Dog sitting in the outer hebrides
I have been living on Lewis for about 18 months and have had jock since around about Christmas. He's a great dog and a good traveller regularly coming with me when I work in the uists and making trips to see friends on the mainland. Sadly he has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur so I'm reluctant to put him under the stress of to much travel. His heart is very well managed on medication and he continues to have a happy and active life but just more rest days and a little more care and consideration than before. Jock had a lovely local dog sitter where he stayed with two other dogs. Unfortunately she is sick so we're hoping some lovely dog lovers will come spend time with jock in his home. This September trip actually consists of 3 separate holidays for me so can be split.
Our Home & Location
Jock and I live in a two bedroom traditional stone croft house in the broadbay area of the beautiful Isle of lewis. It's situated 7 miles from the main township of Stornoway but there is a shop, post office, pharmacy and cafe within easy walking distance. There are also 2 beautiful beaches and a lovely cliff walk within 15 minutes walk. A car is advisable but not essential as there is a regular bus service from outside the house to Stornoway. Buses run about every hour or so till around 10 or 11 on a Friday and Saturday and there are good connections from Stornoway to the rest of lewis and Harris.
Lewis is the most populated island in the archipelago of the western isles which is situated off the North West Coast of mainland Scotland. It is remote, a 2 1/2hour ferry from Ullapool or hourish flight from Glasgow or Inverness. You can take another 2 1/2 hour boat trip to St kilda, the remotest islands of Britain and a unesco world heritage site. Well worth the effort I hear but something to do before or after you have Jock as he couldn't be left that long....
If your an outdoorise person there is plenty to do. Great surf and kayaking and good dive sites. The waters here are crystal clear and brimming with life including whales, dolphins, basking sharks, seals and otters. On land there are plenty of beautiful beaches (luskintyre on the Isle of Harris has recently been voted the third most beautiful beach in the world - its about an hours drive and jock loves it there), birdwatching (we have breeding golden and white tailed eagles as well as lots of gannets, plovers, curlews and many more) and there is the clisham which is a popular hill with walkers and climbers alike (again I don't think one for jock but worth checking out as you're in the neighbourhood).
The gaelic culture is strong here and the western isles has the highest proportion of native gaelic speakers in Scotland so good if you're into languages. Religion is important to the people of the islands and many respect the sabbath. For you this means no buses and most shops and tourist attractions will be closed. I live very close to one of the churches so would appreciate some consideration on Sundays like not putting washing or doing work in the garden. The past and family relations are also important so in most of the villages there are archives of people past and family ties. Going back further there are 2 well preserved forts and of course the magnificent Callanish stones. You'll find lots more information about the island at www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk
I can't remember where I saw someone describe the hebrides as jewels scattered in the sea but the longer I live here the more I think this to be true. There are 2 major downfalls though. The weather and midges (tiny but vicious biting insects that hang around in overcast conditions and can make you life an absolute misery. Luckily smidge, cold, sunshine, wind and rain keep the little beasties at bay - it will most likely be to cold for the blighters when you get her so the will most likely be gone at least mostly gone). This is a watery place with lochs a plenty so gets its fair share of rain. The wind can be strong at times and 100 mile an hour winds are not unheard of. Unlike most of the UK we're not making a fuss when winds get up to 40 miles an hour with 60 to 80 miles winds happening regularly enough. This being said on a good day (which we do get plenty of) there is nowhere more beautiful. The weather here really is the best and worse of the place. + More info
Responsibilities & Pets
Jock is a 14 year old border collie. He has a lovely nature and is very fit for his age. As I mentioned in the introduction he has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur so needs more attention these days.
He takes two medications twice a day. One he needs to have on an empty stomach the other makes him pee a lot so he needs frequent and regular walks and a bit of consideration around meal times. I work full time so he keeps to a routine to fit in with me. I usually take him out for an hour an hour after each medication then he gets a couple of comfort walks but as long as he has exercise and access to the outside he doesn't need to stick to a strict routine....
Jock absolutely loves a walk he is good on and off the lead. He's usually good with other dogs but can be a bit intense at times especially around female dogs. He's not really one for toys or balls, occasionally he'll find something and want you to throw it but this is rare (not sure whether this is just because he's old. I've only had him for a very small part of his life). He doesn't chase sheep or rabbits (thankfully) but really enjoys chasing birds on the beach so we often go right by the waterline so he can get a good run. He does live for his walks but when he's not out and about spends a lot of time asleep. He's good in the car and on ferries so if you want to take him a bit further afield he would be very grateful I'm sure. Although I tend to keep him to walks of an hour or so he still manages the occasional 2-3 hour walk and can travel in the car for a couple of hours comfortably. I've taken him camping which he's enjoyed but if you decide to do this you might want to keep him in the car overnight or tie him up. The last time we went while I was sleeping he got up and made friends. + More info