I don’t know if I would have become a pet sitter had someone told me that apprenticeships in carpentry, electric stuff, and plumbing would be really handy for the job. I am the opposite of mechanically inclined, whatever that is. If you want me to retrieve a screwdriver, don’t tell me what kind you need. Tell me if it is flat across the top or more like an x and your chances of getting the one you want improve dramatically.


I’m really good with the needles and giving fluids. I can pop a pill down almost any cat’s throat. I’ve even gotten pretty good at medicating feral cats lately (in the right conditions). But when a client’s front door won’t close, don’t ask me to diagnose what’s wrong or fix it. I call my husband for this kind of stuff. In the case of the front door this week brute force was required anyway, and I don’t got brute force. We got it closed enough to lock it and set the alarm. A carpenter had to come in later, remove the weather stripping and do whatever other magic he did to fix the door. I’m not touching it again! I’ll walk around the front and get the mail and bring it in through the garage, thank you. Carpentry and mechanical things going wrong traumatize me.

Like the time that I had to climb up a ladder to reach the smoke alarm beeping madly. Turns out the resident dog was petrified of beeping sounds, and had exiled herself outside via the dog door on a day that was way too hot for extended outdoor time. She was in the beginning stages of heat stroke, and she wasn’t coming in until that beeping stopped. So up a ladder I go…did I tell you I am afraid of heights?




Or another smoke alarm…I am beginning to hate those things…hardwired, but still beeping. Who knew that hardwired alarms still have batteries? Luckily my plumber did, and he is a client and he answered my desperate call on the weekend.


One of my sitters had a sliding glass door and the lock broke off at a late bedtime visit. No way to lock the door. Bring in the 2 x 4 and a saw, so a length of wood could be inserted to keep the door from opening.

Then there was the flooded basement for another of my sitters, and a bunch of frogs jumping around. They had come in with the water through the pipes somehow…please don’t ask me how. If it isn’t a medical or pet care issue I am unlikely to understand or retain the information. I think it had something to do with the sump pump…maybe.

All I know is that, as a pet sitter, it is my job to deal with these things, or at least find someone who can. No one ever told me this was going to be part of the job, but if my smoke alarm was going off, or my basement flooding, or the front door wouldn’t close, I’d expect my pet sitter to deal with it somehow. So what can you do? They didn’t let girls take shop when I was growing up, and my dad never showed me these kinds of things, but I’ll muddle my way through as best I can. And keep my husband’s cell phone number handy. We have a deal. I’ll medicate the difficult and feral cats. He’ll do the tools. Different gifts and all that.

9 thoughts on “Petsitting and Carpentry

  1. Always a trauma when something mechanical this way comes..i am getting better but for my OWN house and stuff..not someone elses I would freak…the closest I came was chicken sitting for weeks and a fox had found it’s way in and killed about 18 chickens…me bawling trying to pick up 18 headless carcasses and find where the fox got in…urghhhhhhhh hoping your future sits require less climbing 🙂 hugs Fozziemum xx

    1. I would be hysterical to find my charges dead…so sorry!! There’s always something in pet sitting. Keeps you on your toes.

      1. I was..there were still a lot of girls that were safe but so traumatised..and I apologised to them all and did my best to calm them..i felt awful that all I could do was put them in a bin…the owners were overseas but their daughter told them and they were grateful I found the hole and fixed it…pretty horrible indeed and yes always something!

  2. When I leave on vacation I leave such detailed instructions that the sitters always laugh. I have my brother as back up if something mechanical goes wrong with lots of phone numbers.

    1. I never (well, almost never) mind lots of information, and a backup mechanical person is one of my favorite things!

  3. Oh, gosh, you’ve made this sound hilarious, but I know just how distressing these situations must have been. Unfortunately, you have to be more than just the petsitter. Good thing you have good contacts!

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