Colourful festivals, music and horses ridden down the main street are just a few of our fondest memories of Mexico. We spent 5 months there (Oct 2018 – March 2019) and during that time we completed six house sits and cared for 9 dogs, 4 cats and a herd of goats. The pets ranged in age from 5 months to 19 years. Like children, it’s hard to pick a favourite, we loved them all equally.
We sat in a variety of locations – which allowed us to experience many, but not all, of the different cultures that make up Mexico.
Our touchdown into Mexico was Guadalajara airport, the second largest city in Mexico and an hours drive from our first house sit. Our first 3 house sits were all in the Lake Chapala/Ajijic area. This area is a popular location for expats from Canada & the USA due to its moderate year round climate, so there are lots of ‘gringos’ here.
Preston, Mimi and Gwen
Our first sit was about 10 km from Ajijic in a little town named San Juan Cosala in a gated community called the Raquet Club. The house was located half-way up a hill with beautiful views to Lake Chapala and the distant mountains. Hummingbirds would come and visit the garden which was an absolute delight and first for us.
Our new best friends for this sit were three fun dogs.
Preston – a miniature poodle and an absolute sweetie. He became Jacqueline’s shadow and followed her everywhere and slept between us at night-time.
Mimi – a beautiful rescue dog
Gwen – a medium sized plot hound and also a rescue dog. Both Mimi and Gwen were very affectionate, gentle and friendly.
At this house sit, we had a gardener who tended the plants and pool as well as a cleaner who attended twice weekly. This was a first for us and it felt a little unusual having so much ‘help’ but gave us more time to walk and play with the dogs as well as explore the local area. The home owners had generously loaned us their car to enable us to get around the lakeside area.
Our daily routine was taking Mimi and Gwen for a 30-40 minute on leash walk after breakfast and then a second walk in the afternoon at the nearby dog park. Here they were able to be let off-leash and run and run and run. Preston would also join us on our walks to the park but would keep close to us whilst we walked around the grounds.
What the home owners said – “The Lambs are a lovely couple…fun to be with and very responsible and thoughtful.”
Our second sit in Ajijic was situated closer to town and in a quiet area called ‘La Floresta’ which was walking distance into town and the many restaurants and markets.
We were lucky to be staying in another beautiful two storey home with a view to the mountains. Our charge was ‘Lili’ a 19 year old Manx cat (she had no tail) with lots of personality. For her age Lili was in excellent health and she was a ‘blur’ as she sprinted up or down the stairs.
She had us well trained. Pats on demand, opening doors and the feeding schedule had to be on her ‘terms’. She certainly had spunk!
What the home owners said – “Absolutely five stars — or ten if there were such a thing! Personally they are among the nicest, finest, and most trustworthy people we have ever met in our lives — that is saying something!”
Bob and Makana
Our third sit was in West Ajijic. This area had a much more Mexican flavour being mostly populated by locals and it was nice living among the Mexicans. Being the Christmas/New Year period there were plenty of festivals, colour, music and fireworks at all hours of the day and night. This added to our very local experience.
Here we had the pleasure of caring for Bob, a mischievous 5 month old miniature poodle, and Makana a 13 year old Labrador.
This was our first puppy sit and Bob was like a toddler. Everything he saw belonged to him and everything went into his mouth too! Until we got into the habit of putting all of our clothes into ‘closed’ drawers, Bob would mischievously run around the house with socks or even a t-shirt in his mouth.
Makana was dear old lady. She spent most of her time relaxing except for when Bob wanted to play. To give her her dues Makana was very tolerant and patient with Bob.
Some of our house sitting friends avoid sitting for puppies due to their ‘energy’ but we thoroughly enjoyed being around Bob who was highly entertaining and occasionally mischievous.
What the home owners said – “Communications were superb, Glenn sorted out small niggles with the house as they arose, the dogs received superb care – I think at least one of them would have picked Jacqueline over me if given the chance!”
We thoroughly enjoyed our first house sitting experiences in Mexico and the Lake Chapala area. It had a good mix of Mexican culture and ex-pats who now call this area ‘home’.
Another bonus of our time in Ajijic was that there were many other house sitters there at the same time. We had an enjoyable time meeting up with fellow sitters that we ‘knew’ in the online house sitting community but had never met face to face. We cemented many new friendships whilst sitting there.
Some of our house sitting friends can be found here
Dave and Sue – Wherever are we
Andrew and Christopher – Global Wanderers
Sharon – Nomadic Widow
Our next blog will cover our next 3 sits in 3 very different locations in Mexico.