Thrilled to share this article I have received from one of our wonderful sitters. It is not for the faint hearted! Before reading we must emphasis all sitters can accept or refuse any sits they are offered and we try always to match experience to the sit! Would love to share a few more stories…….
A Day in the Life of a Pet/House Sitter ( all names and identities have been changed to protect the guilty!)
I became a registered pet/house sitter with Minders Keepers Ltd because I was looking for something extra to do with my spare time after my retirement from full time working. It was simple – I was bored. I missed work but not the full time commitment. I needed something else and it wasn’t just a game of golf, a lunch with the girls or reading a book. I was looking for something a bit more adventurous.
I found it. I have been a registered Minders Keepers sitter for almost 3 years now and have travelled the length and almost breadth of the UK on sits. I have had so much fun and loads of adventures and met a wide array of interesting characters on the way and would love to share some of them with you.
Take Missy. I went on my usual pre sit visit and Missy was not impressed. Her pal Bobbie loved me on sight but Missy viewed me suspiciously from behind her beloved master’s legs. No amount of persuasion or treats could bring her round whilst Bobbie was already sitting on my knee, looking up at me with his adoring eyes. I was going to have to work on Missy when I took over her care. Missy had been poorly for some time and on a lot of very toxic medication. As a result she had been given lots of additional attention and care and had become very attached to her master and had somewhat taken over the house. The owner’s wife was keen to break the cycle when they went on holiday and hoped that this would happen naturally when I took over while they were away. So I was prepared – in theory at least. First night arrived and my instruction were simple. Bobbie will sleep in his cage and Missy will be happy to sleep on the end of your bed. Fine. Bobbie trotted off to his cage, door shut and not a peep. Missy and I were by now on reasonable terms (I had been there all day and we had been out of two walks) so I bent down to pick Missy up – no chance. Barking furiously, she took off on laps of the kitchen and point blank refused to come with me. Ok – I will let her go upstairs first and follow her up. Bad idea. Laps of the stairs and upper hall ensued, barking all the way. I sat on the stairs and considered my options. She had settled in the conservatory on the settee earlier on in the day after her walk – would that work? I walked quietly back to the conservatory, sat down on the settee and waited. Moments later a little face appeared round the door, looking curiously at me so I lay down in the now dark – and rather cold – conservatory and waited again. A paw came up, then a nose then, with a quick jump, she was up on the settee beside me. It was the breakthrough I needed. I gathered the throw from the back of the chair around us, not daring to move in case she set off again on her frantic barking rampage around the house and cuddled her in. By morning we were best of friends and by night 2 she went into the cage with Bobbie without a comment just like she used to before she was ill and she slept there with him every night after that. I have sat for Missy and Bobbie on a number of occasions since and she always sleeps in the cage when I am there – however, a little bird tells me that that is not always the case when I am not there!!!
Chloe – the Great Dane. Where do I start? As Danes go Chloe is a large girl and very exuberant. Being just 2 life is just fun, fun and fun in Chloe’s world and she has no idea that she is enormous and about 70 kilos. My instructions were clear. Chloe is an escapologist and her favourite escape route takes her to a nearby park where she wants to play with everyone but, funnily enough, they are not so keen on her idea of a game which usually involves arriving at speed over a fence or through it. Children are terrified, parents angry and other dogs traumatised. Chloe must not escape or be off the lead. All understood. Formal letters of complaint from the council had been issued – Chloe had an ASBO for dogs. She lives in a large purpose built kennel along with her pal, a Jack Russell called Flo. Flo is older and considerably wiser than Chloe and has worked out that, if she behaved and trotted along quietly, whoever was looking after Chloe would love her too so she was a model dog, walking perfectly to heel on a slack lead. My first outing with Chloe was my induction to her world. Chloe wore a heavy weight neck chain and I had been given her extra length lead as her back was so long that, on a standard length lead, her back legs tended to trip up the walker. However, a longer length lead gives a slight technically advantage to Chloe when it came to take off speed. Those extra few feet were almost my downfall when, across a field and at some considerable distance away, she spotted another dog out for a walk with its owner. Chloe saw them a fraction of a second before I did, and with one enormous bound, she was off, towing Flo and I along behind her. Disaster was looming. I could feel my feet going under me and I could see I was heading for a forward fall so I sat down instead and stuck my feet out in front of me and hoped I could hang on. I did and Chloe stopped as suddenly as she had taken off – I am clearly an efficient anchor. Lesson 1 learned. Keep an eye out for anyone, no matter how far away, on the horizon and tool up. Once I got back to the kennel with my charges I took a quick trip into the nearest pet suppliers and bought a second long length lead which I now carry with me wherever I go. With double leads, I had a much better hold of her and could turn her round me if I need to. We did go mud skiing a couple of times but safely and almost under control. Chloe, Flo and I walked for many miles and I enjoyed them both enormously. Flo was a delight and Chloe just a big, adorable and over friendly girl. I would sit for her again in a heartbeat.
