Holiday Hell

Some years ago I interviewed a potential pet sitter, someone who would be working mostly with cats. I was trying to tell her about the stresses of pet sitting, and her response: “What could possibly be stressful about cat sitting? You scoop the litter box, put down food and water. You have no idea what real stress is!” Needless to say, she wasn’t a good fit for our team.

I don’t know why, but holiday weekends and periods seem to bring out the sick in animals. Or maybe it is just that we have so many more of them on these four-day weekends, that even though, say, 1% of animals might get sick, the actual number included in that 1% is just higher.

The weekend’s highlights?

One cat that everyone thought might be on death’s door. Limp, lethargic, not eating or drinking, not even moving around. She didn’t even argue with me when I popped her in her carrier and rushed her to the vet the moment they opened on Saturday morning. The owner was preparing herself for the worst.

One cat that we couldn’t find anywhere in the house…one who needed meds, of course.

Another cat who didn’t eat for 48 hours…a serious situation for kitties.

Yet another cat (what is it with the cats this weekend?) who is sneezing and not eating this morning, and who will probably get a vet visit tomorrow morning.

A young dog (maybe 3 years old) who decided to wreak a little havoc while we were away, who ate most of a bag of treats and calming chews, and chewed his leash in half for desert.

And the biggest heartbreak of the weekend that has nothing to do with the animals, but causes us deep sorrow…one of our sitters was notified that her adult son passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Saturday morning.

A few more “holiday” weekends like this, and they’ll have to commit me.

The good stuff?

Actually, the large majority of the animals we have cared for this weekend are doing just fine.

The sweet note from the little girl whose cat was deathly ill, telling me where to look for the cat if I couldn’t find her, and other good details for me to know. Very touching.

The little girl’s cat, who seemed like she was shaking paws with the Angel of Death is doing okay. She spent the weekend as a guest of the vet, has been diagnosed, and is on the mend. I hope to bring her home on Monday.

The dog who ate all the calming treats was…well…pretty calm. Mild runs the only side effect, and we need to get him a new leash. We can do that.

The cat who couldn’t be found in the afternoon appeared for dinner…and the one who hadn’t eaten for two days ate last night, and we are relieved.

Nothing but time will heal the heartbreak of our pet sitting colleague, but everyone on staff is pitching in to cover her clients and give her whatever time she needs, and I am grateful to work with such a supportive and caring group of people.

It was a wild four-day weekend, and I’m delighted it is coming to a close. May the week ahead be filled with calm and quiet days….please…and thank you.


9 thoughts on “Holiday Hell

  1. I am sorry to hear about your pet sitter. My thoughts and prayers are with her. You are correct. These holiday weekends keep you on your toes.

  2. Oh dear! It sounds like you had your work cut out for you! I’m glad that everything worked out the in the end and I’m sorry to hear about your colleague’s son. When you have days (or several days in a row) like you described, you can’t help but think what else could go wrong. I hope you are able to find some peace and quiet this week and much-needed relaxing time!

    1. Thanks Colleen. I’d settle for a few days without a crisis!! Thanks for your kind thoughts.

  3. Pet sitting not stressful? Are you kidding? As an owner I am always nuts until the sitter calls to say all is well. I can only imagine how the sitter feels if something doesn’t go right. It’s on their watch.

    1. I love pet sitting, but it does have significant stresses at times! Always happy when everything is great and all critters are healthy!

      1. “People laugh when I tell them I feel more stress pet sitting than I did in the corporate world when I was in charge of millions of dollars but I do! Not stress in a bad way as I love what I do but the intimacy of the responsibility is huge. A great trust is placed in us for loved ones and their homes. When I had an emergency and a client couldn’t bring herself to put her girl down I contacted Peaceful Pet Passages to come into her home. . They were surprised that i knew all the answers without having to ask the mom. That is a very intimate relationship!

      2. These are intimate relationships, indeed! Part of what makes the job so satisfying!

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