Sorry to be so quiet lately. Been working in a big project. More details to follow, but for now, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I love about my work. Here’s my 5 best things about being a pet sitter.
1) Tons of BFFs
Pet sitters have lots and lots of best furry friends. We arrive to care for our furry charges, and so often they meet us at the door, so ready for company. We may have the advantage here. We are, after all, the only game in town during the time when their two-leggeds are gone, and that alone makes us look pretty good. But I think some of my BFFs think well of me even so. I’ve been caring for a couple cats for about ten days, and this morning they not only met me at the door, but did lots of rub-bys…like drive-bys, except they rub themselves all over you. Very endearing. I really miss some of my BFFs when their people don’t travel as often as they might, but I suspect that calling clients and suggesting they travel isn’t really my place. (“Hey, Sally, Cape May is really nice this time of year. Don’t you think you deserve a few days of vacation? How’s Muffy doing, by the way? Does she miss me?”) Still, I do miss some of my pals. Let’s not even talk about the clients who move out of the area and take my friends with them. I’ll save that for the list of the five worst things about pet sitting.
2) Built-in exercise. No excuses.
I am a slug. In the years before I was a professional pet sitter I got way less exercise than I should have. Way less. I’ve never really been overweight (pure luck) but since starting my pet sitting business seven years ago, I’ve actually lost weight and gone from a size eight to a size six. All my old clothes from my business days hang on my awkwardly now. Walking dogs keeps me fit, The dogs gotta go out…no excuses. And I get paid for it. Good deal.
3) Every day is different from the last.
Back in my corporate days I pretty much knew what to expect when I went to work each day. Not so with pet sitting. Not only do I have different clients each day, but I never know what mood they will be in, or (on bad days) if someone is sick, or maybe some kitty has found a new and really hard-to-find hiding spot that will challenge me for a good bit. Dog walking routes vary – who wants to do the same route every single day. Cats who liked the cat dancer yesterday want the feather toy today. Someone has thrown up a hairball, or another someone isn’t eating and makes me worry. The four-month old puppy is chewing up his wooden crate (please don’t give your puppies wooden crates…). The list of possible activities in a given day is endless. You never know what to expect.
4) Sometimes we can be really helpful.
I love trying to help folks solve their pet dilemmas, even those difficult cats that pee outside the box. How do I train the dog to sit and stay? What kinds of toys should I get for the cat? Why does the cat think that 4 am is a really good play hour? (Well, I may not be able to solve that one, but I can sympathize.) What can I do with my dog aggressive dog who has still has to go out on walks? Why is the cat drinking so much water – is that normal? (Probably not.) In my job I get to partner with vets, dog trainers, groomers and other professionals to help people learn about their furry friends and provide care. Gives me a good excuse to talk with other professionals, attend seminars, read books, to learn more. As the author of eight books, I appreciate learning. I appreciate learning from the animals too.
5) I get paid to do something I love doing.
Self-explanatory. I’m very lucky to be able to work in a field that I love, and make a living. Life is good. My paycheck was definitely better in corporate life, but the paycheck isn’t everything. Doing what you love and what the world needs you to do — that vocation thing — counts for a lot.