Dog Tales Archives

Good Bye and Good Luck

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.

Somedays in This Business

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!

Once Upon a Dog

 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.