As a family we always look forward to any trip to Cornwall in the UK. This visit was particularly special. Luckily we secured an opportunity for dogsitting in Cornwall. This county has resonance for us as my husband has family here, and we love to visit each Summer. Our charge was a dog called Puffin. She lives in a coast guard cottage in St Agnes. Caring for Puffin proved a joy, and thanks to Kath her owner we were warmly welcomed and shown our duties efficiently before she left. Even as the founder of HouseSitMatch I still get a thrill from housesitting, discovering each new location from the owner’s perspective. We were able to enjoy our daily pet care, home and garden care duties breaking up each day with a tourist visit and coastal walk. As well as getting to know Puffin our visit revealed a few unexpected surprises.
Dogsitting in Cornwall
As a family we’ve always loved dogs. And my husband has family in Cornwall so we are always eager to visit this coast. And I love housesitting so it seemed a good idea. I think being able to housesit somewhere you like and care for a resident dog is the ultimate treat. When this housesit first appeared on the website listings I was so excited because it was situated near my husband’s relatives. Arrangements were made, and three weeks later we arrived at Kath’s house.
The Meet and Greet
The first thing Kath did was introduce us to Puffin her dog. Puffin proved to be a wonderful pet and host – she showed us all her favourite toy hiding places and ball throwing areas on the local beaches.
Puffin is a little nervous, of tall men in particular. So we spent some time introducing ourselves to help her feel comfortable with us. We each took time to meet her and pet her gently, in Kath’s presence. David especially spent time building a bond.
Favourite walking routes
We went for a walk with Kath and Puffin on the first day. This was so we could get used to each other. It was important to see how she behaved and if she’d return to us after being let off the lead. The guideline given to us by Kath her owner was either two short walks or a nice long ramble each day. We love walking any time of year, and dogsitting in Cornwall means we have plenty of opportunity for walks and rambles.
The scenery is stunning on the coastal path above St Agnes and Trevaunance Cove. It was a breath of fresh literally after our urban existence in the home counties.
Dogsitting for Puffin
One of the challenges of dogsitting for a pet you don’t know is trying to understand habits, likes and dislikes and to build trust and a bond quickly. Learning what Puffin likes, however, didn’t take that long. She loves playing catch It doesn’t have to be with a ball, she can catch pretty much anything. And she is pretty good at it!
Walking the dog
Puffin it turns out loves walking on beaches, on the coastal path, in parks – actually she simply loves walking with friends and running around. The ball is an added bonus. We have always enjoyed walking and hiking so this was a great pleasure and added joy to each day of the housesit.
Puffin is an early riser expecting to be let out about 6:30am for her constitutional swiftly followed by her breakfast.
Every morning and then almost before I have settled for my first coffee Puffin presents her ball. Her eyes eager to get going and ready to tease you into a joyful mood. She’s irresistible.
Dogs need water when they exercise
We found that during every walk Puffin would need to take a drink at some point during our rambles. We were dogsitting in August and occasionally the weather was very warm. On any long walk the dog needs to have access to water just like us. Kath had a left us a really light weight collapsible water bowl for her. It was easy to carry and she loved it.
Often we would walk and hike for two to four hours a day with her. As we were discovering this part of the Cornish Coast so too Puffin was learning about new crevices in the landscape she wanted to discover running back and forth and herding us in our small posse. She made dogsitting in Cornwall a real adventure.
The builders and extra care with the scaffolding
The coast guard cottage we were housesitting in dates from the 1820’s. It is a characterful building. Kath the owner was in the middle of some maintenance work and had a couple of builders working on the property on some vital renovations.
We made Albert and xxx hot cups of coffee each morning to help them along. And so every time we took Puffin out for a walk we had to be mindful of the builders and their work area. As a result, we also had to keep in mind that while Puffin had been living with the builders and their scaffolding around the house for a while we still had to look out for her. There were tiles and equipment around on the ground while the builders were working during the day, on two sides of the house. The guys were great and knew her character well. So they kept an eye open for her too.
It turned out that Albert knew David’s ( my husband’s) cousin Martyn. What is more, Martyn it transpired had worked on the cottage too when David’s cousin and uncle had previously lived there some years ago! We were both surprised by the coincidence
Huge added bonus to our dogsitting in Cornwall
During the week we met up with David’s cousin Martyn and his family. Martyn works for the RNLI and overseas the life guard crews across North Cornwall. Post Covid-19 we checked out The Victory Inn which had organised safe measures for eating drinking, and a good one way system around the pub to enable paying guests to eat inside and out safely as restrictions eased.
Communications with Kath during the dogsit
Kath was only away for eight days. However, I asked if she wanted me to send her updates and messages about Puffin while she was on holiday. I always ask when I housesit, because occasionally the homeowner prefers not to hear unless there is a problem.
In this instance, Kath said she liked my short updates and photos of Puffin up to her various tricks, she is quite a cheeky dog, really quite the entertainer!
When sending respective Puffin and holiday updates each morning, we would swap snaps of where we were. Mine would usually include Puffin’s latest antics and any notable developments in Kath’s vegetable garden. It was an easy way to keep her up to date and helped us both build confidence and a trust.
All in all it was an excellent housesit experience. Certainly it was one as a family we would repeat. Thanks Kath and special thanks to Puffin our Entertainer for the week!