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MindMyHouse News

MindMyHouse News October 2023

by Alan Koeninger

Dear MindMyHousies, In this special edition of our irregular newsletter, we feature three amazing pets whom we spotted on MindMyHouse – Cortana, Albus, and Woody. We think they are very special – we hope you do too. Also, we cover home owners with two or more listings and lastly we touch on home owner memberships.

Amazing pets (Animaux incroyables)

A little known fact is that here at MindMyHouse, we manually approve all ‘sitter wanted’ listings that are published, every day of the year. We check things like the dates are correct, pets are listed, check the photos etc. One thing that always stands out for us are all those cute photos of home owner pets! So adorable! Some really stood out and we thought why not feature them in our next newsletter? Introducing the talented Cortana, Albus and Woody!

Featuring….Cortana (she/her)

Location: Washington, United States
Family/genus/species: 50% something (even the blood test didn’t know), 25% American Staffordshire Terrier and 25% Catahoula (aka Louisiana Swamp Dog)
Age: 9.5 years
Special powers: Devising ways to secure her next snack
Unique attribute: webbed toes
Favourite food: Cortana LOVES pizza!

Cortana is such a clever dog and, since she believes her purpose in life is to be eating at all times, she focuses all of her creative energy into devising ways to secure her next snack. Some of this is channelled into her trick training (she’s a very quick learner), but mostly she’s figured out that she gets the tons of snacks when she humours everyone by being very patient with the camera and holding very still. If you could zoom into those listing photos, you’d see a treat reflected in her eyes.

Some quick facts:

  • Cortanta is 9.5 years old, adopted when she was about a year old from a shelter in Texas.
  • She is a very strong sniffer!
  • She is very sneaky, but can’t read maps (she can’t read anything at all, actually).
  • She can tightrope walk on curbs, retaining walls, hop over or crawl under railings, balance on landscaping rocks and ledges, jump from rock to rock, and press the walking buttons at intersections. 
  • She can even go down the slides at kids playgrounds!
  • She is named Cortana because her sibling is named Siri.
  • She believes her purpose in life is to be eating at all times

What a pro!

Introducing…Albus (Dumbledore) (he/him)

Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Family/genus/species: Lop eared albino rabbit
Age: 10 years
Special powers: Magic tricks
Unique attribute: Has more than five senses
Favourite food: Apple tree sticks and the occasional piece of carrot

Albus is a well travelled, talented rabbit, adopted from an animal sanctuary in North West England. Apparently he was found about 6 months old under a car, with an oil stain on his ear! His passport has been stamped for Manchester, Macclesfield, Fife in Scotland, and now lives with his owners in Kristiansand, Norway. 

Fun facts:

  • Sleeps under his owner’s bed at night.
  • Has special powers: he uses his ears to pick up radio signals and diverts the frequency to his owners via ground based and satellite signals – this is expressed as a high pitched sound (he is signalling to his owners that he misses them). 
  • Whenever he stomps, he is stopping something evil from happening in the world.
  • He has more than five senses – these are senses that cannot be understood or defined, we suspect that they relate to theories and philosophies of the cosmos!
  • Despite his many talents, Albus likes to play it cool.

Special note from the owners: Rabbits need a lot of attention and interaction, preferring the company of another furry friend because they are social animals. Rabbits in hutches who are getting little interaction will get very depressed and live a short life. When you give a lot of attention to rabbits, they give you so much more back in return. They are intelligent, funny, and have cheeky personalities. They pick up when you are sad or having a bad day and will come to you for a hug and lick you.

Presenting…Woody (he/him)

Location: Valencia, Spain
Family/genus/species: African Grey Parrot
Age: 24 years
Special powers: Always wins at whistling games
Unique attribute: Prefers men
Favourite food: Cooked garden peas (Woody sucks out the soft pea centre leaving a bowl full of discarded skins)

Woody is a professional Entertainer (with a capital ‘E’), smart, and loves to chat (about anything really). He also likes to play whistling games – warning, he usually wins at these games! Woody also prefers men, although we aren’t quite sure why that is (maybe something about winning games?).

Fun facts:

  • Put a cup down on a table and Woody will make the ”thud” sound microseconds before the cup makes contact!
  • Pick-up a cable of any kind and he’ll make the “plink-plonk” noise that you hear when plugging a charger into a smart phone.
  • Grab a handbag, or put on outdoor shoes, you will hear “See you in a bit”.
  • Doesn’t like cages (we don’t either) and has flown free for 5 years
  • He’ll “ring ring” like a phone, then answer himself. “Hello” says Woody, followed by a bit of incomprehensible mumbling, before ending with “Thank you. Goodbye.” 
  • Kitchen or toilet rolls will keep Woody entertained for a little while (see pic). 
  • Loves to have a go at a good novel (when we say have a go, we mean tear it apart!) – the local charity shops keep a selection of hard-to-sell second-hand books for our Woody to shred.
  • Woody likes to sleep on top of the bedroom door (and not fall off)
  • Woody loves to sit on his owners’ shoulder as the dishes are being washed, imitating the crockery clatter sounds and his pouring liquid imitation (complete with bottle cork popping) is brilliant!
  • Woody has quite a few barks in his repertoire too – his owners frequently ask their dog to shut-up and Woody will independently “bark bark” a few times, then tell himself to “Shut-up”.
  • A whistling game is Woody’s favourite and, when on his perch under the terrace outside, has the neighbours down the street joining in. Woody will reply, changing the tune slightly and wait for anyone to respond, before changing the whistle yet again. This game can go on for quite some time.

If you would like your special loved one featured in our next newsletter, please send us your pics and details (email

Owners with two or more listings (or two or more homes)

House sitters may not be aware of this, but some home owners sometimes need two house sitters for two separate trips. Some owners have two properties even! Lucky.

Unfortunately MindMyHouse doesn’t have the ability to let our home owners post two separate dates at the same time. Sorry about that! Our home owner memberships are free, after all. But this is often a ‘bone of contention’ with home owners. We agree, it’s less than ideal.

We have a long term plan to fix this. But here’s the thing, this requires a major change to the way that MindMyHouse is built (under the hood, so to speak)! So we’ve put this one on the backburner until we can figure out how to get it done. Hopefully by early next year. MindMyHouse is fairly quiet in the new year, so we’ll crack out the toolbox (software) and our gardening gloves (mouse in hand), and then, fingers crossed – OK, that might be hard with gloves on.

If you are reading this and want to tell us that this is important to you, just send us a reply via email.

Should we charge for home owner memberships?

We currently offer home owner memberships for free at MindMyHouse and have been doing so since we started in 2005. However, with the advent of AI, we think it’s time we make more of an effort to authenticate our home owner memberships. To that end, we are thinking of adding a small charge for home owner memberships (in the same way we charge for house sitters). Let us know what you think.
ED: update Apr 2024 – we have gone ahead with this change 

Posted in: MindMyHouse News
Alan Koeninger

About the author: Alan Koeninger

The designer, developer and help desker at MindMyHouse was born in Australia, but don’t hold that against him! He is loving his new adopted home of New Zealand and wants to stay. He can be seen in his natural habitat on Onetangi beach with Ellaballoo the Welsh springer spaniel or whizzing between the ferry port and the soccer fields with his soccer-mad daughters and all their team mates in the car.