Lucy, Dolly and Gertie – my adorable OAPs. Sadly, Lucy is no longer with us but her place in my heart is assured as she was such an endearing wee dog. A miniature daschund, tiny in stature with the heart and ambition of a lion. Totally in charge of everyone and everything and woo betide anyone who didn’t appreciate her status in the house. She might have been the smallest but she ruled the others to the end of her days. She and she alone sat on my knee – no one else dared – and she was always fed first, first out the door to the garden and first back in. Dolly, the tiniest Jack Russell I have ever seen, was the shape of a rugby ball with head, legs and a tail. Slightly dotty these days with her advancing years, her favourite spot was on the back of the settee where she sat from morning till night and occasionally, for no apparent reason, puts her head up and howled. Not for long then would settle back down and go back to sleep. Gertie, a rescue of no fixed abode or breed, tousled and scruffy and, in the early days I sat for her, defensive and wary but now, loving and gentle as life is no longer a struggle for her and food is assured. One of my favourite little dog sits. Not much walking as all are pensioners and the garden and back is far enough but they made up for it with affection. After Lucy died Biddy the Chug arrived. When I last sat Biddy was 6 months old and no bigger than my slipper and spent most of her days either sound asleep or racing round and round and over the settees in ever decreasing circles barking at Dolly who sat in the middle of the room looking slightly confused. Dolly has perked up no end since the arrival of Biddy and is much more alert and sharp since the young blood arrived. Gertie is not so impressed – she has, after all, had a rougher, tougher life and has seen the young ones come and go. So looking forward to my next sit with them all as I know that, since I last sat for them, another Chug has joined the gang.
Princess and the Tower. My pussy cat with her very own tower in a castle – you couldn’t make it up and I haven’t. This pampered pussy lives in a tower in a suite of rooms and I have never actually seen her. I know she is there – the food disappears and the litter tray needs cleaning and there is a sometimes a lump under the duvet on the bed in one of the rooms but that’s it. Feed her, top up her water and clean her litter tray. She apparently comes out of the tower in the summer once the weather improves and retires back to her exclusive residence in the Autumn. One clever pussy cat who only retreated to live in her lofty residence when two lively Springer spaniels arrived in the household and were a canine step too far for her.
Twiggy and Bob – the terrible terriers. You have to love a terrier – they are always up for a challenge and/or a fight! Twiggy and Bob were no exception and walking them is always fun as they are constantly on the lookout for fun and games and an errant rabbit. When I sat for them I was assured that they would sleep in their beds in the kitchen and that they were never allowed on the furniture. First evening they both hopped on the settee beside me without a glance and I woke in the morning to find two pals on the bed with me! They didn’t even look guilty. Always love a chancer
Eddie, Flash, Sooty, Sweep, Sushi and Sammy. Sooty and Sweep are twin cats and are the perfect knee tag team. They spend every evening trying to secure the best position on my lap even if it means pushing each other off. Meanwhile Sushi will be sitting taking it all in from her top cat position on top of the fridge. She holds court from there and ensures that the others observe her superior status – if only in her own mind. Sammy is the youngest and is trouble with a capital T – an out and out hunting machine. I rescued the robin that was in her mouth, caught and released the blackbird that was flying round the kitchen but the pigeon she was hauling through the cat flap was a step too far – we had words and I won. Eddie and Flash are the canine pair who, unfortunately, don’t really like one another which is unusual. I have sat for many cats that don’t get on but it is, in my experience, unusual for dogs not to get on. These two tolerate one another as long as each observes the unwritten rules they have devised between them which took me a while to learn as they are quite subtle. Bed swapping goes on throughout the day and each tries to get the bigger bed for himself whenever he can – even if it means scrubbing it up and hauling it across the kitchen. The battle of who goes through the door first also causes agro but that was easily solved as I go first and make them both wait. Feeding time potentially causes the most trouble so they are fed in separate rooms. However, such is their delight in annoying each other that Flash, who can open doors, will, if the connecting door is not locked, open it and let Eddie in just so he can then bark and growl at him whilst Eddie dances around him, trying to pinch his half eaten tea. Such silly boys.