog and Saidi a tiny, almost blind, white poodle. The dog sitting instructions were easy: feed the dogs in the morning, let them out in the garden, and in the evening take the dogs in and feed them.
However, already first morning alone with the dogs, I thought I had better walk the dogs. Isn’t that what owners do with their dogs? I went looking for dog leashes but could not find any. In the garage I found some thin rope and used that as a leash, one rope for each dog.
First the dogs were not too keen on walking on the road leading from the house. Maybe they were fearful or just too used to lying down in the garden the whole day, I thought. After a while they became more interested in sniffing the smells on the side of road.
Suddenly, on an uphill part of the road, Misha, the big dog, got very excited. It set out on a wild run and I lost hold of the rope. I tried to run after it with Saidi behind me, but it could not keep up. I took it under my arm and continued running. After a few hundred yards Misha suddenly fell and lie totally immovable on the road side.
– I have to resuscitate it, I realized. But how do I know where its heart is? And how to give a dog mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? This I had never learnt ,and in fact I felt a bit disgusted at the thought…
Luckily, when I touched Mischa’s head, it opened the eyes, starting waving the tail and after a while got onto its feet. Maybe it just had felt a sudden need for a short nap.
Anyhow, I took the dogs back home, and enjoyed a lot of less strenuous moments together with them reading books and watching television in the evenings, after the dogs had had a restful day in the garden and I had explored the surrounding regions.
If you love dogs or other animals and want to spend a cheap vacation in some other part of the world house- and animal sitting, there are several organizations that facilitate that. Below are links to a couple of them: