House Sitting Week 2


The dog walking saga continues, and I come to grips with …

Taking out the trash

Embarrassingly to some, I’m a stickler for the rules when it comes to trash collection. It’s partly about helping out the next person down the trash line. Why should she have a shitty day because of me. It’s partly about the long-term outcome.

I trace this attitude back to my childhood on the farm. There was a spot, in a stand of eucalypts beyond the house-yard but before the main paddocks, where rubbish had been dumped over the years. In the city, you’ll never see your rubbish again. On the farm, we drove past it regularly. We were told not to play there because it was dangerous; a very significant instruction considering all the places we played and climbed that would be off limits to today’s kids.

It looked out of place, at odds with it’s surroundings, even wrong … but with no obvious alternative.

In my twenties, back in the days when salvaging from the local tip was allowed, or at least tolerated, I rescued a few items. My favourite find, still, is an old wooden ammunition box. It was filled with sewing patterns from the 1950s. I quickly emptied it, carried it back to the car with much excitement and started filling it with personal memories.

To this day, I severely regret not keeping the patterns!

The local trash collection now governing my weekly existence is a new experience. There are three bins – recycling, green waste and the un-recyclable garbage. I’m quite sure my snotty tissues should be classified as toxic waste (it’s a nasty side effect of having a cold during hayfever season). However, the instructions say I can put them in both the green waste and the un-recyclables. Red lid? Green lid? Red lid? For someone who wants to follow the rules, I’m feeling a bit paralysed!

But … I was pleasantly surprised to discover on the council website that I can take my old toothbrushes to the local library for recycling. Setting aside pictures of librarians using them to clean the dusty books, it turns out Colgate has a recycling program.  That can be a task for House Sitting Week 3.

Back to the dog

I reported on our first two walks in my last housing sitting post. Things were going well.

Unfortunately, our third walk was a disaster. An unaccompanied female dog created havoc with our routine.

Can you picture it?

Duke unfurls his actual strength, I’m struggling to get him off the road, he wriggles out of the leash, I run around like a mad woman trying to get a hold of his collar.

Big SUVs and utes driven by men in high-vis work gear stop to let the dogs pass, and then drive off. So much for my “no witnesses” plan.

I valiantly carry on, tempted to phone for help. The only way to keep matters under control is to firmly grasp his collar while we walk back home. Can’t really manage the phone under these circumstances. She, the unaccompanied female, tags along … all … the … way.

The swollen finger was a sign that something had to change. It did. We now walk in a harness with a shorter lead.

Getting Duke into a harness was the next hurdle. He thinks its a game. Two more injuries (scratched and bruised) and twenty minutes later, off we went. So Much Better.

We’ve walked a few times with the harness and it now takes only a minute or two to put on. The walks are controlled. As a compromise, we stop when he wants to stop and I walk as fast as I can for as long as I can. It’s working beautifully. One day, he might voluntarily sit when we approach a road but we’ve only got three weeks before I hand him back.



Parkes Shire Council, “Did You Know You Can Recycle Your Old Toothbrush?“,

Colgate, “Oral Care Recycling Program“,




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