Chronicles of a Pet Sitter: 19 February 2019

If you know me at all well, you know that I am an animal lover. Our family’s lives pretty much revolve around my love of animals. We currently have three dogs, a cat, and two birds. In the past, we have had chickens, llamas, goats, and rabbits.

I’m kind of known for being maybe just a wee bit impulsive when it comes to animal rescue.

Take, for example, the time I ordered chickens online and then mentioned that evening to my husband that we should probably build a coop.

Or, what about that time I got myself two goats for my birthday and didn’t tell anybody they were coming until it was time to section off the barn for their housing? Bonus: Come to find out, one of them was pregnant. Three for the price of two, woohoo!

Oh, and then there was the time we wound up naming our dog Okie because I begged The Hubbster to let us get him, and Hubbster’s answer was, “Okie dokie.”

And most recently, when little Avery jumped in the car on her own, and I brought her home.

I hasten to add that I don’t intentionally set out to make crazy decisions without consulting Hubbs… I just seem to be under the impression that every experience and opportunity comes my way for a reason, and act on it. The poor Hubbster. He is endlessly patient with me, for which I am eternally grateful.

Needless to say, though, despite The Hubbster’s patience and kindness, I have been forbidden from even looking at another rescue animal for the time being. I guess that’s fair.

In an effort to fill my need to take care of all of the animals without getting myself into further trouble, I started a pet sitting business as a side gig. It’s been pretty lucrative — and fun, too. I can’t complain at all. I never know what to expect, I’m never bored, and I like it that way. Sometimes, though, this business can put you in some… shall we say… odd situations. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to write about these situations until today, because there have been quite a few.

Odd Situation #1: No, I don’t want to take care of all of your lizards, frogs, birds, and various other reptiles in addition to your three dogs and stay in your house which is in a questionable neigborhood, 30 miles from my home, for under $20 a day. To give you an idea, the standard rate for overnight dog sitting is $40 per day, plus an additional $5 per dog. So, the going rate to stay one night with three dogs would be $50. Sometimes, if I like the person, I might give them a discount. Especially if they’re repeat customers. But these people… gosh, these people were unbelievable. They truly could not understand why I would charge them to care for all of the animals. Their thought was that the amphibians and reptiles were all very easy to care for, so I should only charge them for the dogs. Oh, and that I should only charge them for two of the dogs. And by the way, this job is for two weeks, and over the Christmas and New Years holidays. Yeah… that’s not happening.

Odd Situation #2: Please, could y’all put some more clothes on? Thanks! Yeah. This really happened. I went out to meet these folks, and they seemed great. Reasonably safe neighborhood. No complaining about the amount they would be charged for me to stay with their dogs. Clean, well spoken, and educated. Successful. In short, neither scary nor suffering from a deranged sense of entitlement. Awesome, right? Well, yes. Except the whole clothing thing. See, when I arrived at the designated time, I confidently strode up to the front door and knocked. The Missus answered the door in what is probably the smallest bath robe in the entire state of Texas, complete with leopard skin print. This woman had more cloth covering her wet hair than she did the rest of her entire body. Stunned, I averted my eyes and asked if I had gotten the time wrong. Nope, they’re just not ready yet. Have a seat on the couch and they’ll finish packing up. So, this more than half naked woman ushered me into their living room, where I sat on the couch and waited uncomfortably. Then, as I sat there, plain as day, her husband walked down the hall, naked as a jaybird. He had apparently just showered, and didn’t know I was there. At that point, I loudly excused myself and said I had a few phone calls to make, and that I could be found in my car when they were ready. To this day, I have worked for them a number of times, and each time, they have required additional time to get ready. I’ve taken to calling when I am about ten minutes away to inquire as to whether I “have enough time” to stop for gas before they take off. This usually gets them in gear, and at least dressed before I arrive. Whew.

Odd Situation #3: WHY ARE YOU HACKING THEIR TREE DOWN, SIR? So, this particular job is one of my favorites, because it is like being paid to stay at a resort. These folks are so nice, and their house is in a remote and peaceful area. They graciously allow me and The Wee Little Miss to make use of their swimming pool and spa while we are there. Plus, they have worked quite hard to turn their back garden into a bird sanctuary. We love birdwatching, so this is really quite a treat. One day, while we were inside making lunch, we heard a terribly loud noise out back. What on earth could that be? There aren’t any other houses around. I instruct the WLM to go into the living room and wait while I check into it. Turns out, this guy had been hired BY THEIR NEIGHBOR to cut down a tree, and gotten the address wrong. He had been told nobody would be home while he did the work, so he simply drove on out back and started cutting. I was speechless. There is nothing like being in an isolated part of Texas, having to confront a strange man with a chainsaw. Thankfully I caught him in time, and he had only done minimal damage — and the homeowners were amazingly very kind about the whole thing. They said they wanted to have that tree trimmed, anyway, so it all worked out. I am pretty sure if our positions had been reversed, I’d have freaked out a lot more!

Odd Situation #4: Terribly sorry, but your furniture has been eaten. Yeah, that happened this week. This particular client only wanted me to “drop in” on their dogs a couple of times a day. Generally, this service is requested only by those who have very small, well behaved dogs. These dogs are… well, they’re mostly well behaved, but they are four (yes, FOUR) very large (VERY LARGE) dogs. Two are what I would label as “particularly energetic”. The other two are super entertaining: one older female who resembles a hippo (in the most adorable way), and an older male who also vaguely resembles a hippo (also in the most adorable way), if hippos were about the size of a chihuahua. Long story short: one of the energetic boys ate a chair. The owners were strangely unconcerned. Hey, well, to each his own, right? Thankfully, the dogs have been much more relaxed since eating the chair. I wonder if it had some medicinal properties?

Now, I am sharing these stories entirely with a smile on my face. All in all, I can definitely say I love what I do. An office setting would be WAY too boring for me!

Live in East Texas? Need a pet/house sitter? Let me know.

More adventures to come…