The experiences I have had as a pet sitter have been some of the best times of my life. But with a job such as this, there is a variety of emotions that you can go through during one booking. These emotions can range from overjoyed to feeling as though your heart has dropped out through your body. But, don’t get me wrong. This is possibly the best job I have ever had, and if I ever must give it up, I will be completely and utterly disappointed and devastated.
There are so many reasons that you can feel happy or sad during a booking. For me, I love meeting new pets every time I get a new client, but the longer or more often that you see a pet for, the more you create a connection with them. And this connection can lead you on a roller-coaster of emotions, you grow so attached to these pets and find yourself treating them with all the love and care that you treat your own pets with. And then at the end of the booking you must give them back, which can be hard in the lead up to the pick-up time. I have always felt so sad in the hours before the pet leaves my care, it's like losing a friend repeatedly. I’ve fallen so in love with pets that I must admit I’ve had a little cry before their owners get here to collect them.
But on the flipside of the emotional pick-up time is the second that pet sees their owner and they are just overcome with joy to be back with them. And the sadness of losing them becomes this bubbling joy of seeing them reunite with the person/people they love the most in this entire world. There is no better sight than seeing a dog physically unable to control their selves because their tail is wagging so hard that they are just a ball of wriggling, whining love.
Although, I have to admit that I have fallen victim to the odd pet that I have been counting down the minutes to being able to hand them back over. I once looked after a dog that was so unruly, that I considering just handing it my keys, and coming back at the end of the week. He was a fully-grown dog, that had never been told no or ever been trained in any form. He would chew everything, bite you, bite other people, howl throughout the night, wee and poo all over my house, and in the end, I basically threw him into the arms of his owner and collapsed in a tired heap for approximately 24 hours. This struggle was the worst I’ve experienced, but I have read and heard some horror stories from other pet sitters that haunt me!
There have been times where all has felt hopeless though, like the months where it seems nobody in the world wants to go away, and you're left short on money through the lack of bookings. These hopeless feelings can also creep in when it comes to caring for the one thing that most people in this world dream about having… Puppies.
Puppies may be the cutest, funniest, most loving little creatures in the world. But, they can also be terrors. You spend the entire time you look after a puppy, either chasing it screaming “What’s in your mouth?”, “Drop it!”, “No!”, “Come here!” or you are having the most adorable sleepy cuddles ever. There’s no in between. Puppies also love to cry, the exact same as babies. They cry because they’re hungry, tired, bored, happy, inside, outside, being cuddled, not being cuddled, practically any reason, is reason enough to cry. And while this is cute for a couple of hours, it can start to grind on you when they are sat on your chest whinging at 3 AM every night because they want attention.
People always say to me, “You have the best job ever! You can sleep in 'til late, you can sit around the house all day in your pjs, you barely have to do anything.” To these people, I simply just laugh. Because I am up at 7-8 AMevery day because the pet must be fed, and/or let out for a wee. Throughout the day I am either walking the pet, playing with the pet, cleaning out the pet, feeding the pet, and giving them the care they need if they have some form of special requirement. Some people like their dog walked 3 times a day for like 15 minutes each, or some people like their pet walked once for an hour and a half. My routine changes every time I have a different client. I work all day, because caring for someone’s pet is the same as caring for someone’s child. I am responsible for the life of something that means so much to someone. And I would never want to send a pet back to their owner unhappy, that would break my heart. I have had scares where a pet has fallen ill, or even had something happen, like being attacked by a dog on a walk. And that is the hardest thing to deal with because, I am responsible. It’s my job to make sure that pet is happy, well looked after, and safe.
The life of a pet sitter is far harder than people imagine at first glance. We offer a service that is needed. And people rely on us to give their pet the best possible care we can, and we strive to do this with all our might. We are not people who just lounge around cuddling pets all day, we are working hard to maintain a life that someone dearly cares about. And that is why my job is the best job I’ve ever had, not because I don’t have to do a lot according to some people, but because the job I do means so much to someone, and that gives me a feeling that I haven’t felt fully before from working anywhere else before. It gives me a sense of pride, and of pure happiness to see someone smile as they walk away with their pet. That is the true joy of my work.