Friends Don’t Let Friends Pet Sit

Some mornings start with coffee. Others start with adrenaline.

One of the staff called me very early this morning. The fact that she was calling before 7 am was my first clue that something was really wrong. My second clue came with her clear words: “Max has collapsed in the yard and he’s not moving.” Max is a 90 lb, 10 year-old Golden Retriever. Collapsing, unconscious in the yard at the crack of dawn, before the vet offices open, was definitely not on the agenda today.

Max turned out to be very sick, though no one had any reason to know it ahead of time, and he didn’t make it. We got him to the vet within 15 minutes, but it took three of us to pick him up, and bless the wonderful vet’s office for their help. They weren’t open yet, but I went to the back door and they sprung into action and did everything they could for Max. Luckily, his person wasn’t vacationing too far away, and she was able to be with him at the end.

But what if Max’s caretaker had been a teenager next door? Or a friend? It is self-serving…granted…but I believe in pet sitters and their knowledge and I used them for many years before I actually became one.

English: Golden retriever fetching a tennis ba...
English: Golden retriever fetching a tennis ball from the ocean. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Would a teenager or friend have looked at Max’s gums, found them to be white as snow, and wrapped him in a sleeping bag to help prevent deepening shock? How would they even have lifted and transported the 90 lb dog? Would they have known what information was critical to tell the vet staff? And because there weren’t many staff members at the vet’s office at that hour, would they have been able to help hold Max while blood was drawn and a catheter put in? (I have to admit, having worked in a vet’s office helped me with this last piece.)

Even more than that, how would a teenage pet sitter feel to have a dog die on her watch? Is a 14 year old ready for that emotional responsibility? It is hard enough for us as pet sitters, but burdening a teenager or a good friend with that…really??

OK…off my high horse. Sorry about that. It was a stressful morning, but I am really proud of everything three of us professional pet sitters did for Max. Glad that he didn’t die alone. He was a really sweet boy, and we will miss him. He loved nothing better than to lean on us and be pet, and we’ll remember him that way.

Rest in peace sweetie…I’m really glad we have been your pet sitters.

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7 thoughts on “Friends Don’t Let Friends Pet Sit

  1. Your comments are accurate. A long time ago, in another life when I was young and dumb, I had my next door neighbor feed my cat while I was on vacation. She was in her sixties and occasionally daffy but she was a nurse. If you can’t trust a nurse who can you trust? Anyhow when I got home, I found she had jammed the key in the door about 2 days before and couldn’t open it. In her efforts she told the whole world I wasn’t home which didn’t make me happy either. My brother helped me unstick the key and open the door. I always kept a lot of dry cat food and extra water dishes out when I was away but I still didn’t like the whole thing of no one checking on her. After that I found professional, capable catsitters who were bonded. I found them through my vet so I felt safe that they would take my kitty to the right place if something happened.

    1. Yeah, so many stories of bad things that happen when non-professionals take care of pets, some of them funny and some of them really tragic. I’m glad your cat was okay!

  2. So sorry for everyone who had this experience 😦 such a sad but very accurate story. Our adult kids either sit with our babies..they know their histories and have access to our vets asap..or when we are away longer than a few days they go in to boarding at the shelter where I used to volunteer..it is now three hours drive away but the boarding part is run with the aim of money going in to the shelter so animals not money is the priority,they have 24/7 vets and know everything about our babies..it’s not something for a non pro to really handle. Hugs and sorry for what was an awful time 😦 Fozziemum xx

    1. So glad your babies have good care when you are away! Sounds like a great place for them when your family can’t cover.

      1. It is ..we only get the kids for a day or two the dogs and cats are used to me being with them all day so it’s unfair to expect the kids to sacrifice extended periods of time.I know that I can holiday and the animals re safe,well fed given their special meds or meals and I don’t have to worry about snakes or roos …just part of responsible pet ownership isn’t it 🙂

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