I’m exhausted. Being a loving and caring dog sitter is exhausting. I care so much for my doggie guests it always seems a bit lonely when one of them leaves (even if there is 6 more laying at my feet at the time). It is always interesting to me which doggie parents show appreciation for the care I’ve taken with their pups and which just walk off into the sunset after picking up their dog. This job has certainly given me more appreciation for those folks that work to make our lives easier (aka “the help”). If I still could afford my cleaning lady I’d smother her in hugs and kisses … as I know now what I put her through. In today’s world with YELP reviews and social media “word of mouth” I think it is more important than ever to not just report negative experiences but positive as well. I’m always over the moon when I see a positive review that a doggie mom/dad has left me and sob silently inside when someone takes their pup home without taking the time to write a review. I realize that they have more important things in their busy lives to think about. I get that heading back to their email to write a review is the last thing on their mind BUT I have taken care of their baby. I did everything I could to keep their precious fluffy cargo safe and happy during their folks vacation just so they could soak in the sun without having to worry. Just as a reminder here are the things I have done while others have been swimming, relaxing, taking in culture, enjoying the view, and whatever else you do while you are away from home:
* Gotten bruised and scratched. SO MANY BRUISES AND SCRATCHES. I’ve held onto a collar with a Hulk-like grip and had my arm twisted around just to keep a dog from escaping. I’ve fallen so many times while hiking with the pups I can’t keep track. I’ve broken up dog fights with my own body (I don’t suggest you do this). I’ve been a chew toy for puppies and something for dogs to jump up on over and over and over again.
* I’ve given up my bed. I’ve slept sideways, diagonal and at the foot of my own bed so the pups can be comfy. I’ve slept on the sofa and on the floor. I’ve not slept because a dog was sick or I’ve slept with a dog head in a cone on my chest. I’ve curled up in a dog bed next to an uneasy pup. I’ve slept with dogs pushing me off the bed, dogs sharing my pillow, dogs on my head, dogs on my legs, dogs on my stomach … To be fair Lousy actually did share his bed with me once when I was sick and he was sleeping in the bathroom. His bed was perfectly placed next to the toilet. I suggest it the next time you get the flu … much comfier than the cold tile floor.
* I take the dogs out on an adventure every day. That usually means hiking … everyday. Sure you may think this sounds like a blast and … it is … but it is also exhausting. Try climbing or being pulled up a hill or down a path EVERY DAY for approx 2 hours a day. No weekend breaks … 7 days a week. I have horrible tan lines.
* Dogs have taken over my phone memory. The constant pictures to show dog folks their babies are a-ok. I’ve taken the time and effort to download the pictures and get them to their folks so that they can enjoy. That means before going to sleep I set up my phone to download a bunch of photos from the day. I do this EVERY night.
* Everything I own is dirty. You think your house is dirty with one active dog? Try 4-7 active dogs. I am CONSTANTLY cleaning. CONSTANTLY. I guarantee I’ve cleaned my carpet, floor boards (how do the floor boards get so filthy), walls (dog height), and linens more than anyone else you know. My car is covered in dirt and smears from dog noses. My backyard may never not smell like pee.
* I do zillions of loads of laundry. Rags are on a constant rotation from pee clean up to washer to dryer to pee clean up again. My sweaty smelly daily hiking clothes pile up and up and up.
* If your dog is hurt or not feeling well I do everything I can to fix her/him. I stay up to make sure everything is okay. I’ve picked up dogs form ERs in the middle of the night. I’ve woken up every x many hours to administer pills.
* I’ve purchased enough hydrogen peroxide and food scented candles (I don’t like floral scents) to make Target’s checkers curious about what is happening in my house. My hydrogen peroxide has a spray bottle top so I can easily saturate myself and pups in it … daily. Scented candles cover the smell of wet dog and pee (and wet pee when I clean my carpet).
* When a dog ran away I didn’t sleep (I couldn’t sleep) until he was found. I walked for hours in the middle of the night screaming out his name. I forced my strong will on friends and wouldn’t let them give up our search. I (we) printed out 50+ flyers and hung them up around town. When found I carried the pup to the car. When he was at the vet I stayed up waiting for him to be ready for pick up. When I got home I had him lie next to me and I constantly woke up to check on how he was doing. I did everything in my power to make sure he was okay.
My job is 24/7 and sadly it isn’t my only job. There are no breaks. There are no weekends … and did I mention the bruises? I love the pups (almost all of the pups) and I’m happy to do so much for them. I just want doggie folks to understand all that is being done to keep their baby happy and healthy.
If you think someone has gone above and beyond in their job don’t keep it to yourself. Let them know. Let their boss know. Write a good review. Drop them a note. And if it’s me … I do accept wine as a tip!