Being a pet sitter is very rewarding. It can also be very challenging. For someone who loves and adores pets it can be a great way to earn a living. Professional pet sitting and dog walking is more than a job or career, it really is a lifestyle. A pet sitter’s life is far from easy. It can be quite exhausting, stressful, and frustrating. It can also be fun, relaxing, exciting, and so loving.
Professional pet sitting is not at all how most people perceive it. When we tell people what we do for a living, almost every single person says “Oh I would love to do that”. Who wouldn’t right?
After all, almost everyone has done some sort of pet sitting for a family member, friend, or a neighbor. How hard can taking care of pets be? We often hear how great it is that we get to play with puppies and kittens all day. Certainly that is one of the great parts of caring for pets but there is so much more.
When potential candidates apply for a pet sitting or dog walking position with us, they are often shocked by our requirements. They have no concept of what we do on a daily basis. After the interview process, most determine that this is not as easy or as flexible as they thought.
Here is a glimpse into a pet sitter’s life.
Pet sitter’s life, our week of 05/16.
Total visits: 116
Number of dogs visited: 28
Some dogs were visited once per day Monday thru Friday while others were visited 3 or more times per day while their owners were away.
Number of cats visited: 13
Cats were visited once or twice per day while their owners were away.
This week was one of the tougher ones, not so much because of the pets we cared for but events that occurred.
Our days started early visiting pets between 6 am -9 am. Dogs needed out and fed first thing after a long night. Then on to the cat visits who requested visits 2 times per day.
After our morning rounds ended, our daily dog walking schedule began. Weekdays start with a 45 minute run/brisk walk with a super rambunctious pup. He will certainly destroy the house if not able to release his energy.
Usually all goes well during the day with maybe some clean ups here or there but this particular week had some challenges.
Our pet sitter arrived at one of her daily dog walks to the German Shepherd pup crying in pain. She had hurt her leg/paw earlier and could not put any weight on it. The pet sitter immediately called the pups owner and the office to discuss actions to take. Since the owner could not get home until early afternoon, the pet sitter stayed to comfort and relax the pup. She couldn’t bear to leave her hurting like that. The pup found great comfort with having someone there and fell asleep in her lap. The extra time staying made for a hectic afternoon but certainly worth it. Other dogs were waiting for their walks but our main priority is the safety and well being of the pet. Some times things happen that cause us to be delayed. Our clients are very understanding as they would want the same care for their pets. The pups owner was very grateful that the pet sitter was able to stay a little longer.
Never is it just one situation but often several different events happening on the same day or on our busiest day. Such was the case this week.
Encountering loose dogs while out walking our clients dogs is very frustrating and aggravating. While walking a Doberman and Boxer (no not mine) who get a bit excitable with other dogs, a Jack Russel got away from his owner. The man was walking his dog on a retractable leash and his dog got away from him slipping his collar. The little dog charged at our client’s dogs. Luckily no one got hurt. The Boxer and Doberman behaved very well considering another dog was going at them.
Wearing barn boots saved the dog walkers foot from being seriously bitten. The Boxer kept nudging her the entire way back home to make sure his dog walker was ok. This is a scary situation and could have turned out very badly.
We are fortunate that we have been walking and caring for these two dogs for a
long time now. We know them quite well. A great deal of time and patience went into being able to get them out for daily walks.
Being professional pet sitters/dog walkers, we are always on the alert. It is our job to pay attention to the dogs in our care as well as to foresee any events that might cause an incidence. These scenarios happen quickly with little time to react. Paying attention to surroundings and changes in the dog’s body language are key. Our dog walkers are trained on how to avoid these situations and how to handle them if they occur.
The dogs walks finished up between 2-3 pm. We then started afternoon kitty visits. It was a rainy week. Visiting cats when it’s raining is actually a nice break but not this time. The pet sitter arrived at a visit of 3 cats and there were two wet spots, one outside the litter box and one by the laundry basin. Those were cleaned up, however the next morning after a downpour thru the night, the basement had more than a couple wet spots. The floor was soaked! Of course right by the litter boxes. All that clay goop was all over. What a mess! Have you ever had to clean up wet litter off the floor? Not an easy or pleasant task. The extra time spent cleaning up put a slight delay in the schedule. Things happen!
Despite the rain, dogs needed out and walked. We all got soaked but there were no issues. Lots of wet dog smell and drenched hair and fur but we have towels for that.
Although we don’t encounter situations like this daily there are some days that can be quite draining. Full schedules, cleaning up accidents, loose dogs charging, crappy weather, working crazy hours 7 days per week are all part of being a pet sitter/dog walker. You may wonder why we do this. We do this because even when these things happen, the love of the pets far outweighs the challenges. The happy tails wagging and the kitty purring make it all worth it. Is it an easy way to make money, no. Is it a rewarding way to make a living, yes.
Do you think pet sitting and dog walking is an easy way to make money?