Question to Gina:
Looking at my spoiled son Mitch I wonder how I can leave him for 2 wks when we go to Maui. He’s older now and so good, but set in his ways. What do you think goes thru their minds when we leave them? How do you make them feel better?
Answer to Donna:
We put so many human characteristics on our beloved pets, Donna. They are smart but not so complicated as we humans. I must have had over a thousand assignments in client’s homes to care for their pets. I have been in the pet care business for TEN years now!! That is at least 1,000 assignments. There have been MANY thousandS of days and nights spent caring for other’s pets!!! Which is probably why you asked me the question. I believe they mainly simply think, “Oh here is this nice person taking care of me. Ahhh…I like the sound of her voice. She even knows my name!!! This person really likes me, I can tell…OH MY we are going for a walk?! I LOVE to go for WALKS!! Oh boy, she knows where my food and treats are too. I LOVE food and treats. Gee…this is fun….”
Donna, I know for certain they have very few worries when left in their OWN homes to be cared for by a loving, accountable, mature pet sitter. And, I know this care solution is a helluva lot more considerate on the parts of the humans than placing them in a kennel. No matter how nice or expensive that kennel may be, there really is no place like home. Animals prefer their own homes to a “vacation” any day. Familiar surroundings and routine schedules – that is what they thrive on. I love my “work.” So much so I put the word “work” in quotes. I feel very appreciated. I like to say that not once while working in the “corporate environment” was anyone EVER so happy to see me arrive that they peed on the floor. Not once. Thank you for your question. It was fun to think about and answer.
Celebrating TEN years of service to the companionship pet community October 28, 2012!!!
I swear, if it were not for my dog…just fill in the blank…I would simply not be the same person that I am. She teaches me so much about life. When faced with a decision, so many times the right choice woulda, coulda been a better one if I had approached the decision making process with, “What would the dog do?” And then applied that thought to my human solution. It occurs to me that dogs are a lot more “humane” than some (too many) humans. And far less complicated. Even the aggressive ones are pretty simple to figure out. If the world was run by dogs, there would be peace on earth. The gentle, good-hearted dogs would far outweigh the number of angry, aggressive ones. And there would be plenty of bones and biscuits to go around.
Once there was a dog name Johnny. He was my third child. My third son. The good son. The one who actually listened to his mother. John had golden blonde hair and big brown eyes…just like my other two sons. Only his were fringed heavily and were always focused on mine whenever I spoke. If I cried – even if just from a sad movie -he’d make a place on my lap to comfort me, sighing heavily as if to indicate he could relate to my sadness.
Johnny came into our family on my oldest son’s 10th birthday when all he wanted in the entire world was a dog. His father and I had grown up with dogs and often spoke of adding another to our lives. But with two young children and careers that took up far more time than we had to give, there simply did not seem to be room for a dog to care for as well. But oh how our son begged. Oh what a great case he made for the opportunity to learn responsibility. He was just too bright for our argument.
Sometimes it is good to be wrong. This was one of those times. Johnny came to us in need of a home and looking more like a Golden Retriever than most pure bred Goldens ever do. Testimony to his questionable lineage lived in his left ear which stuck straight up at all times, the right one laying flat. This made Johnny seem ever alert and listening carefully.
We at Friendly Pet Care say good bye and good luck to one of our team members on Sunday, 1/29/12. My son, Brent, heads to California to begin a new life on that day leaving his parents to wonder where the time went. But we admire his courage and conviciton. The area is just bursting with opportunity for musicians and artists. So is NYC and a lot closer. But he is my son. So it should not surprise me that CA is his preference. We are more alike than we easily admit. His leaving tears me apart and fills me with joy to see him fully living a life. Here’s an angel, son. I place it on your shoulder.
Some days I have to pinch myself. I can hardly believe that I have turned a passion into a profession. I love pet sitting! And, I have some of the best clients in the world. Or at least some of the best in Camden County, Gloucester County and even parts of Burlington County. Heck, I can even name a few across the Delaware – in the city and beyond who have become extended Friendly Pet Care family. But out in Gloucester County – not far off of the Delsea Drive, I have a new friend – a 100 pound black lab that thinks I am really ok. He can’t believe I have a key to his house even though he barely knows me and that I somehow even happen to know just where his treats are kept! Just a few weeks ago my weekend included a late Friday night visit in pitch darkness to a home situated on 3 wooded acres where nobody was home. Nobody but a big 100 pound black lab and his sibling cats, that is. A phone call mid-afternoon of that day was to start my new relationship when the caller asked sheepishly,
“I know this is kind of short notice, but would you be available to pet sit for my dog this weekend?”
“Sure, I said, “When are you planning to leave?”
“In about 3 hours,” was the reply.
