Two happy small dogs in the heart of London Ontario
Hello! Welcome to our profile! My husband Caomhan (pronounced Kwee-von, it's Gaelic!) and I are originally from Ireland, and moved here to Canada 8 years ago. Caomhan works in sales and marketing at a local craft brewery here in London, and I am currently going to university as a mature student for Social Work. Our two dogs are Orson and Elmo, both are rescues from Kentucky, and are around 6 years old. They are small to medium dogs, weighing in and around 30lbs each (Elmo is the bigger one) and they are genuinely our children! Prior to moving to Canada, we did a LOT of travelling, eventually settling here in London. Since adopting our dogs, we have had to limit our travelling, so we decided to join Trusted Housesitters so that we can have a bit more freedom to explore this beautiful country we now call home!
Our Home & Location
Our house is located just outside the downtown core of London, in a very quiet and friendly neighbourhood. It is an adorable two bedroom bungalow, with a big fenced yard and a fire pit out back. The master bedroom is in the basement (note-VERY low ceiling so if you are tall, you may want to sleep upstairs) and a spare bedroom on the main floor. Both are very comfortable and we take a lot of pride in our home, we are obsessed with second-hand finds and mid-century modern furniture! We have air conditioning so if the weather is too hot, go ahead and use it to your hearts content! London is a great city, with lots of fun stuff to do. If beer is your thing, the brewery we work at (I work part time) is called Anderson Craft Ales, and it's an excellent spot with a nice patio. There is a farmers market that runs Saturday and Sunday mornings called the Western Fair Farmers Market, which is awesome and is the best place to get fruits and veggies and baked goods in the city. Our house is on a many bus routes, so if you don't have access to a vehicle that is not a problem at all, and there are two large grocery stores 15 min walk away. We will leave more detailed information regarding bus routes in our home in a binder for you, along with suggestions for things to do and places to eat in the area! We are also very close with our neighbours, so if there is an emergency they are always willing to help out.
Responsibilities & Pets
Ok so here we go! Our dogs are happy and friendly, but can be vocal ("A leaf fell outside! We must protect our home!"), especially when new people come in to the house. So the first time meeting them can be a little loud! Orson, although smaller and quieter, is the dominant dog, and Elmo is the lover. Elmo's entire goal in life is to lick your face forever. He is the friendliest dog I have ever met, so if you don't like dogs who crawl on your lap and constantly want love, then this is not the house for you! Orson is very soft (Literally. He feels like velvet!) and sweet, but he takes a little bit to warm up to you. Note that Orson was extremely emotionally damaged when we adopted him, and although he has come a VERY long way and is an absolute sweetheart, he is very highly strung and likes to control everything/always know what is going on. He can be vocal while doing so and will bark at you if he is not getting enough attention/if he has energy to burn. Generally though they both tolerate each other, but I wouldn't say they are best buddies. I like to think that Elmo is Orson's annoying baby brother and Orson is the emotional teenager haha! So as a result of Orson's controlling personality, he has in the past fought with Elmo. He has never hurt him physically, but it can be a bit of a scary thing to witness as it will go from zero to 100 in a split second. There are two main triggers to look out for:
1. If Elmo yelps for any reason (e.g. if they are playfighting and it gets too rough, or if you accidentally hurt Elmo or something), Orson will likely try to fight him.
2. If Orson is sitting/cuddling with someone and Elmo tries to intervene and get attention too, this can trigger Orson. Not every time, but occasionally.
Their fights are very easily broken up though, and as Orson is not really fully trying to hurt Elmo, he is more so putting him "in his place", then there is no risk of getting bitten yourself. Usually, we just pick Orson up, bring him in to the kitchen and throw a bunch of kibble on the floor. It sounds nuts, but it is the only thing that diffuses the situation. We are all about positive distraction methods.
On that note, here are some big things you need to know:
1. They can never, EVER go off leash outside of our yard. They WILL run away. They are hounds, so they follow their noses. If they for some reason get loose, they will likely be down int he forest behind our house, chasing squirrels and rabbits. We will draw a map for this and leave it in the binder.
2. As I said above, we use positive reinforcement methods of training. We are adamantly against all types of shock collars, prong collars, and punishment. Orson came to us so scared and abused that he would cower when we pet him, so they get only love and positive reinforcement, and it works for them and us.
3. They do not like other dogs. On walks, you should cross the street when other dogs approach, don't let them try to engage, this is something we are working on in controlled environments and attempting to engage with other dogs outside of that could set our training back by months. In our neighbourhood it is very easy to avoid other dogs and all our neighbours know that our dogs are jerks to other dogs so they avoid us!
4. They are pretty stuck their mealtimes, and Elmo will throw up if he doesn't eat for a long period of time. Their main mealtimes are 8am, and 5pm, with a snack at 1pm and 8pm. They get snacks so that Elmo's stomach does not get unsettled.
5. We don’t leave them alone for more than 5 hours at a time, so it is important that you factor this and their mealtimes in to your daily plans!
6. They get walked for about 40 mins twice a day, right after breakfast and right after dinner. They love spending time outside in good weather, so when you’re home it’s always good to just let the chill outside. Keep an eye on them though, as they do like to dig!
7. This is SUPER important: when letting them outside at night, you MUST check for skunks first. We have a lot of skunks in our neighbourhood and these poor guys have been sprayed three times. We are now vigilant!! The last thing you want on your vacation is to be dealing with a skunked dog-trust me!! We will leave detailed instructions on what to do if that happens in the binder....
So that is a general run down! Our dogs are happy and wonderful and are easy to care for although I know I’m not making it sound like that! I just wanted to make sure that these points were laid out so that you can make an informed decision. If you know dogs and are comfortable around them then you will have a lovely stay with two little snuggly boys! + More info