One Time When I Was Pet Sitting… Routines
“Marie-Antoinette* and Piglet* are trained to use the toilet and there is a motion sensor flusher. We need you to clean the toilet after each one does their business or the other won’t use the toilet. Oh and we need you to markdown on this whiteboard the time and type of business.” This is what the pet owners told me on one of my first pet sitting assignments when I asked about my responsibilities. The mirror adjacent to the toilet was so I could see which cat was using the toilet, this would make it easy to see while sitting on the sofa. “For training purposes, we are documenting their toilet routine and would like you to continue that while we are away,” they said.
A few assignments later, I was told by another pet owner, “Jetstar* doesn’t actually have a food bowl, we just toss the food out on to the patio a few times a day.” What? No food bowl? No set eating time? No set food quantity? But isn’t there a routine I need to follow? Isn’t that why I am here, (a stranger, taking care of your beloved family pet) to follow a set routine so your pet’s life is not disrupted because of your holiday?
Dozens of pet assignments later I can tell you with certainty that no pet owner cares for their pet in the same way. There is no “correct” way; there are just different ways. Some dogs are allowed on the bed and some aren’t. Some cats are fed three times per day, some twice. Some dogs have scheduled walk times, some don’t. Some dogs are allowed treats, some aren’t. So, I ask questions, lots of questions about their habits, likes and dislikes. I even put reminders in my phone to get the timing right for feeding, walking or medication.
But there’s one thing I don’t need to put a reminder in my phone for and that is cuddles, play-time and love. No matter the personality of the pets that I care, I seem to fall in love with each one. Most often pet owners don’t outright ask me to love their pets, I just do. I’d like to think they fall in love with me too. If only for the time the pet owner is away.
*names have been changed and identities concealed for privacy reasons.
Lorraine L., aka The Pet Sitting Lady, is an experienced pet sitter, currently seeking an assignment in Mexico for December 2018/January 2019. You’ll find her profile here on housesitmexico.com