Happy Pet Sitter’s Week! It is the last day of pet sitter’s week, so I thought I would share some of the things I learned from the animals I’ve worked with. I have been a pet sitter for more than five years, working with a myriad of animals. Each experience has been different than the last and each animal taught me something new. I’ve learned a lot from many sources, but lessons from pets are a some of the most important things I know.
1. Never judge someone based on how they look
I once watched a tortoise, expecting him to be a somewhat dull companion. Boy, was I wrong. He was one of the liveliest animals I’ve ever watched, who absolutely loved human attention. When I would sit down in his backyard, he would run as fast as an 80 pound tortoise could to come cuddle with me. Looking at him, I would have thought he was stoic and unfeeling, but he was sweet and very loving.
2. Live in the moment
Animals have a different way of going about their lives than people. They are not inhibited by time and are unafraid of wasting time, of just spending time doing things that make them happy. Bailey, a dog I frequently watch, absolutely loves chasing bugs. Since the bugs are able to fly, they have an unfair advantage, but she doesn’t care. She has yet to catch any flies, but always puts all of her focus on the task at hand.
3. Age is just a number
In the last year, I have begun watching a 10 year old lab. He is not as lean or fast as he used to be, but that does not stop him. Whenever leaving for a walk, he takes on a puppy-like attitude, running and jumping and wagging his tail. Looking at him, his playful behavior makes him look years younger.
4. We all need reassurance every once in a while
Years ago, I watched a sweet cat who had taken up residence in her garage, as she was afraid of the new puppy who lived in her house. Her owner told me that she never left the garage but that he wished she would come in the house every once in a while. Determined to get her to come back inside, I would spend hours in the garage every day, slowly coaxing her toward the kitchen. She was afraid, but trusted me and knew that I would never put her in any danger. She realized that the dog was not a threat, and now happily lives inside with the three other cats in her family.
5. Do what makes you happy
I have tried jobs working with a few different groups. I have been a caretaker, a tutor, a coach, a manager, but I have never found a job I loved as much as pet sitting. The animals I work with bring so much joy into my life. I would not trade those experiences for anything. It can be hard work, sometimes frustrating and repetitive, but working with animals is my true passion.