Having the privilege of being a pet sitter and being a business owner is truly an amazing experience. When I started pet sitting for friends, family and co-workers 10 years ago, I never thought I would ever be able to make it my career. When Megan and I started this company almost 8 years, I never thought we would ever accomplish HALF the things we’ve done.
It’s been an amazing opportunity and one that has taught me many, many lessons. It has allowed me to follow my passions, some of which I never even knew I had, and it has brought me friends and colleagues all over the country. All over the world, for that matter!
It has allowed me to meet hundreds of pet owners in the Toms River area and THOUSANDS of their pets. The relationships I have developed with both the owners and their pets have been unique and very special to me.
The Bright Side
When I began pet sitting, it was so awesome to think about all the fun and neat moments I would be able to have with the pets in my care. What toys would we play with? What neighborhoods would we walk around?
It is so incredible to really build relationships with all these pets. Think about it, I visit with these pets multiple times a day while their parents are on vacation for anywhere from 2-14 days, a few times a year. Or, I walk them 2-5 times a week while their parents are working.
I am able to spend enough time with them to get to know their individual personalities and quirks – who needs some extra loving on the floor, in the sun, in their favorite room. Who needs some coaxing or to be hand fed the first day or two? Who loves to play hide and go seek? Or fetch until my arm almost falls off?
The Not So Bright Side
The hardest part of being a pet sitter is not knowing if this will be last time I care for a pet.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live my life in a morbid or depressing state. But it is so hard when you can see a pet is nearing the end of their life. Sometimes their parents look to me for guidance and I always try to be as open and honest as I can.
What’s even worse that is receiving a phone call or email that a pet has passed. I can’t tell you how many times I have read a heartfelt email from a client and sat in front of my computer crying.
Although these pets aren’t mine 24/7, they are “mine” for the times I care for them, play with them, hand feed them, crawl around, or sit still so they can get to know me. They are “mine” when they sit on my lap and make biscuits on my chest, or sleep next to me (or on top of me!) during overnights. They are “mine” when I sing and dance around the kitchen or chase them around the back yard.
When I send our clients sympathy cards, I only hope they understand how truly sorry I am for their loss. Because I feel it, too.
Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge
I’d like to share some photos and memories of some of my clients who have left paw prints on my heart.
Aiken was just about the coolest dog, ever. He was stellar at playing fetch!
Jamie was a special needs kitty and though she growled and made herself heard, she was a sweet girl who loved to be brushed and brought in with the family.
Bodhi was a gentle soul and he became a piece of each of our hearts over the years. His mom became one of our trainers and Bodhi played a large part in helping client’s dogs learn not to react to other dogs. Seeing him bury himself in the snow was such sight and he LOVED it!
I love this picture because I really feel that Jack smiled every minute of every day! He would greet me with a toy or two in his mouth, his whole body wagging. He gobbled his treats down like he had never had any before and he played with his heart.
Randy was an “old man” when we met, but I was lucky enough to care for him each week for over 3 more years. He loved basking in the sun and drinking out of the running faucet.
When I met Miles, his mom told me he would be a black flash running by and I would only catch a glimpse of him, he didn’t care for people. By the time Mom arrived home from her first trip away, Miles and I were best of friends and I was able to pet, brush and play with him. He loved drinking from the bathtub and playing with any of his toys!
“I hope your memories help carry you through this difficult time.” That is one of my favorite sayings to our clients because I really believe it.
I would never trade what I do for anything in the world. Having to say goodbye to the pets in my care is hard, but I know I will always have the memories of our times together.
“Pets are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.”