Swapping Homes Anybody?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All we want is a pet free house

When is a house pet free?

One of the big requirements of our exchange search every year is the request to have no pets in the house.
On the first year we we’re told just before the flight that there would be a tiny rabbit in need of being taken care of. When we arrived, a guinea-pig had also materialized. Mind you, I’m not opposed to feeding other people’s pets, but I refuse to have them living with me.
The owners had built a temporary hold in the garden, nicely fenced in and there were enough supplies to keep them going. The problem was that these two much loved animals – presumably belonging to the 9 year-old girl in the family- were used to residing in the home- judging from the smell all over the house.
 I object to that.
In another swap, we knew that they had a dog, but it wouldn’t be there during our time at their house. Well and good. The place still reeked of a dog. I had brought a lot of Febreeze and within a couple of days, my overly delicate nose had gotten used to it. But what’s with all the fish? In a pond outside and in an aquarium in the dining-room? They need to be fed twice a day. That means you can’t even go away for the weekend without fear of letting them starve. What part of “NO PETS” is so hard to understand?
We joked with our next home swappers in Bad Honnef when we met them face to face: the next step up the animal line would be a snake or a little tiger. Anything of these species? God forbid no. And there were none in their house.
And we on our part advised them to keep the porch door closed to let no gecko come into our house in Florida.
Amsterdam was a different kettle of fish altogether. No, there were no fish involved, you’re right. A multitude of spiders on the deck, and plank way to the boat, weaving their webs between planters, ropes, chairs, sun umbrellas , even me as soon as I sat out there..
The first grey hairs made me suspicious but I merely brushed them off the sofa. Then they were spotted under the table on the deck. My daughter pointed out,” They must have a dog, here’s a dog blanket in the car!” So she named what we hadn’t dared to verbalize. A pet! A hairy one! Hence the smell, particularly in the bedroom; claustrophobically small, remember?
We lived with that for 3 days and three nights until the itching and the biting started. First we thought of mosquitoes being the offenders.
One thing was clear. There was more to the dog than met the eye. Well, wherever he was, because he wasn’t even there. Yes, I mean the hopping variety of bugs also called fleas.
A search of the boat for a bug spray revealed three different types for “vleas” for dogs. Aha, the owner had previous knowledge of and experience with flea infestations. Caught in the act!
It may all have been excusable and understandable that a visiting dog of one of the visiting children had left his mark.
But to be looking for a “pet free “exchange partner themselves when their boat is ridden, infested with fleas is more than an oversight. But maybe fleas don’t qualify into the category of pets and therefore should be of no concern to us.
Expect we’re both bitten, and allegedly, flea bites are not without risks either.

Since the online provider hasn’t been able to come forth with an alternate exchange of at least accommodation for 1Person! We’ve had to make our own escape plans. Nobody, not even my best friend of 33 years wanted a guest that might just bring a flea circus along. I escaped to Berlin by plane. Hubby took the brunt.
Today our exchange partners left our house in Florida. Although I’m keeping strict anonymity here on this site as always, I didn’t want surprises. When questioned, they said that they had a dog but they had taken it to a kennel over a week before our arrival…Fleas? How terrible! Strange they never had any before.
The eleventh commandment would say: if you do wrong & cheat, at least don’t get caught. This was deliberate deceit and I’m initiating a complaint process with the online agency now.

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