We’re seeking well experienced and very reliable house, garden and dog sitters (a couple preferred but experienced individuals considered), with sound references, to care for our Maremma sheepdog, Abbie, our home and large gardens in this very beautiful and temperate part of Australia from about Saturday 27 July to Thursday 24 October 2018.
The house sitting and garden care will be the easiest part. There’s no use glossing over the fact that caring for Abbie will be by far the biggest challenge. Maremmas are a 2000-year-old species of guardian dogs, brought to Australia from Italy to be left alone in the fields to bond with and to guard flocks of sheep and poultry and herds of cattle against foxes and wild dogs. Maremmas are therefore very independent and single minded.
Abbie, who has easily administered daily medication, is bonded to us – we are her pack – and it takes three or four days at the very least for her to accept guests and to get used to the fact that there's someone else caring for her, preparing her food, feeding her and walking her. She’s big (40kg) and strong but when she gets to know and respect you, she responds lovingly to firm and fair handling. That's why you'll spend a couple of weeks with us getting used to her routine and Abbie getting used to you before we sneak our suitcases out the back (it's when she spots the suitcases that she really knows we're going somewhere without her and gets in a temporary blue funk).
Abbie responds very well to mature age women but her best friend who visits from Sydney every weekend to walk her, is a male. Abbie also understands a large English vocabulary which is helpful in her everyday life with us and with her adult human friends.
Our guess is that you will need to be quite experienced in handling medium size to large dogs to do this house, garden and dog sit successfully and enjoy it thoroughly. It is also why we need to have you here with us for a least a week or so before we leave so we can all get to know you and you can learn the do's and don'ts.
We’re in a very quiet, hidden valley not far from Jamberoo village, about 10km inland from beachfront Kiama on the NSW south coast, surrounded by rare native forest on one side and sweeping green dairy pastures on the other. We have one of the mildest climates in Australia and only very rarely get winter frosts.
We have a modern house on a landscaped acreage, with large enclosed vegetable garden which you’re welcome to plant and harvest in addition to the vege plants we have growing there.
We rely entirely on rainwater for all purposes from our three large tanks but you won’t run short of water, although you have to be sensible and sparing, particularly when developing a routine for both the watering of the vegetable garden beds and the larger areas of landscape gardens.
Your accommodation is either in the house or in a spacious, very comfortable self-contained unit with outdoor area and BBQ facilities, in a lovely setting, downstairs. It's your choice.
If you wanted to bring your own accommodation, there’s a flat paved area for a caravan or motorhome (neither longer than about 7m) close to the house upstairs and with power and water connections available.
And despite the fact that we’re in the country, we have WiFi internet and mobile phone range (Telstra). If this sounds like a place you’d like to live in peace, quiet, comfort and with nature in springtime in what’s known as Australia’s Riviera, and you’d like to become a friend/s of Abbie’s, we’ll very much welcome your inquiry.
If at all possible, we will also seek to meet and talk with you as we go through the process of making our final selection of sitter/sitters.
If you're convinced you'd enjoy the challenge of Abbie, the home and garden care and this beautiful and peaceful environment, we'd very much like to hear from you.
Graham and Ann
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