We miss you already!
With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our familiar abode in Dulwich Village this past Saturday. There is much that we will miss about our terrace house in London – most of all our cat charge, Mavis. As Meredith commented to the homeowners when we said our goodbyes, “Mavis truly is the most sweet and gentle cat I have ever encountered.”
I think this brings up an overlooked aspect of long term house sitting that many will experience: loss of the pet. Although it is not your pet to begin with, the attachment and bond you form on a longer house sit is real. In our case, we work from home most of the day and were present with Mavis more often than not. She changed from a skittish and timid cat when we first arrived, to one that would come and lay on our bed in the upstairs room – a room she supposedly did not visit much prior to our arrival.
(Sleeping Mavster on her usual comfy spot)
We certainly came to see Mavis as our cat – feeding her, brushing her every morning, playing with her, and making sure she was happy. At the same time, we knew that we only had a defined time period to spend with Mavis and then it would be over.
Overcoming Pet Sitting Loss
Whenever you experience the loss of a pet, the emotional impact can be like losing a family member. Pet sitters on longer assignments must learn to form attachments to animals in order to provide for the emotional needs of the animal, while at the same time realizing that the attachment cannot last forever.
Let the natural process of grieving and loss happen. It may sound silly to think that you could experience loss or depression just from leaving an animal that you took care of for 10 weeks, but loss is loss. Deal with it in a constructive ways and do what you need to in order to move forward.
We took some memorable photos of Mavis that we can use to reminisce from time to time. We also built a good relationship with the homeowner and know that if we ever wanted to video chat to see Mavis again, that is an option.
Knowing that Mavis has her mom & dad back is comforting for the Nomad Newlyweds. We feel sorrowful that we may not see Mavis again in person (unless a second house sit opportunity arises), but contented in the knowledge that her original caretakers will look after her and make her happy for the remainder of her life.
The sleepy little town south of the River Thames called Dulwich Village will always have a place in our hearts as our first real house sitting assignment. More than that, we settled into life so effortlessly in Dulwich that it truly came to be our home.
Hello Stony Stratford
After saying our goodbyes to the wonderful homeowner couple and to Mavis the cat, we boarded the commuter train with our worldly possessions neatly packed away in one suitcase, one carry-on, and one laptop bag each. Train-Subway-Overground-Bus-Train-Taxi.
Advice for those who decide to travel with luggage on an Easter weekend in London: Don’t!
We got caught in train line construction and were diverted from our final destination in a sort of Trains, Planes, and Automobiles way – luckily we didn’t have to spend the night sharing a motel room with a stranger.
Del: Why are you holding my hand?
Neal: Where’s your other hand?
Del: Between two pillows…
Neal: Those aren’t pillows!
Life wouldn’t be complete without a favorite quote from a classic travel related movie!
We pulled up to our second house sitting assignment in the UK around 9pm and promptly found the key waiting patiently under the flower box. Yes, some people still live in a bygone era where the key is placed under the pot or front door mat and you must call the next door neighbors who await your pending arrival. Quaint is an understatement.
Our new feline friend, Sir Bobbie, came running to meet us at the door. Yet another friendly and sweet cat that we will have to relinquish back to its owner in only two weeks time.
Stony Statford: The Jewel of Milton Keynes
Stumbling around the small town at 9:15pm with nothing but food on our minds, we passed on the bar blaring disco music and strobe lights and opted for a gourmet BBQ house called The Smoke Shack to fill our hungry bellies.
(Above) Smoke Shack Steak, Fries, and Slaw by The Smoke Shack
Maybe it was the lack of nourishment speaking, but Meredith commented:
“This is one of the BEST hamburger and french fry combination I have ever had in my life.”
Individual wire frame french fry baskets with triple cooked fries come plated on a wood cutting board accompanied by a mouth-watering, flavor infused hamburger and coleslaw. Mmmm… a treat as much for the eyes as for the nose and mouth.
Stony Stratford is a market town with structures and buildings dating as far back as 1483, resembling an English village out of a Dickens novel. Its many pubs, restaurants and specialist shops attract visitors from some distance; I overheard the newlywed couple sitting next to us at The Smoke Shack tell the waitress that they drove 40 minutes just to eat at this particular restaurant. I can’t wait to explore more culinary delights and tourist attractions in the days to come.
(Above Left) The Old George Hotel; (Above Right) High Street in Stony Stratford