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Critter-Sittin’

This weekend I took some time out of my box-packing schedule to house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle.  They’ve both been dreadfully unwell the last couple of years and my poor cousin has been run ragged looking after them and making sure they’re ok.  She lives several hundred kilometres away so she is forever travelling to and fro to take them to medical appointments and make sure they’re looked after etc.  Every week she drives over 300km both ways to stay with them.  It’s been a very stressful time for all concerned.

Anyway, my cousin decided it would do everyone some good if she arranged a little weekend getaway, now that my Aunt and Uncle were well enough to travel.  My Aunt, though elderly and not in very good health at all, is a very outgoing lady and not one for sitting around doing nothing.  After a long period of recovery from a very serious illness she is pretty much going stir crazy, just being at home and having to “take it easy” all the time.  So a trip away, just for a couple of days, would be just what the doctor ordered.

My Mum and I happily agreed to house-sit for them.  Although I had SO MUCH packing and organising to do at home, it was actually a nice break from all that and gave me some much needed down time.  My Aunt and Uncle have three lovely furry family members – Heidi, a tricolour Rough Collie, Sox, a black and white moggie, and Fibber, a white pony – and so, of course, they were the main priority.  Heidi is an absolute delight – she is loving and gentle, but also fun and playful (she has the biggest box of toys I have ever seen!) and she is a great companion.  She’s pretty happy to just stay by your side most of the time and doesn’t ask for much, other than a few bouts of tug-o-war or “rub my belly”.

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Sox has always been a bit of a devil child – very wild and bad tempered – but she has mellowed a lot in the last couple of years and is now very placid and will give you a smooch if she’s in the right mood.  She makes me laugh because she actually asks to be put to bed at night.  Come 6pm and she meows and gets you to follow her to her “bedroom” (the laundry) where she has every mod-con available, including a cosy bed inside the linen cupboard.  She gets fed, you close the door, and that’s her done for the night.  In the morning, you let her out but she takes her time actually getting up and isn’t in any hurry to rise and shine.  She has the most amazing, upside-down, heart-shaped markings on her face/muzzle.  So pretty!  I’m glad she’s settled down too, because I don’t like to think of her being ill-mannered with my Aunt and Uncle.  She apparently even had a lap the other night with my Uncle, which was a first!

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Fibber is a gentle little pony with a nice temperament.  She unfortunately has laminitis , which is an inflammation of the soft tissue structures that attach the coffin or pedal bone of the foot to the hoof wall.  Very nasty, painful, and can be fatal.  Proper management is essential.  Fibber’s diet is very strict (over-feeding can often result in laminitis) and she is stabled in deep sawdust to give her a comfortable standing position.  Care of her hooves is obviously very important and she has a regular farrier who makes sure her tootsies are in tip-top condition.  She wears little covers over her hooves that help to protect the damaged parts and she is not lame or suffering at the moment.  She put up with my fumbling efforts at putting her covers on at night and whinnied at me across the paddock when I was bringing her food bucket.  Last night was quite stormy and so she was a bit nervous and jittery, but I managed to get her settled and comfy in her stable with her dinner and a warm coat.

She’s actually going to be moving down to the coast, to stay at my other cousin’s equestrian centre.  I think it will be good for her – she will have more company and my Aunt and Uncle will know she’s being cared for.  Her little stable has already been built – it’s really just waiting for when my Aunt and Uncle can bear to say Goodbye to her.  They themselves might be moving to be nearer to my cousin, so it won’t be Goodbye forever, and at least Fibber isn’t going to live with strangers and have an uncertain future.

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So, a nice, relaxing weekend, albeit with extra responsibilities (which I didn’t mind at all).  I am so looking forward to getting my own cats – I have missed being a “proper” animal person.  Having grown up with so many animals around me, I’ve felt like a bit of a fraud the last few years, not having any pets at all, due to renting and ex-hubby being allergic to cat and dog fur.  Be prepared for many, many posts about cats and all things feline-related in the future!  You have been warned! 🙂

I hope my cousin, Aunt and Uncle had a lovely time away.  They’ve all had a rotten couple of years, health-wise, and I know my cousin is really struggling to keep everything together (why does one sibling always carry all the responsibilities?).  I’m glad I could help out, even just for a short time and I hope it gave them a much needed, well deserved break, and some respite from worrying about their health and life in general.

Have a happy day, everyone.  Take care of your four-footed family and friends 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Critter-Sittin’

    1. Thank you – yes, she’s quite a beauty with that face, I think. She’s quite wild so I think the heart is a bit of a “lure” to get you to trust her before she scratches or bites 🙂 But she’s mellowing with age, as most cats do and I think she’s gorgeous.

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