Cath’s Chat – How I began looking after dogs with Holidays4Dogs.
Having been ‘owned by dogs’ for most of my life, the sad and heart breaking loss of the last of our three dogs made me realise how much I disliked the way my house felt so empty. Also on the odd occasion when I forced myself out for a walk, I was very uncomfortable with the strange looks I got from other people – they do look at you oddly when out for a stroll with no dog! But the thing I really missed was having no greeting when I came back home. Then in 2009 I read articles in the Yorkshire Post about Claire and H4D, and was immediately prompted to enquire.
Soon afterwards Claire came to visit my husband and me at home to check our house and garden met with the requirements for becoming a carer. When she was happy that all was OK there was a visit from the animal welfare inspector and Leeds City Council granted us a home boarding licence and the rest, as they say, is history……………
Since then we have had some wonderful canine characters to stay. Fortunately most of them come and take over the house, treating it like a home from home, which is great for us and just as we like it. We have our regular visitors and get a huge welcome from them as they know where the treats and toy cupboards are, the best windows to look out of and all the adventurous dog walks etc. Sometimes they even go home with a doggy bag or toy.
We have had the long and short, young and old to stay along with the gentle giants and the short-tempered smaller dogs – sharing laughter and occasional tears along the way. Friendships have been made with some of their owners and we keep in touch with a quite a few. They have sometimes delivered sad news about our four- legged friends but have also sent brilliant photos of new additions. We feel honoured to be included in their highs and lows.
We take photos of our visitors both as an extra security and for our ‘Rogues Gallery’ – the fridge door. I usually send an owner a reassuring text update after the first night’s stay and where possible, when they go home again we send on a photo album along with a postcard from their pooch. Following a dog’s holiday with us it’s always nice to see the greetings the owners receive on their return – that and the dog often coming back to tell us: “ Look who’s here!” As they leave we just hope that the dog has had a good holiday as well as the owners. It is nice to be trusted to care for their dogs, and to be allowed to borrow them. I am always learning from each breed and no two are the same – just like people.
As far as carer support goes, Holidays4Dogs staff members are always just a phone call away. I send an email after each visit and give feedback along with the photo album link. Then the work begins – washing covers, cleaning carpets, etc and we’re back to an empty house again with treats and toys restocked ready for our next welcome visitor.
I don’t know that all H4D hosts are as soft as we are, but it’s the dog’s holiday too, and being a carer is rather like life – it’s what you put into it. I find it a pleasure to have canine pals back in the house, otherwise there is a chance I’d have a house full of rescue dogs!
Cath Robinson – Holidays4Dogs approved carer
To find out more about becoming a Holidays4Dogs Carer in your area click here