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Muir Woods Paved Hiking Trail

Image via Wikipedia

This morning I look out the window to misty skies while the grey muzzle of a 10-year-old golden retriever nudges me for more scratches. It is very quiet outside. Too quiet.  I’m used to the never-ending sound of Sunset Blvd roaring through the night and into the day, so ever-present it is like the sound of the ocean. Up here in a canyon near Mulholland there are many trees muffling what little sound comes from the road. The only sound from the road is the occasional (but consistent) roar of a Range Rover or Escalade running a stop sign going up the hill. I will never understand the need to run stop signs. Isn’t that just flirting with disaster?

The house I am in is a pleasant one. It is large, with pastel colors creating a soft space; family photos line the walls along with photos of their animals. My retriever’s housemate is a 12-year-old cat who acts like a dog. Have you ever met one of those? They are very funny.

(By the way, cats need almost as much attention as dogs so throwing down kibble, cleaning the litter box, a pat on the head and you are gone isn’t enough. No wonder they do devious things when their owners leave them.)

I’ve taken care of homes and animals in many places; a giant loft in New York City’s SOHO where the funny little dog and I snuggled on a very small cot listening to the sounds of the city become more muffled as snow fell. In Montecito, CA I cared for an ancient Labrador and youthful Corgis. The three of us would spend our mornings strolling a dog friendly beach, leisurely taking in the beauty of the area. In Echo Park, safely bolted behind a high fence, I painted with the company of a dog named Frog who enjoyed playing ball in a swimming pool. The sounds outside were gunshots, parties, kids playing and the tamales man walking by with freshly made Mexican food.

Don't bother me I'm working

On Mount Tamalpais I stayed in a tree house of sorts that made strange sounds at night. Outside a path took me deep into Muir Woods if I chose; a short car drive away was the lovely Pelican Inn, a cozy, warm place for a Guinness on a foggy day. In Dana Point my Labrador companion and I took long walks along the coast and dug holes in the sand at Trails.

Closer to home the houses are all large but friendly. My clients are all warm and loving people who have become dear friends. Their animals are cherished beings that are considered part of the family, which is why they call me.

The furthest I’ve traveled to care for another living being was 2 months in the Irish countryside outside Limerick, but she was a human being; another story altogether.

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