Gone Fishing

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!!

19 thoughts on “Gone Fishing

  1. Congratulations! We’ve been retired for a number of years – we are happier than we ever imagined we’d be and have filled our “extra” time with fun things. You’re done so much for so many – now is the time to think about yourselves a bit more! Amelia looks content and so do her kittens. Life is good…..

    Hugs, Pam

    1. Thanks, Pam. We are looking forward to keeping the kind of schedule we’ve had this year due to the pandemic, but with a few more options of things to do – like outside the house – as the pandemic loosens its death grip on us!

  2. Congratulations to you! While I am sure this was a hard decision, you sound like you have everything in place for your semi-retirement. I retired last February–right before Covid. Best thing I ever did–you will be amazed at all the ‘you’ time you have. Enjoy! So happy that Amelia and her little ones are doing well. I’m looking forward to their names because the berry names were gonna be adorable!

    1. Thanks, Lois. Looking forward to having “us” time with options of things to do as things improve pandemic-wise!

  3. Congrats on your new chapter! You are doing it right by dwindling down to a few clients. Wishing you both the best! Hugs to all (including the 4 legged ones too).

    1. It really did help to stop taking new clients a year ago. No point getting started with folks and then dropping them a short while later! And hugs gratefully accepted all around.

  4. Congratulations! I can heartily recommend retirement (though it sounds like you’ll still be doing some work). All best wishes as you begin a new chapter.
    P.S. Amelia and her family are adorable. I think she needs an agent for modeling gigs! 😻 She’s such a pretty kitty.

    1. We will still be doing some pet sitting…not ready to stop cold turkey. But a modest schedule is welcome. And you’re right about Amelia – she is lovely. What you don’t see all the time is all the orange in her, especially her belly. Very pretty highlights.

      1. Scaling back is a nice way to transition. I went cold turkey and it was a lengthy adjustment going from 60 to zero (though when one owns pets there is no such thing as zero). 😊

      2. I can imagine! The pandemic really forced the slow schedule, and we may be a little busier next year than this last one, but I definitely would find cold turkey really challenging.

  5. Congratulations!! Like my friend, Monika, hubby and I retired cold turkey. Mine was forced on me earlier than I would have liked but still worked out for the best. I have most liked not having to get up at the crack of dawn to get ready for a full day of bs at work. You are very lucky to have been able to do what you love! Semi-retirement is probably the best way to ease into it. 😊

    Amelia and her kittens are adorable and all look very content and peaceful. I look forward to learning the kittens’ names. I still like “Booberry” though for a mischievous one.

    1. Booberry would have been a good name for the black one, who I think is a boy. The minute anything is not to his liking he is very vocal about it. It is amazing how loud that tiny little creature can be. And we have loved not getting up and out of the house by 6:30 or so every morning during the pandemic, and look forward to more gentle mornings. Gracie, however, believes in rising with the sun so I’m not sure sleeping late will ever be in the cards for us! Still, being able to get up, let the dog pee, get a cup of coffee and take the morning a little slower is definitely a fine thing.

      1. Ducky used to believe in rising with the sun, too; but as she’s gotten older, she’s let us sleep at least until 8:30. Of course, once we fulfill our promise to her, there won’t be many sleeping-in mornings.

  6. Congrats on your next step! A slower pace of life is a good thing, allowing you to really enjoy that which you opt for. Pandemic ‘slow living’ has given me the same break and I daresay I like it. 😉
    Amelia is looking back to health, great job!

    1. Aside from the worries during pandemic times, we’ve enjoyed the slower pace too. And Amelia is doing great. Her post-kitten weight is about 8 1/2 pounds, and she was 6 when I got her at the start of March. Much better weight for her and her fur is soooo soft. She’s a sweetie!

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