Well, we haven’t really gone fishing, and it is doubtful that we ever would, but we are going to be going into semi-retirement soon. It is now official, and it is my surprise #2. Clients have been notified, and come May 31st Marley and I are moving on to the next phase of our lives.
We’ve been planning this for a couple years, though the pandemic forced some shifts in plans. We’ve been full time pet sitters since 2007, which means we’ve worked 7 days a week including evenings, nights (overnights for a long time), weekends and holidays throughout most of that time. This last year changed all of that, and aside from the financial concerns, and the risk of getting Covid, this last year, the significantly slower schedule was welcome. We are both in our mid 60’s and the physical toll of walking lots of dogs every single day (as well as our own) is wearing. It has kept us active and healthy, but we’ve enjoyed doing a half dozen walks a day (which includes our dogs) this last year instead of what was often 8-12 walks a day. Lots of people start a pet sitting business and discover that the scheduling demands and physical demands are too much, and the majority of folks give up after a year. We are grateful to love what we do, to have a strong team, and to have been successful at this for 14 years, but we enjoyed the slow down forced by the pandemic, and will be glad to stay at that more modest level.
We’re keeping a couple dozen clients who have modest needs from us, and each of our staff members decided to continue, on their own, to care for clients they have been covering in recent years, so about half of our current clients will continue with one of us in some form. For the others I contacted two other pet sitting services that I am comfortable recommending, and they are ready to help clients we can’t keep on our rosters. I am expecting there is a lot of pent up demand for pet care and that this summer will be crazy with folks wanting to travel, and Marley and I just weren’t up to going back to the kind of summer schedule we had for so many years, so we decided to announce all of this in plenty of time for folks to make other pet care plans. I expect we will be busy, even with the group we have left, since everyone wants to get out of their home for awhile! We expect, health willing, to continue to pet sit for a few more years until we turn 70 and have to tap into retirement savings.
What’s next is still up in the air. But I know it means more time for us to foster cats, and hopefully some more dogs. Gracie and I hope to get back to pet therapy activities as things open up – she really misses visiting with folks, and we will be glad to get back to being out in the world as that becomes possible. Marley and I get our second Covid vaccines next week, and will breath a big sigh of relief at that point. I think we will be looking for other volunteer opportunities as well, once things return to something that resembles normal. We’ll figure it out as we go along. For right now, it just feels good to have announced all of this and to be underway in setting up our new normal for the next few years.
For those following regularly here, the kittens and Amelia are doing well. More updates to come, but so far so good. Amelia’s a very good mommy, and the kittens seem very healthy and are gaining weight daily as they should. They are getting handled a lot by me so they will be very people-friendly kittens by the time they are ready for their forever homes. Their genders are still not clear, and the rescue asked if they could do a contest to name the kittens so I am abandoning my plans to give them berry names in favor of a contest/fundraiser to name them. It is far more important for the rescue to fund raise than for me to choose names. So stay tuned. We hope to be able to determine genders late next week; sexing very young kittens is challenging!!