Littld did I know at age ten that my first paid job, pet sitter for a French poodle, would become my profession several decades after college. My primary task was to keep Chouchou ("brussel sprout" in French) from whining. I didn't have to walk her, so it left a pretty skewed impression of work, and the realities of pet sitting.
In 2004 my pet sitting hobby became my full time business. I'm learning it's a lot more than hanging out with the cute and cuddly. Like all jobs, it has its joys and challenges.
Tory was adopted from Golden Bond Rescue. We met when she nine years; by age 14, her health was deteriorating, but then she would rally. Her veterinarian called her "wonder dog." This summer I was with her on a long house sit. It was a bittersweet time, since I suspected it would be our last, so I was more present,more in the moment. When informed of her death, I cried deeply. I still remember her joyful "woo, woo" as she jumped in the air, anticipating a walk. She will always have a special place in my heart.
Sometimes clients leave Portland. Some let me know; others simply drop off the radar. It's easy to bond to many of the animals I care for, and at the end of a stay, I sometimes feel a little heart tug, not knowing when I'll see them next. But I'd rather have my heart engaged than not. That's how I came up with the name Heart & Hands Animal Care: combining my heart & my massage trained hands to care for and comfort animals, when their people are absent.
Now I'm on an overnight job for two kitties. Francesca is a delicate, pretty tabby who drools and kneads; likely, she was taken from her mama too early. She and Audrey, her kitty companion, enjoy the "In & Out" game. They sit at the side door waiting for me to open it. About two minutes later, they want to return indoors, only to repeat that over and over.
Their guardians return home soon, and I will return home to my Main Coon, Porter. Tonight I will snuggle with him, and will wake to his love bites & sandpaper kisses. Soon I'll be packing my bags again, to care for more animal friends.