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help exchange   Host 17035
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All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 0,9
Persons: 1 or a couple
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 17035
Country: Italy

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Last Updated: June 4, 2018

--- IMPORTANT NOTE: If you just "like" dogs or if you are wondering if you would like to own a dog, this is NOT the place for you! You have also to consider that along the week you'll be alone at home, so what we ask all our possible future helpers is to be very honest with themself about this question: "can I manage to spend the whole day alone with 10 large dogs who, at least for the first days, do not know me?". They usually are very friendly, but they are dogs, and sometime could not be in perfect feeling with someone: if you're not prepared to deal with this, things can get really hard. ---

We are a couple, Marisa and Paolo (both 56 years old), who love Bernese Mountain dogs: we live in a small house in Valtellina (province of Sondrio), into the nature, with 10 of them. We also own about 6000 square meters of vineyard (not organic but we follow the Integrated Pests Management rules), and with a couple of friends make wine with ours grapes under the brand "Le Strie".
I, Paolo, live here all year round (usually during the week I work outside home from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm), Marisa from Monday to Friday works near Milan and joins us during the weekend.

We need help in the manage of the vineyard all year round (so Marisa can have more time for the dogs), and for all the work that the property needs to be better (gardening, cutting trees, chopping fire woods, build little stone walls, following the vegetables garden and so on . . .); we also could need some help in cleaning the house.
We usually don't ask Helpers to feed ours dogs (but the cat yes!), but sometimes we have to move from home for different reasons (our jobs, dog shows, etc.): in this case we could ask you to take care of them for some days.

Our house is also the big doghouse of our fourlegs family, so you MUST be prepared for the following:
- Dog hair -- you will find it EVERYWHERE regardless of how much we clean
- Dirt/Dust -- both on you, on the floors, and on the dogs... just a fact of life (again, despite how much we clean)
- Being licked -- Bernese are VERY affectionate
- Being sniffed -- everywhere!
- Being crowded -- both for your attention as well as to see what you may have, be doing, what you're wearing, where you've been, etc.
- Loud noises -- while they are fairly quiet as a norm, one can hear something and will alert the pack sending them all in a tizzy. Or they will get excited and start barking/howling. Or someone new will come into their space and they will all start barking. It can be startling when it goes from quiet to noisy in half a second.
- A pack type environment -- when you have this many dogs, it is a different type environment than a single dog in a family environment. We are constantly on the alert for dogs not getting along, dogs coming into season, dogs who may not be feeling up to par and more.

Working in the vineyard means that you'll be mainly outside, so better if you have a a pair of mountain boots / rubber boots to wear; for the stay at home we can provide you with a pair of slippers.
Our future Volunteers should have a good sense of humour (we are almost always having fun during our work... never letting things get TOO serious!), a good work ethic and a flexible nature (each day is different and we all have to go with the flow). They should also be ready to live a little isolated from the city: Teglio, the nearest village with post office, bank, shops and bars, can be reached in about 40 minutes on foot. But we DO have unlimited internet so you won't be isolated from the rest of the world!

Work time is about 25 hours a week: most of the work is carried out from Friday to Sunday, when we both are at home. The remaining hours may be distributed during the week or, if you prefer, be grouped in one or two days to get the others free. Anyway the timetable is very flexible (also according to the meterological conditions) and we'll talk about it.

We'll offer:
- home made cooking traditional italian food (usually breakfast and dinner, lunch should be self-arranged with what you find in the refrigerator or in the pantry), with a glass (ok, you can have also a second one!) of good wine;
- accomodation in our house in a room with your private bathroom (if you help us to finish it, ahahahaha);
- free use of all our house equipments (washing machine, WiFi internet, television, etc.).
In your free time there is plenty of possibilities to make beautiful walks in the mountain (we live in the vicinity of the regional park of the Orobics Alps and 45 minutes away from the Stelvio National Park). Public transports in the area are present, but they are not so frequent, so if you have your own car you can better enjoy the region.
Paolo is a maniac fisher, so if you like fishing for trouts and graylings I can help you to obtain the fishing licence, lend you a rod and we can go to the rivers or a lake together.
In winter you'll have the opportunity to go skiing to Aprica (20 minutes away by car) or Bormio (40 minutes away).

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