Become A Pet Sitter They Said. It'll Be Fun They Said
Last Update: Sep 1, 2020
The last time I wrote in detail about my side gig - a pet sitting business - was in December 2018. That blog was titled Become A Pet Sitter They Said. I have written 106 blogs within WA so it is possible I have written about the pet sitting since then, I just don't recall. If I haven't, it's not for any reason in particular, just has been the way it has been. Last night, for the first time in 6 months (thanks to Covid, lock downs, curfews, restricted travel etc.,) my daughter and I headed to a potential client to meet their furbabies. This little meeting reminded me of "become a pet sitter they said ... it'll be fun they said".
I Shoulda Known
On Thursday last week I received a phone call, "Hello Louise, this may be a strange call, I hope you don't mind". Much nervous laughter from me followed. "Well, so long as it's a good strange, I am game" said I kinda confidently. The kinda confident came from the fact that I was speaking with a female ... sorry guys, that just made me feel somewhat safer.
"I found your name and number on a Facebook thread. I um, high jacked it really, from someone elses advert"
My nervous laughter quickly exploded into a great big belly-laugh! Half from relief, the other half from complete amusement. Little did I know what was headed our way.
This potential client took great pains to explain how her sister is going away and she is desperate for a great, patient, gentle pet sitter to take care of her two babies. Continuing that these two Labradors really are her life!
Both furbabies are rescues and the male in particular comes from a very harsh background of abuse so he is an extremely nervous boy. Very highly strung and afraid. But, I was assured, he is also an absolute gentleman, well-trained and obedient.
You've Come To The Right Place
I explained that my daughter and I have great references, we have managed many furbabies with quirks and I have no doubt that we will be 100% fine with these two Labradors.
After all, they are Labradors ... fun-loving, adventurous, well natured ... the list of positive traits for this breed is a mile long, at least!
After much toing and froing between the two sisters and myself, we finally agree that the best time for us to meet said furbabies will be Sunday at 6pm
Honestly, not an ideal time for either my daughter or I, but hey, this is the first booking in 6 months - let's go get 'em!
First the location pin is sent to my mobile phone, without an actual physical address. I say thank you for the pin drop, but may I also have the physical address.
Response received ... I have sent you a location pin.
Politely I request the street address and house number once again.
These are sent to my mobile and I respond with a polite thank you.
Mother & Daughter Communications
I ask my daughter,"if someone sends you a location pin, do you usually ask for the street address too?"
"Of course not Mom, the location pin will take us exactly to where we need to go." she retorted.
Well, I'm a Mom, old enough to be a Grandma if truth be told. Perhaps I don't get technology as well as the younger folk ... though I still believe I was correct in requesting the physical address. I will be interested to know what your thoughts are.
We decide to go in my daughter's car, so I forward the location pin to her phone ... she likes to be in control when she drives. Fair enough. Secretly I quite fancy the idea of being driven without a care in the world, lol!
Arriving At The Destination
So, we find our way to the street with ease. On reaching the one hundred and something numbers, Google maps tells us we have arrived at our destination.
Ha! It doesn't tell us which house number, now does it! Beth asks what house number we are going to ... I respond that I am not sure, I think it's 117 on our left. We pull into the driveway, there is no intercom to use. My phone is at home and the potential client's telephone number is on my phone (yeah, face palm!).
So, we hoot. No response, we hoot again. Still no response. Perhaps I am mistaken, maybe it's not 117. We pull our of the driveway and try the number diagonally across the street. Number 114. A very kind old lady comes our and lets us know we are at the wrong house. After much discussion (very reluctant on my part because we were now running late), this sweet and helpful old dame convinces me that there are no houses in the vicinity with 2 Labradors.
We head home to call from my mobile. You can image, my daughter was not impressed with Mom!
On calling the client, we establish that they are indeed at 117, and they apologize profusely for not hearing us hooting at their gate. Very strange considering we were there exactly on time! However!
We return to the correct house, at 117, and the fun begins.
Said client meets us at the gate, 2 Labradors are audible and visible through a glass door. Client decides to place both Labbies behind a door before allowing us access to her lounge.
No problem to us, we know the male is particularly nervous, we want to do what is best for him.
After a brief chat and an explanation of what to expect, the furbabies are brought into the lounge.
As described, the male barks aggressively, every single strand of fur standing on his body ... I've never seen anything quite like it. He runs at us but not too close, then backs off into the corner continuing with the aggression.
My daughter and I are sitting quietly on the couch.
The female Labrador ... the "friendlier of the two" ... charges us, uncomfortably close! We take turns at feeling her breath on our legs as she closes in on us one at a time.
