Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't believe it!

I get paid to do something I love. And to give love, to animals and peace of mind to their owners.

Recently I have been a little discouraged because business hasn't been so well. Has anyone's? Yesterday I came to realize this doesn't mean I should give up. No, it just means it's time to get creative and rethink how I'm doing things. And to refocus on why I do pet sitting for a living.

Actually, a couple of the animals I care for reminded me of what really matters. Playing with a very loving 6 month old kitten and laughing more than I had in a long time, as well as having a soft furball of a Chow/Golden Retriever mix meet me at the door every day for a week, ready for his walk, made me realize why I do this. Because I love animals!

I have always had animals in my life. As a child we always had at least 1 pet around, usually a cat and a dog, sometimes a couple cats and a dog. In many of my childhood pictures I have a pet of some sort around me. I recall bringing a few strays home and saying "Mom, can we keep him?" Sometimes Mom and Dad even said "Yes" ! One cat adopted us- Taffy, a beautiful Siamese/Himalayan mix who wandered onto our front porch one night, and stayed for a few years.

My favorite childhood pet will always be Rex. He was the German Shepherd we had when we lived in West Monroe,NY. He was very protective of us kids, and was very tolerant of us dressing him in clothes, tying a rope harness around him to pull our wagon around the yard, riding him, taking naps on him, and many other things. He went everywhere with us, camping, sledding, walking up to our grandparents house up the road. He was our best friend, our confidant, our protector. We had a foster child who had epilepsy and this was the greatest proof of his protection. He rarely left her side. She liked to wander out of the yard, or try to. Rex was always there to guide her back, or if needed, grab her by the seat of her pants and drag her back to safety. More proof is the time when my brother,Mike, and my dad were play wrestling, and Mike's hand got stepped on. He let out a yelp, and Rex sped down the hall, grabbed my dad's wrist in his mouth- did not bite- but did put enough pressure on it to let him know that whatever he was doing to "his" kid he had better stop right now. Sadly, Rex was killed protecting us, or at least his territory. One of our neighbors dogs wandered into our yard one morning. Rex chased him around, and across the road. A dump truck came by as they were crossing. The neighbor's dog made it, but Rex didn't. I still remember standing there looking at his lifeless body and crying.

I have had one pet of my own, Tigger, an orange tabby cat. He shared my life for 10 years. I got him from a friend who had a farm and too many cats. He ended up being the only one of his litter to survive to adulthood. He was a big beautiful cat- 17 pounds of fur and love. He loved to play fetch- I did not teach him this, he taught me. His favorite toy was my terry cloth ponytail holders. He would bring one to me, I would throw it, and the game would begin. He also had a catnip filled yellow bird that he wore out. The funniest thing he did was play with his food. Sometimes he would use his paw to pick up pieces of his food and put them in his water dish. He would then play with them and watch them float around. Then he would scoop them up in his paw and eat them. He was always making me laugh,or was ready to be picked up and snuggled. He would put his head against mine and purr softly. Tigger ran away 4 years ago when I moved here to Georgia and I was not able to find him. I hope he found a loving home with a window for him to sit in and watch the birds and squirrels.

Over the past 10 or so years, I have cared for many pets, either those of friends or customers.Including one 2 week stint at farm sitting- caring for 15 head of cattle, a horse, 3 Great Pyrenees,2 cats and several chickens and ducks. That was FUN!

Pets are an important part of many people's lives. Some consider them to be their children, or their best friend. They are always ready with a warm heart and body, purrs or tail wags. And all they ask in return is some of our time and for us to feed them.

Today one of my customers called me to thank me for what I do, caring for his cat in his home. He had taken her to her vet and while he was there checked out their cat boarding facilities. He said it amounted to basically a large closet with a light and some cages. While most vets and boarding facilities are better than this, sadly, it is still a stressful environment for your pet. Strange smells and sounds, other animals, some of whom may be ill, none of the comforts of home. And, they may be left alone for up to 15 hours, maybe more on weekends or holidays.

By contrast, if you hire a pet sitter, your pet can stay in its home, with all their "stuff"- toys,bed, smells, sounds, food. Less stress. And, someone will come by as often as you'd like to spend time with them. Exercise, play, treats, petting and companionship. You can rest easy too, knowing your pet is being cared for, as well as someone watching out for any problems at your home.

Someone who loves animals as much as you.