Stephanie and I just finished a fantastic house-sitting job in San Francisco’s Cole Valley. We stayed in a beautiful home and got to take care of two super-cool boxers.
I have a lot of experience with many breeds of dogs, but this was the first time I’d spent extensive time with boxers. I was pleasantly surprised: both of the “girls” were obedient and attentive, and they loved attention and going for their twice-daily walks in Buena Vista Park. One of them bonded especially strongly with Stephanie (she’s on her lap in the photo below) and would follow her from room to room in the house.
On the day we arrived we met with the homeowners and got a tour of the house. We have a comprehensive house/pet list we’ve created that they had already filled out with all the necessary instructions and details for taking care of the home and the dogs, but we reviewed the most important aspects and were shown important locations, like the house water shut-off valve and the circuit breaker box.
Whenever we start a new house-sit, we spend a lot of the time with the pets (usually dogs) so that they get comfortable with us and we get comfortable with them and their routines. This time it went especially well. We took the dogs for a long walk on the first evening and it was smooth sailing from then on.
In between our duties of taking care of the home and the girls, we took a little time to enjoy San Francisco…
Exploring Cole Valley
Cole Valley lies just west of Golden Gate park and just south of Haight Street. It’s a diverse neighborhood with several excellent restaurants and coffee shops centered on a two-block stretch of Cole Street. And given its close proximity to the Upper Haight district, it’s surprisingly relaxed with a strong neighborhood vibe. (We were also grateful the N Judah line goes from Cole Valley straight to downtown SF, and it does it quickly.)
Adventures in the Upper Haight District
OK, Haight Street is kinda crazy. There’s lots of people on lots of drugs, and lots of people who need or want help (and many of them aren’t shy about asking for it). But it has lots of color, lots of interesting faces, and a great local bookstore, The Booksmith. We felt lucky to have Whole Foods just a few blocks from our house-sit; we ate several meals at the buffet and bought lots of healthy food to cook.
Tai Chi in Golden Gate Park
We went to Golden Gate Park several times, but I especially liked going there for my daily tai chi routine, usually to the AIDS Memorial Grove or to the Shakespeare Garden. (I also took several excellent tai chi classes with Malcolm Dean.)
We Loved the Marina District!
On one of our last days, we walked from Cole Valley to the Marina District. Once we reached our destination (and had lunch at Askew Grill) we decided that this section of San Francisco was one of our favorites and that we really want to do some long-term house-sitting here someday.
The Last Day…
We took the girls for a long walk in Buena Vista Park and spent extra time petting them and hanging out with them. Then we thoroughly cleaned the house and wrote a card that we left with flowers on the dining room table.
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