The above picture is not a true representation ... first up that is not a Labrador, secondly, the Labrador was not wearing a collar or a leash!
Beth puts her hands our and calls, "come Leila". Leila came, at a speed, snarling and growling as she did!
"Beth," I whispered under my breath "do not look directly at her and do not move your hands, my love". Sounding a whole lot more calm than I felt!
This performance continued for a good 10 to 15 minutes!!!
Finally, ... owner decided that she should move the male away and allow us to get to know the female alone as that would be easier to manage. By the way, she had zero control of these two - there was no obedience, zero, zilch!
With Titan removed (yep, that's the wild boys name), we endured Leila running at us, snarling, growling, barking ... just as she had with Titan in the room.
We were still seated on the couch ... not daring to stand ... with Leila positioned between us and our only escape route, the glass door!
Cut A Long Story Short
Another ten minutes down, Leila still not relaxed - she wasn't having any of us unless it we were served to her as a meal - it was decided that she too should be moved away from us. Thank the Good Lord!
Pet Whisperer's No More
Beth and I have both prided ourselves of being called the Pet Whisperer's. Granted, we have had some wild rescues, boisterous Bull Terriers, mischievous Great Danes and a whole host more ... But we have never encountered anything like Titan and Leila before! NEVER!
The Potential Client
Now, after that performance, our first expectation was that we would not be the ones appointed to pet sit. But that is not how it was, said potential client assumed that we were going to take on the job!
With that in mind, one would expect that there would be some kind of interview. You know, ask questions about us, what our experience is, where we live, references etc.
Oh no, she proceeded to tell us her life story in far more detail than either of us was comfortable with.
We were there for at least another 45 minutes, listening to her regaling stories about her life, her family, how many children her mother had, how fertile her mother was ... I kid you not ...the furbabies and more.
No questions asked and an assumption made that we would be taking care of her furbabies whilst she goes away.
After far too much time, we leave the potential clients home.
As you can imagine, times are pretty tough, Beth lost her employment during lock down, in addition to losing pet and house sitting bookings. In the first month alone we lost four grand!
Some cash coming in from a pet sitting gig is a very exciting prospect! Not so for Mom! I was very direct with Beth, "there is no chance of me staying with those wild furries and I am not happy for you to do it either". My daughter is knee-high to a grasshopper after all.
Beth is the one who has always been an animal whisperer. She frolicked in the paddock with horses from the age of 4. Much to the horse owner's amazement, never mind her mother's utter fright and fear!
Beth was of the opinion that she could manage these two wild furchildren. Mom's need to protect her young kicked in. "Bunny, there is no way I am going to be comfortable with you at the house with these two! Sorry. But I am declining this job, no matter how much money they are prepared to pay!"
Message To Decline
It took me a full day to respond, searching for the words which would not cause any harm, this is what I wrote
"Hi potential client, it was good to meet you all last night.
Unfortunately , Beth and I have decided that we are not the right sitters for Titan and Leila. Much as it pains us, we cannot assist with pet sitting them.
Another client of ours told us about Fluffs & Tuffs assisting them with behavioural issues and they were amazed at the results. They (Fluffs & Tuffs) may be worth considering. They also have kenneling available. Have a look at their site : fluffs-n-tuffsdotcodotza/behaviour"
Note: I referred them directly to the page where the company speaks about fear aggression and behavioural training.
Our Final Assessment
We came to the conclusion that the owner is indeed part of the problem with these furbabies. She assured us that they are far better behaved when she is not around because they do not feel the need to be protective.
We believe that there is truth in the background she described to us. I won't go into the details, they are very disturbing to say the least. However, the dogs are now years old (I think she said 3) and have been in her care since 8 months old.
These furbabies are in desperate need of assistance, as does the owner. There definitely is love for her furbabies, but no supporting knowledge to assist them.
Hopefully she will contact the recommended organization, they do incredible work.
As For Our Financial Situation...
Well, we just have to accept that the money from that particular job would have been very high risk income. We are not in the habit of collecting danger pay! Though, perhaps this should be a consideration for the future, lol!
Thank you for taking the time to read my epistle, I hope it was entertaining at least.
My gratitude of this amazing platform never ceases, now that my eyes are somewhat better, I am able to spend more time working on my site again. Thank heavens!
One step closer to not having to pet sit but choosing to do so because we love the work.
Here ends the second edition of Become a pet sitter they said. It will be fun, they said!
All going well, the next one (should there be one at all) will be filled with fun and enjoyable antics of our furry friends!
Blessings to you all as always
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