As a professional pet sitter, and a person who prides herself with at least a ½ a cup of sense, I rarely enter my client’s homes “cold.” We schedule an in-home introductory/instructional visit prior to our scheduled visits. The pets get to know us a bit and become assured that their human parents are just fine with us being in their home. This is particularly important with dogs as you can imagine. But here I am saying,
“Oh. Ok…Uh..Sure,” and my new human client assuring me that her dog is just a sweet old lab who will just be so excited to see me that I won’t have anything to fear. Well at 10 p.m. that Friday night, here I am fiddling under the mat on a dark front porch of a home I’ve never been to before and trying to find my way and wondering if I am insane. Visions of the cubicle I left long ago to assume this alternative way of earning a living suddenly seems preferable. Armed with headlamps and a bag of beef jerky, I turn the key in the unfamiliar lock and wonder if this will be the day that I die. I wonder if all the people who have asked me how I have the courage to do the job I do will be kind or shake their heads and say that they tried to warn me. I can hear the lab sniffing deeply on the other side of the door. I take a deep breath as if to cleanse myself of the smell of sensible fear and enter to care for the needs of what appears to be more of a horse than a dog. He is tentative for just a second. My soft voiced crooning of his name and other endearments along with the smell of beef jerky makes me a welcomed guest. Plus he has to pee. A few pieces of jerky to break the ice followed by a trip to the backyard and we’re chillin’ as though we’d been friends for years. There are a lot of good things about dogs. But one of the best things is how they seem to be able to assess character at the speed of a greyhound and a sniff of a crotch. They give much. They expect little. This job sure is different from where I used to work – in corporate hell. In fact, it is the polar opposite!
Jimmy is my person. I like him the best of all the persons in our house, maybe because he’s smaller and closer to the ground than they are.
When I was a baby I used to live in a tiny cage in a tiny room and it smelled really bad there. Jimmy and his Mom picked me out of all the other furry animals and took me to live with them at their house. It smells much nicer at their house. Jimmy named me Sammy after one of his other cats who’s not here anymore because he went to some place called kitty Heaven. Jimmy’s Mom says that’s a nice place to be, but I really like it in Jimmy’s house right now, so I don’t think I’ll be going to kitty Heaven any time soon.
Jimmy comes downstairs every morning and he has a big glass of milk with his breakfast. He never drinks it all, so when he’s done he shares it with me. Sometimes I get really excited about that milk and try to drink some before he’s done with it and Jimmy yells “SAMMY!” but he doesn’t stay mad at me for long.
Then I like to spend the rest of the day taking a nap somewhere. But close to the time that Jimmy comes home from school I get up and wait by the front door for him. Even though I don’t have a watch because I don’t have a wrist to put it on like people do, I always know when it’s time for Jimmy to come home from school.
When Jimmy comes home he sits at the counter in the kitchen and he writes things on pieces of paper. I sit on the counter with him to keep him company. He takes such a long time writing things on pieces of paper I get impatient and want to play NOW. His pencil moves back and forth and I want to swat it, and sometimes I DO swat it and then Jimmy yells, “SAMMY!” and so I stop. But then that pencil starts moving again and I just want to swat it so badly. This is one of my favorite games. But when Jimmy’s finished writing with that pencil he always plays with me. We play with a feather on a stick and we play chase with a magic red light that Jimmy has. When we get tired we lay down and Jimmy pets me. He’s very gentle and pets me better than any other people.
Jimmy has so many little things to play with that sometimes I take one of them and then Jimmy yells “SAMMY!” but I’ll nudge him to say I’m sorry and he doesn’t stay mad at me for long.
When it’s dark outside Jimmy jumps into this big thing with water spraying down and I love to try and catch the water drops and listen to the water sounds and sometimes I try to drink the water too. A few times I fell in. When I fall in Jimmy yells, “Mom- Sammy’s in the tub again!”
Then I make sure that Jimmy goes to sleep o.k. and after I make my rounds to check that the whole house is safe I’ll spend some time cuddling with Jimmy’s Dad because he’s my second favorite petting person, and then I’ll get up and lay down in the hallway outside Jimmy’s room and make sure he’s all right until it’s light outside again.
And then Jimmy says, “Goodnight Sammy.”
A wonderful thing happened to me when I was born. I was born into a family that had a dog. This began a lifetime of passion for these creatures.
Rusty was a German Shepherd. He was about 3 years old and very hairy. My mother was forever brushing him. Dog hair seemed to want to cover every single surface of our home. When it really got bad, Mom vacuumed the dog. And he let her.
They say that sometimes dogs get jealous of new babies in the home and that parents have to be careful about the introduction. Rusty was fine. I know this because my parents often spoke of how willingly he accepted me. He had a great nature. It is said that Rusty was the finest of babysitters. Apparently there were times when my parents, tired of my noise, would leave my crying, cranky, I-don’t-wanna-take-a-nap ass in a playpen outside with no worries. There I would eventually tire myself out and take the nap I so needed. Rusty stood guard against anyone who may have been inclined to hop the fence and steal me.
Times change. Today dogs are generally treated like family members and my parents were generally ahead of their time. Certainly in the dog category. Rusty was treated very well within our unit. At a time when dogs were sadly often tied to trees with a bucket of food and a pail of water….all day long…and through the night, Rusty slept at the foot of may parents bed. Through the night he would check on me and patrol the doors and windows. Finding everything in order he would only then return to his spot.
One day when I was about 5, Rusty was just gone. I got the Rainbow Bridge to doggie heaven story. As mentioned, I am into my fifties and have had many dogs own me over the years. But it is true what they say about first loves. We never forget them. RIP Rusty. You were a good boy.
Daisy is a great dog but she is not up for adoption. Sadly, however, there are plenty who are. Won’t you open a space in your home and your heart to provide refuge for a pet in need? petfinder.com
Perhaps, like so many of us, you already have. Friendly Pet Care is involved with assisting in the re-homing of pets. Using our client list of wonderfully, compassionate, pet-loving people, some success is had. But there are still so many more deserving dogs, cats, birds and things waiting. petfinder.com